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Beat Junkies got the techniques to make you a better producer

Posted by Emma Dickerson on Oct 6


The Beat Junkies are a world renowned DJ collective. The group formed in 1992 in Los Angeles County and the Bay area and has seen decades of success. The Beat Junkies have won several worldwide DJ competitions, led mix shows on all of LA’s top radio stations and produced for some of the top recording artists on the planet. Babu, Choc, and Melo D will hit the festival grounds to takeover the DJ House Sunday October 9 from 2 until 7 p.m.

In a few words can you describe the Beat Junkie style?

BABU  It's our style of djing where we try to incorporate the best foundation of skill and technique and bring it into the modern era. It's a blend of keeping true to the roots of Djing, particularly hip hop djing and taking that mentality and applying it to what's happening now.

CHOC Just Funky!

MELO D  It's all of those things. We are mindful of doing our best regardless of the nature of the event we try our best to fuse music selection...and integrate techniques that we’ve learned through the years past, and stay true to the artistic side of djing.

Has knowledge of DJ technique like blend and scratch helped you as a music producer?

BABU Definitely. I think it’s a natural evolution from what we do as djs.. Studying music so much we naturally begin to start having your own opinion on how music should sound.  I base my whole foundation as a producer on DJing. Basic things like understanding song structure and even simply selecting, knowing whats hot, whats gonna make people move and groove is super rooted in DJing.

Would you recommend those up and coming producers learn DJ techniques like blend and scratch?

CHOC I definitely think that they should be incorporating mixing styles into what they do, it's very important for a dj to know how to manipulate and how to produce music so it is very important that they learn how to DJ too.

Beat Junkies has been around since the early 90s what if anything has changed in hip hop and the way you connect with your fans?

MELO D  They style and format in which hip hop is being presented. We come from a school of crate digging, avid record users, pre serrato... technology has changed a bunch obviously over the last 15 years or so that has forced people to get with the times or stick to what you know. We come from record crates and sampling era which is still relevant in music that is released in 2016.

With the advent of technology it's definitely changed the style and formula for the music you hear today. A lot of people are teaching themselves how to play: whether its keys or jumping on YouTube and learning how to work a controller, and instrument or mini keyboard or something like that it’s done a lot to evolve the sound of music.

CHOC When hip hop started off it was being made on hardware and today it’s being made on software. I won’t say one is better than the other, but being from the school of using hardware I feel like anyone wanting to become a producer should start down that road first.

BABU The biggest difference is technology. Just 15 years ago there weren’t things made for what we do. Now there is so much information. There are so many products specifically for parts of what we do. Now a days you go to Soundcloud to see what’s hot and what’s new verses waiting on a vinyl to drop.

How music is released and distributed is tremendously different. And I find myself having to be creative and find new music in different ways. The DJ has a voice. Now the platform for DJs is amazing to see how large a DJ can be now a days. One  thing that will never change is that people still look to DJs to set the trend and tell people what the next musical movement is.

CHOC & MELO D - Yeah. The DJ is still the trendsetter!

How has your method of making music or creating samples changed over time?

BABU- We do it all.  I’d be missing something if I wasn’t out there digging, especially when I travel. I hit record fairs and what not. I might not use the ASR-10 or SB 1200. I love Ableton. I’m quick to throw it into Ableton  I embrace software. Obviously we use things like Pro Tools.

Nowadays we have a pretty powerful studio built into our laptops. We stay abreast of whatever is cutting edge, but we keep another foot on those traditions that we were raised on and we apply that while using new technology.

How do you pick the sound that you feel is going to be the next big crowd pleaser?

CHOC- For me it depends on the event, and that’s how I base what music I’m looking for. I go on SoundCloud and different record pools and go through records all the time. Whatever record I think is going to be big enough for the event is the record I’m choosing. Doesn’t matter the genre.

MELO D My formula is pretty straight forward. If I hear something that catches my ear. I’ve always been a believer of finding a place for it in my DJ set. Obviously you don’t want to be playing Drake record or anything current at a 90s hip-hop night. If I find something is not on rotation on iTunes or is not a Top 20 record that I think is good, and will keep the dance floor moving I’ll find a tasteful  place for it. Probably sandwich it in between two records I know the audience is going to know and react to. That’s kind of my way of testing new music. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t!

A lot of new music is being broken out, in nightclubs and live events. Crowds look to DJs to bring new music and sounds.

BABU  For me when I’m looking for music for Beat Junkies Radio Live Broadcast Soundcheck my parameters are a lot different than thinking about DJing in a live venue and keeping people dancing.  The songs that I try to break are more suited for rap radio or underground hip hop. I’m looking for the next thing as far as a lyricist goes.

How has being apart of a  coalition of DJs helped your career?

CHOC  Being apart of the crew has done wonders for me. These guys have always been way ahead of the curve and I’m very blessed and fortunate to be in a group of brothers who are like minded about music and the craft itself. It keeps me focused and ready to go.

MELO D  Being apart of a group like the Beat Junkies has helped me keep my bars up on every level imaginable. From record collecting to styles of DJing, whether it's turntablism, mixing,  song selection to keeping up with new music. For example if there’s a gap in my crate and I’m looking for some hard hitting instrumentals I can go to my guys and their gonna have fat folders for me.

If there’s a new scratch that’s out and I’m struggling with it I can go to Choc, Babu, D Styles to have them coach me and help me learn that.

BABU When I got into the crew it was pre internet. I was always hungry for any DJ knowledge. There was a certain energy I was looking for and I knew there were like minded cats out there and when I met these guys it was like a dream come true. I’ve never stopped getting better. I’ve never stopped learning.


The World Famous Beat Junkies takeover the DJ House

Sunday October 9th 2 until 7 p.m.

A3C Festival Grounds

Emma Dickerson

Written by Emma Dickerson

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