Deetron - On Mixing Balance 20 & the Aesthetics of Digital & Vinyl

Words by: Sean-Michael Yoder
Posted: 6/12/11 11:20

Deetron – On Mixing Balance 20 & the Aesthetics of Digital & VinylSo much emphasis is put on this versus that these days, pitting what are essentially grey area issues as black and white cultural struggles. Such is the way of the media, it is becoming harder each day to get an accurate fix on anything, as if reading the news has gradually transformed in to a peculiar form of quantum mechanics where the reality is elusive but the probability of truth quite high. In the world of dance music things have broken down in to their own pedantic, pseudo-political arguments – digital versus vinyl and producer versus DJ.

The problem is there is no simple answer and any attempt to create one will only lead to the howling of online trolls everywhere, scaring off reasonable minds who could have add to the debate in the process. On occasion, sharp music journalists have the chance to sit down with an artist who speaks with plain wisdom and pragmatic foresight, telling a story that is so rooted in a tangible, non-quantum sort of reality, that the scribe must simply listen to the words and do their best to transfer those words as accurately as possible onto the printed page. 

Deetron breaks down what the reality of being a DJ/producer in 2011 is all about, so why muck about with the standard gushing intro and let an insightful producer, DJ, and artist do the talking and leave those pesky journalists at a loss for words, it’s a welcome change.

Tell us a little bit about how you were selected for the 20th Balance mix, that is quite an honor.
It's definitely an honor, and a challenge as well, to contribute a mix for a series like Balance. Tom (from Balance) and I have been in contact for quite some time before we finally met up in Miami earlier this year when the deal was finally closed.

How did you come up with the idea of dividing the mix into a digital one and analog one?
First of all, I wanted the CD to represent the whole spectrum of my deejaying, both in terms of music selection as well as from the technical point of view. When I play out I'm using a setup of decks and CD players playing vinyl as well as edits, accapellas and exclusive tracks from CD, which I make in the studio before my gigs. I've approached the digital mix similar to the way I produce tracks in the studio and the intention was to showcase the crisp, exact sound as well as the possibilities that working with software offers. With the analogue one, on the other hand, the idea was to capture the live sounding, warm, and energetic sonic aesthetics of vinyl.

Deetron - Balance 20

    Balance 20 - CD2 preview (Analogue - Vinyl/Duplates only) by deetron

                                    Balance 20 - CD1 Preview by deetron
Can you notice a difference between the two styles when they are divided like that?
I believe the digital mix turned out to be a bit more of a cinematic affair whereas the analogue one has a raw, dancefloor-oriented feel to it. You could simply spend months of time when working on a mix with software but there is a fine line between taking advantage of technology and overusing it.

What I really like about mixing purely with vinyl is the fact that it is almost impossible to have it totally perfect, and the end product sounds closer to a rough edged live recording.

For the digital mix you used Cubase and Wavelab for editing and additional production, while on the analog mix you have numerous special dubplates. What was the reason for doing this and were there any surprises when mixing these new ideas together?
There were certainly numerous surprises when working on both mixes, for instance the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed working on and editing the digital mix - it seemed similar to working on a very long track to me. I couldn't imagine playing out like that in a club though because I could not do without the physical element of deejaying with vinyl. I was also pleased that the exclusive tracks simply sounded much warmer and generally better on dubplate than in the digital format, that further cemented my commitment to support the vinyl cause as well.

Tell us a little bit about the track selection, there are a wide variety of genres and not all of these tracks have come out recently.
When I started the selection process, the first and most important criterion was to choose tracks that can stand the test of time. Because of the nature of the mix-CD medium I think it is important to try and include tracks that can be listened to over the years, rather than choosing a selection of current big tracks.

Did you run in to any problems licensing tracks for a mix with 53 tracks on it?
Balance are really experienced in licensing tracks from across all genres, labels and artists, luckily. So it was a rather smooth affair for the most part. There were a couple of tracks that were denied, and some of the tracks were only just cleared in the week of the delivery deadline.

Any plans to tour in support of the mix?
I'm currently in Australia for two weeks and will return to Europe after that, there I'll continue the tour with stops in Moscow, London, Munich, Venice, Edingburgh, Berlin, Lisbon and so on. The full tour schedule and many more info about the release can be found on my Facebook Page

What else can we expect from Deetron in the near future?
Upcoming remixes for Gerd on Clone, Simon Garcia on Perspectiv, Marc Romboy & Rodriguez Jr. on Systematic, and PBR Streetgang on Hot Creations. I'm also about to finish a new single for Music Man that will be released early next year.

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Politics Of Dancing
Ralph Lawson