Our Top 6 Moments of DJ Trolling

It is always satisfying when a DJ executes a set masterfully. Yet, there is something defyingly bold about the kamikaze DJ who calculatedly throws his or her audience for a loop, mid-set, with some inappropriately timed humor.

Sure, effective room reading, smooth transitions, and climactic drops will always earn our praise. But with this post, we’re awarding special style points to the DJ trolls that have earned our chuckles.

1.

To put it lightly, we know that Deadmau5 is unafraid of confrontation – as his Twitter might suggest. So after teasing Dutch EDM producer Martin Garrix for playing his own hit single “Animals” too frequently at shows, Deadmau5 received a sarcastic Tweet from Garrix that was apparently too good to let pass.

deadmau5troll

After hearing what Deadmau5 did with Garrix’s “Animals” at 0:50, we can probably assume that Garrix is somewhere today still kicking himself for that tweet.

2.

And yet, another Deadmau5 trolling moment makes our list. This time around, he decided to fool fans by faking them out with a Windows system shutdown. Very fittingly, he picks up where he left off with the lyric “sometimes, things get complicated.” Well played, Deadmau5.

3.

DJ Mallon transitions the Lil Jon track “Turn Down For What” into the Spandau Ballet R&B ballad, “True” for what might be the harshest come down in EDM history.

4.

This Lil’ Jon track seems to be a good jumping off point for these DJs. See what Australian DJ duo Mashd N Kutcher did with “Turn Down For What” to troll a frantically bouncing sea of fans (hint: If you’ve seen 22 Jump Street, you will absolutely die laughing at this).

5.

A clever Youtuber with the username Being Boiled decided to overdub DJ Ben Klock’s Boiler Room footage with some wonky, minimal techno, embellished with animal noises and blips. The footage also included the theme song to BBC sports program, “Grandstand.” This audio in combination with the enthusiastically dancing, seemingly oblivious crowd is pure gold.

In good humor, Ben Klock later paid homage to the parody by featuring “Grandstand” in a set that followed the release of the video.

6.

Lastly, here is a video where the tables, erm, get turned on the DJ. A prankster edited DJ Dan Hill‘s audio of Rihanna to switch into the Weathergirls’ classic, “It’s Raining Men.” Confusion, laughter, and hilarity follow.

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Creative Halloween Costumes

It’s that time of year again: Halloween is upon us. And, while many will be dressing up to celebrate, some will take their costumes to the next level. Here are some of our favorite music-themed Halloween costume ideas:

Deadmau5’s Cheese Helmet

Deadmau5 Cheese Helmet

Get it? Cause he’s a mouse!  And mice eat…. ok nevermind.  This fan-made replica of Deadmau5’s famous helmet actually looks really close to the original (pictured below).  Nice work!  (You can also purchase this replica here)

Deadmau5 Cheese Head Perform

Kraftwerk

kraftwerk halloween

Bonus points for getting the whole squad involved.  A relatively simple, but nonetheless creative costume to feed your craving for 70’s techno.

Kraftwerk

Chromeo

chromeo

Combining the unique look of Chromeo with Dire Straits’ video for “Money For Nothing”, these two have created a truly awesome Halloween costume.

chromeo

Skrillex

Kid Skrillex

They grow up so fast.  Maybe Skrillex was right when he said that soon babies would be making music.

Skrillex_Press_Shot_Spin

Have fun out there kids! And remember, if you need a last minute reccomendation, you really can’t got wrong with Bloodfeast. With its $1,000 cash prize (!!), the crowd really goes all out!

EDM producers who are changing the distribution game

deadmau5

Deadmau5 recently launched “Live,” a subscription-based online service that offers exclusive access to music, live streams and other content. For $4.99 per month, fans get access to broadcasts, unreleased music, photos and “personal text messages” from Deadmau5 himself, among other things. It’s an unconventional distribution model to say the least, but it’s far from the first example of an electronic musician taking a different approach to releasing music than the standard album or single drop.

skream

Skream, pictured above, has a storied history of releasing free music on various platforms across the net. He’s done this so often that a fan-run website called Freeizm exists to collect all of it in one place. The site points to a number of EP and album length free releases, as well as other random tracks.

flying lotus

Twitter has also become an increasingly popular platform for digital distribution. This past December, Flying Lotus (above) tweeted a .zip of 25 unreleased “ideas, drafts and loops” in celebration of reaching 300,000 followers. Just a week later, Together Boston alum Four Tet hit 100,000 followers and released his own compilation of new tracks and remixes. Whether it’s private webcasts with Deadmau5 or these unreleased embryonic FlyLo tracks, the internet is forever opening new avenues such as these for artist-to-fan interaction.

Looking to become the sort of artist that generates headlines with a single tweet? Look no further than a Mmmmaven course.

Introduction to Synthesizers part 2: Filters

Bob Moog

Just as important as the oscillator is the filter. This is where the audio goes to next after it is generated by the oscillator. A filter in a synth works the same way as a filter in any situation which is to say it allows certain things to pass while stopping others. There are 4 types of filters that see widespread use. Any others are simply variations of or different combinations of the 4 main filter types.

The 4 main types of filters are high pass, low pass, band pass, and band reject or band stop (commonly referred to as “notch” filters). Below is a useful image that can help visualize what exactly these filters are doing.

In these images, the X axis represents frequency while the Y axis represents amplitude (commonly referred to as level, gain or volume)
In these images, the X axis represents frequency while the Y axis represents amplitude (commonly referred to as level, gain, or volume)

High pass filters are extremely useful. Every sound in a song that isn’t contributing to the bass is filtered with a high pass filter to some extent. This removes any presence the sound might have in the low end leaving room for the bass. Ableton Live’s EQ plugin has a nice graphical display, clearly demonstrating the effect of a high pass filter. You can see the boom of the low frequencies on the left hand side and how the orange high pass filter is taming some of that boom.

Devices-Closeup-EQ+Comp+Glue

The band pass filter has another great sound. Band pass filters allow only the frequencies within a certain range to pass, stopping all others. Wah pedals are a great example of band pass filters in action. Think of the opening riff of Voodoo child and how it sounds like the guitar is almost saying “wah wah”.

The opposite of a band pass filter is a band reject filter (notch filter). Notch filters are most commonly utilized in a very useful effect called a phaser. Phasers use multiple notch filters moving up and down through the frequency of a sound. The best way to get familiar with this is to listen and train your ears (really thats the best way to master any musical tool). In the beginning of the track Ages by Mmmmaven’s own Nick Garcia (Twitter), the piano has a very nice phaser moving through it. This creates rich and luscious motion in the sound.

Low pass filters are also often used, allowing the low frequencies to pass while attenuating or stopping the frequencies above the cutoff.

Cutoff is a parameter found on every filter and it refers to the frequency which the filter is centered around. A great example of a low pass filter with a cutoff slowly moving up is in the first minute of this unreleased track from Deadmau5 (Twitter) titled All I Have. Notice how the main chord synth starts out fairly bright. Then the cutoff moves down very quickly stifling the synth, and slowly moves upward allowing the bright higher frequencies to come through.

Another important parameter on filters is resonance (also referred to as “Q”). The simplest explanation of resonance is that resonance amplifies those frequencies just before the cutoff, creating a more pronounced cutoff curve. The more resonance is increased, the easier it is to hear the filter cutoff sweeping through the sound. A great example of very pronounced resonance in a synth is the bass at 5:10 of this Claude Vonstroke (Twitter) remix (although I recommend listening to the whole song). Note the vowel like qualities of the synth and the high pitched peak generated when the resonance is turned up (in this case way up).

All of these filters are great, but these examples wouldn’t sound so good if the filter cutoff wasn’t moving or being changed overtime. Next we will take a look at Envelopes and LFOs and see how they are used to create motion in otherwise static sounds, adding to their character and making them evolve over time.

These articles only scratch the surface of music production, discover much more in our Ableton Live classes!