Trackhunter Digital Music DJ Blog
The Trackhunter digital music DJ blog shares thoughts, tips, stories and ideas about all things digital music and DJing including things relevant to the digital music discovery app.
Review of Boiler Room film platform 4:3
by Tat on Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Boiler Room has established itself as a truly a global dance and electronic music phenomenon which has delivered DJs, clubs, live shows and documentaries direct to your living room. Now it has launched its own film channel wonderfully titled 4:3 which is standard aspect ratio for a TV Screen. It is still early days for 4:3, but at Trackhunter we thought it would be good to explore some of content they have carefully curated for your viewing pleasure.Read more..
The best UK dance and electronic festivals for 2018
by Tat on Wednesday, May 9, 2018
I sit writing this latest Trackhunter blog post whilst finding myself in a steaming hot room at the back of my house looking out onto a sunny garden and thinking of summer festivals. Each year the dance music summer calendar gets stronger and stronger with more eye catching events set under a canopy of open skies. Since the days of the illegal raves, Glastonbury dance tent and other pop up parties, the summer calendar has been illuminated by parties that continue to go to the next level. So we thought it would be a good idea to once again cast out our net for the finest festival feasts in the UK to quench your dance music thirst.Read more..
2018 Record store day must have releases
by Tat on Wednesday, April 11, 2018
On April the 21st hundreds of independent record stores (or as we call them in the UK - shops) will open earlier than normal to welcome excited music fans hoping to grab an exclusive release from their favourite artists. It is the 11th year that this huge event has run to help support independent record stores from around the globe and for labels to boost their coffers. In recent years it has drawn negative attention as major labels have come on board putting out old releases by established artists at excessive prices. The move has been a clever one as fanatics of some artists feel forced to purchase that one pressing that they don't currently own. Whilst the majors have also come into criticism by hijacking the finite number of pressing plants that have often been supported by the independent labels, especially when Record Store Day began.Read more..
Best documentaries about dance music
by Tat on Wednesday, March 7, 2018
We wrote an article a couple of years ago that looked at some of the best films about dance music and clubs. In recent years there have been an explosion in shorter documentaries and films that celebrate four on the floor culture. Pretty much every genre and angle around dance and urban music has been explored via celluloid in some way or another. With people's attention spans shrinking, these documentaries are perfect to keep you entertained whilst travelling on the train or when you have a few minutes to spare with a bag of popcorn.Read more..
Best of the Boomkat new year releases - 2018
by Tat on Friday, February 9, 2018
2018 has started strongly with a plethora of top quality releases and we've picked some of the best tracks for the end of January. We used Trackhunter to dig through the hundreds of fresh sounds on Boomkat this time (you can search across multiple marketplaces on the platform). We found 11 of the hottest cuts and have shared them in our latest Trackhunter podcast which you can listen to on our podcast page along with all the previous shows.Read more..
Off the beaten track - Far away record shops
by Tat on Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Trackhunter helps you dig through the growing amount of new releases as they are released, and the gives the thrill of digging for incredible music. Until recent years, record shops were the primary place for fresh and unearthed music gems, and still remain incredibly important to that discovery process. Despite exaggerated claims about the physical music shop dying they have continued to reappear at a steady rate. Even in my small northern town there are two of them, both stocking old and new vinyl and CDs. So it became even more exciting when Discogs set up a new website that tries to catalogue all of the globe's record shops on one huge interactive map.Read more..
2018 New Year Resolutions for DJs
by Tat on Wednesday, January 10, 2018
We are into the second week of the year when all those good intentions about being fitter, slimmer and all round nicer all start to fall away. The start to the year is always a good time to think about reshaping aspects of your life ahead of the forthcoming 12 months. It is also about making sure you make efforts to move away from potential ruts, especially when it comes to being creative. Below are three resolutions any DJ and music lover can do to enjoy their music more and help support their respective music scenes.Read more..
Best dance tracks for 2017
by Tat on Wednesday, December 27, 2017
To finish the year in style we decided to look at what some of the tastemakers, distributors and music journalists had picked for their top tracks of the year. We settled on eight exceptional tracks that prove dance music is well and truly alive going into 2018. All of the tracks including a bonus one chosen by myself to round off with nine of this year's best.Read more..
Trackhunter's pick of the releases for December 2017
by Tat on Wednesday, December 13, 2017
With Christmas just over a week away we thought it would be good to revive the podcast and dig into some of December's finest releases. Great music can be a little thin on the ground with the lead up to the biggest week of the year for many as labels and artists prepare for 2018. A lot of new releases are compilations, or novelty themed, but we have looked at what Bleep could offer up for us this month and were not disappointed.Read more..
Essential DJ gifts this Christmas
by Tat on Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Christmas comes round but once a year and as anyone who knows a DJ will agree, they are tricky people to buy presents for. Certainly buying them records or CDs can be particularly tricky as you can never truly capture someone else's actual audio tastes and more importantly whether they have that music already. Fear not, here are a few great gift ideas you can buy and pop into your loved one's Christmas stocking.Read more..
Get your dance music pressed onto vinyl with these crowdfunding services
by Tat on Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Vinyl's return to popularity continues to grow over the past decade as many dance and electronic labels and artists return to the original DJ format. This rise in esteem was highlighted a week ago when the popular UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's announcement that they were setting up their own record label. Whether such a populist move proves beneficial to the sector and for Sainsbury's only time will tell. The labels, artists and stores that stayed loyal to the format will watch with caution as the major supermarket chains were one reason for the demise of the independents in the 1990s. More music on vinyl can be a good thing if the quality is there and for many DJs and the dance community who have remained loyal to their discs with a stack of new records out each week.Read more..
Everybody wants to be a DJ: and quite right too
by Tat on Wednesday, November 1, 2017
It was way back in 1989 when De La Soul famously said: "Everybody wants to be a DJ" and almost 30 years on from that profound line from 'The Magic Number' they are very close to the truth. You do not have to look very far to see how deep DJ culture has permeated modern, global culture. Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton superbly captured DJ culture and its rise from a few individual mavericks to the global phenomenon it has truly become. To the outside it is just a collection of people playing other people's music and whilst there is some truth in that for many DJs, it has become so much more in the last few decades. The DJ has long been an educator, tastemaker, entertainer and at times antagonist. Now they operate on a multitude of levels from producer to remixer, from bedroom to podcast DJ, the club version remains ever present but their environment is changing, ever going forward. There are various reasons for that, changes to music tastes remain ever present, but licensing, demands by paying fans and new landscapes make DJing truly global.Read more..
Confessions of a Pirate Radio DJ
by Tat on Wednesday, October 18, 2017
BBC Four recently broadcast a documentary hosted by London rapper Rodney P on the generation of pirate radio stations and DJs that operated in London in the 1980s. The film captured what it was like to be a pirate DJ on the dance music stations that risked everything to get their sounds heard by tens of thousands of enthusiastic black music fans. This was a new generation of DJs who were very unlike the first generation of pirates who broadcasted from ships such as Radio Caroline. The new generation climbed on the tops of tower blocks to host their aerials and play music that was not being heard on the BBC or commercial stations except for the likes of John Peel on Radio One and Mike Allen on Capital Radio. At the end of the 1980s a few stations finally gained legal status and were to change broadcast radio forever. At the same time the next generation of radio stations started life thanks to a huge interest in underground music driven by the acid house and rave scenes. In 1990 I started my first residency on a Sheffield pirate radio station, Hardcore FM.Read more..
Whatever happened to.. dance music's forgotten sounds - Part two, Four on the floor
by Tat on Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Four on the floor covers a myriad of different scenes but invariably we think of house music at the very core. The infectious drum pattern that is in sync with our own heart beat has been with us since ancient man first danced around his tribal fire. For those uncultured or closed to dance music, they would be shocked to find that it has spiralled off into dozens of directions and not all have them have stuck. Some burned very brightly and quite loudly whilst we are at it, whilst others have died a slow death with occasional visitations from the dance music vaults. No scene or sound can truly be considered dead in the world of the revival, those listed below may just be sleeping well underground.Read more..
Whatever happened to.. dance music's forgotten sounds - Part one, Hip Hop
by Tat on Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Dance music is always moving forward and no scene truly dies as there will always be fans eager to hang on to the embers of a sound long gone. There is also the occasional return to a sound and a brief phoenix moment where a genre returns from the flames to some level of media interest. Whilst there are other scenes that refuse to curl up and die such as disco as it gets close to a half century milestone. The aforementioned disco scene deserves to be around for a long time as much of the music represents what is good about classic dance music, its energy, vibrancy and infectiousness means it will be long before it is confined to the trash bin of popular culture.Read more..
Hunting down that elusive track
by Tat on Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Trackhunter helps you track down the best pieces of music, those yet to be discovered new and reissued hot releases you could miss out from playing in your DJ sets. Among the various online music retailers are countless tracks from those straight off the mastering suite to a few decades old. Finding and championing new music is essential, especially for electronic music to survive, it cannot live purely on nostalgia. That said, it also has the most incredible heritage going back to over half a century of tracks that could still rock a dancefloor. You might know some of them based on what they sound like, but just don’t know the name, you may just know a snippet of lyrics. We thought it would be good to look at some of the ways you can put a name to that illusive earworm track.Read more..
Houghton Festival Review
by Tat on Wednesday, August 23, 2017
For someone who apparently wasn't the biggest fan of festivals, Fabric resident Craig Richards has pulled off the job of running one of the best outdoor dance events this year. Houghton Festival - set on the grounds of the beautiful Houghton Hall in Norfolk - was without a doubt a game changer for festivals in the electronic and dance music arena. Almost a quarter of a century beyond the Conservative Party's 'Criminal Justice Bill' that tried to stop people gathering together in groups of 10 or more, something progressive was happening in the grounds of the home built for arguably the first Prime Minister of Great Britain. In 1994 the newly made law stated it was illegal to listen to repetitive beats in such gatherings, but that would not have registered with the majority of the crowd who would have been just a twinkle in their parent's eyes.Read more..
Discogs Old School US Techno Bargains
by Tat on Wednesday, August 9, 2017
A few weeks ago we looked through the virtual racks of Discogs to see what old school European techno records were available at a bargain price. This week we stride over the Atlantic to see what the home of techno can offer for less than five UK Pounds. As with the previous blog post the rules remain the same as we looked for records that were at least VG+ in quality and currently listed for no more than £5 excluding postage. We have included sellers from across the globe, so note the postage rates should you decide to track any of these down. Most of the tracks covered below do have more than one copy for sale for below £5, so you should be good to get a cheap copy. As with many releases on the Discogs Marketplace you may find all of the copies for sale on one continent, usually the one that originally released the record. Finally, to ensure high standards, all of the tracks have a Discogs rating of at least 4.00 and higher. Finally, regardless of what you might think, most releases (that Discogs class as 'techno') from at least 20 years ago have not stood the test of time sadly. Nevertheless, here are a few gems that have in our humble opinion.Read more..
Discogs Old School European Techno Bargains
by Tat on Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Trackhunter is all about helping you find the newest, hottest tracks and saving you money. We've also previously taken a look at the huge Discogs marketplace to seek out cheap vinyl that still stand the test of time and won't cost you a fortune. Last year we looked at golden era hip hop, US house and rave classics. Second hand vinyl has been going up in value over the last few years but there are still plenty of bargains to be had if you seek them out. It is fair to say that the majority of dance music has a shelf life of sorts, but we think we have tracked down a dozen old school European techno releases that we think still hold up pretty well over 20 years ago since their initial release.Read more..
Bespoke vinyl subscription clubs - four of the best
by Tat on Wednesday, July 12, 2017
For any DJ and music lovers out there, one of the biggest problems isn't just about the sheer wealth of tracks to dig through, but finding music that others just don't have. Trackhunter works hard to help you dig through the thousands of new releases every month to find the very best dance, alternative, urban and electronic music. Whether that is a digital or vinyl release we work hard helping you discover music to suit your taste using our own software. There are other ways to discover new and cool music of course and an increasingly popular one is the growing number of bespoke record subscription services. This week we thought we would look at a few of them based in the UK and see what they offer in return for your hard earned cash.Read more..
The Best European Dance Music Festivals Summer 2017
by Tat on Wednesday, June 28, 2017
A few weeks ago we compiled some of the finest festivals in the UK to accommodate dance music fans. This week we cast our gaze a little farther afield to look at what audio delights await you in a field, warehouse or tent on the continent. With Summer just around the corner there are no shortage of dance music festivals and at Trackhunter HQ we have picked out a few of Europe's very best.Read more..
The Best UK Dance Music Festivals Summer 2017
by Tat on Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Even though I'm writing this in the midst of a very heavy rain shower that seems to have lasted most of the last 24 hour hours, we have a lot of great summer festivals just around the corner. With any luck we will have some great weather this summer for revellers to soak up the sunshine and hear some awesome music drifting through the hills and valleys. It is over two decades since Glastonbury formalised the appearance of dance music on the festival calendar and in that time dance music has become a regular fixture. This week we pick a few of the best line ups for UK based festivals that cater for the electronic and dance communities.Read more..
From Guitars to Beats - The indie heads who embraced dance music
by Tat on Wednesday, May 31, 2017
It is not unusual for a guitar band or artist to dip their toe into dance music, in the 1970s many artists had flirtations with disco before stepping back to their more traditional sound. Disco and 12 inch mixes became the norm in the 1980s but again many artists used modern dance and remix techniques to reach new audiences. It was the late 1980s and early 1990s when established independent artists really explored the dance music environment wholesale. We thought it would be good at Trackhunter HQ to pick out a few of our favourites.Read more..
Soundcloud - How I found great music
by Tat on Wednesday, May 17, 2017
In recent months Trackhunter has expanded its ability to explore established online music marketplaces to venture into the vibrant cottage industries of Bandcamp and more recently Soundcloud. The huge online music hosting website has been the place to go for DJs and producers wanting to get their music out there and promote early exposure for their upcoming music.Read more..
Dance music comes of age
by Tat on Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Dance music and to some extent electronic music has always struggled to gain widespread acceptance in the wider music world. For a long time the same was true about hip hop and to a point it still it is not seen by many as 'proper' music. Dance music has always been regarded as 'body music' rather than real music driven by lyrics, stories or musicianship. It is the black sheep of the family that usually comes out after hours or at a house party or wedding. Of course much dance music has long been commercial in that it sells lots of units, appears high up in pop charts, in our popular culture and your uncle or auntie might like the odd bit of Clubland or Kayne West to show they are down with the kids. Yet despite widespread commercial appeal going back to the 1970s with the likes of disco and the film 'Saturday Night Fever' and hip hop in Eminem's film '8 Mile', it has still seems like something not substantial or proper enough to sit at the high table of popular music. Of course some electronic and dance music fans would rightly disagree in that it is treated the same.Read more..
Bleep - How I found great music
by Tat on Wednesday, April 19, 2017
As Trackhunter continues to add more platforms for it to trawl through, it opens up more musical horizons to explore. With the addition of Bleep we open up a very special music marketplace to discerning listeners for seamless browsing. Compared to many of the other electronic and urban music marketplaces, Bleep have a smaller pool of releases to offer despite working across several genres and labels. Nevertheless with any online music retailer these days there are still too many tracks to dig through to find the real gems. I started by selecting the newly added Bleep option and picked the genres I wanted. Despite having less tracks to offer compared to other platforms Bleep does provide a lot of genres to pick from, including a couple I have to admit to never hearing of before.Read more..
Trackhunter's Selections from Record Store Day 2017
by Tat on Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Record Store Day 2017 will soon be upon us on the 22nd of April. It is a decade since the global event started in the United States in an attempt to help struggling independent record stores and labels promote their products and inject much needed funds to an industry in decline. Over those last ten years record sales have continued to grow year on year, record shops (we're in the UK, so call them shops) have returned to the high street selling new vinyl. In my hometown there are now two independent record shops that stock new vinyl, something that looked unlikely five years ago when the last one finally closed after an epic 100 year stint.Read more..
Boomkat - How I found great music
by Tat on Wednesday, March 22, 2017
With the addition of Boomkat's marketplace to the latest version of Trackhunter I thought we would take a look at what audio delights could be found and share them with you. I also thought it would be useful to explain the process of searching and how Trackhunter helps with that given the growing number of releases each week.Read more..
Interview with DJ Food
by Tat on Wednesday, March 8, 2017
At Trackhunter we appreciate people who are really good at hunting down tracks in whatever format and there are very few better than Strictly Kev AKA DJ Food. Kev AKA Kevin Foakes came to fame in the early 1990s as part of the quartet DJ Food that also contained Coldcut and Patrick Carpenter (AKA PC). Their series of Jazz Breaks were central to the emerging trip hop and beats scene that was championed by Coldcut on their legendary Ninja Tune label. Foakes is a man of many talents that extends to production, remixing, art and design, audio visual DJing and of course collecting rare and exotic music. He is a man of sublime taste and is behind some of the most beautiful music sleeve artwork and perfectly crafted mixes you could possibly cast your eyes and ears upon. We took the opportunity to track him down and find out a bit about the multi-talented artist.Read more..
What's best - Specialist DJ or Eclectic DJ?
by Tat on Wednesday, February 22, 2017
In this week's Trackhunter Blog we look at whether it is better to be an eclectic DJ or one who specialises in just one or two genres. The reason most people become a DJ is simple, it is usually because of a desire to play music they love to others to educate and entertain them. And naturally many DJs start out in their youth at a time when they are still discovering their music tastes. As those tastes mature it leads some DJs to drill into and focus on one genre and others to explore much further afield in search of eclectic sounds. We thought it would be good to look at some of the pros and cons of the two kinds of DJ.Read more..
Trackhunter and Bandcamp - What great music we found
by Tat on Wednesday, February 8, 2017
You will have hopefully seen in the last few weeks that Trackhunter now helps DJs and electronic music fans discover the best music released on Bandcamp. So not only can you search for music on your favourite online marketplaces such as Beatport, Juno and What People Pay but also Bandcamp and soon Soundcloud - more will follow about the latter platform in coming weeks.Read more..
Labels to Watch in 2017
by Tat on Wednesday, January 25, 2017
As 2017 starts to warm up, well not literally as we're in the depths of winter, but you get what we mean; we thought we would look at a few labels we predict to continue delivering high quality musical product.Read more..
The Science Behind DJing
by Tat on Wednesday, January 11, 2017
A few weeks ago we looked at some of the scientific literature that had been written about clubbing. This week's blog post we thought it would be interesting to explore some of the academic research that has been written about the craft we love so much - the art of DJing.Read more..
Gone but not forgotten in 2016
by Tat on Wednesday, December 28, 2016
2016 has gone down as one of the worst years in living memory, certainly on a global scale it isn't since the late 1930s we have seen such widespread uncertainty and anxiety. In the arts and music world 2016 must rank as the worst year ever. This year saw us lose cultural icons such as David Bowie, Terry Wogan, Muhammad Ali and Alan Rickman to name but a few. Dance and electronic music also suffered badly, so we thought it would be right to pay homage to those we lost in the past 12 months and remember their brilliance. Let's hope 2017 is much kinder.Read more..
Last Minute Christmas Gifts for the DJ
by Tat on Wednesday, December 14, 2016
With just over one week until Santa clambers down your chimney we thought it would be good to look a few last minute stocking fillers for this Christmas. There's plenty of great gifts for any self-respecting DJ and dance music fanatic, so we have picked some of the very best. Your partners, family and friends may still be struggling as to what they should get you, so here is a small list you can send to them and drop hints or at least buy them for yourself. The last post is still a few days away, so we suggest you act quick.Read more..
The A to Z of Bargain Old School US House
by Tat on Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Over the last few months we have looked at records you can pick up online for less than £5 or £10. Of course if you are after the digital files you will pick many of these gems up for about £1 or similar depending on your currency. We are working on the UK Pound which of course is going through turbulent times and looking at mostly records you can pick up in the UK. We looked at records that are for sale on Discogs (other sites such as Ebay, Amazon and MusicStack will also have many of these tracks). The lowest rated vinyl condition was set at least VG+ and in this case less than £5 excluding postage. We decided to look at releases of house tracks from the mid, late 1980s to early 1990s on U.S. based labels. Most made their way across the globe and were re-released on European labels, but to keep things interesting we looked were possible at the original U.S release. That means that you will probably find many of these records even cheaper if you are willing to pick up on the re-releases and reissues. So let's begin.Read more..
The science behind club culture
by Tat on Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Believe it or not, a lot has been researched and written about club culture by academics. At Trackhunter we thought it would be good to delve into some of the academic literature relating to club culture. Why should academics be concerned about club culture and dance music? Well for a start we are always trying to understand ourselves as a species, it is part of being human, and academics in social sciences and humanities spend a lot of time trying to understand why we do what we do. Secondly, many students and academics take a personal interest in some areas of their research, many are and were clubbers. Club culture and dance music are topics of huge interest, so why not publish research on these areas. Whilst club culture is also closely associated with drug use, so to understand people's drug habits then it can only help to understand the context where they may take drugs, that often being in the clubs.Read more..
The A to Z of Bargain Golden Era Hip Hop
by Tat on Wednesday, November 2, 2016
A few weeks ago we compiled an alphabetical list of classic rave records that you should be able to find for less than £5 on platforms like Discogs. It was such good fun that we decided to do it again, except this time look at the golden era of hip hop. What defines the actual period of golden era of hip hop varies, but most agree on it being from the late 1980s and early 1990s, so for argument's sake let's say 1987-1993.Read more..
The Trackhunter Halloween Party Playlist
by Tat on Wednesday, October 19, 2016
The nights are drawing in and with it comes one of the best times of the year with Halloween. It is a time where Halloween themed parties kick into action over the period where people dress up as ghouls, monsters and maniacs. Club nights put on specially themed nights and house parties are hosted by suitably attired witches and vampires. So for any DJ wanting to drop a killer tune or two into their set list we've come up with our own ghostly selection to help the freaks get out on the dance floor.Read more..
The A to Z of Bargain Rave Classics
by Tat on Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Over the summer I delivered four radio shows and podcasts that were themed around the classic rave tracks from the early 1990s. The total eight hours of broadcasts traversed the alphabetical landscape that was the anthem for the rave generation. Starting with the letter A to Z, it touched on what was for me the highlights were of that golden period starting in the very early 1990s. Of course this is not a conclusive list and it is all very subjective, so hopefully you'll forgive me if your favourite tracks were not included.Read more..
Fabric - More than just a fight for a club
by Tat on Wednesday, September 21, 2016
A lot has been written about Fabric in the last couple of months, especially in wake of its licence being revoked by the police and its subsequent closure. A lot of ground has been covered about the reasons why Fabric was shut down and the wider implications for dance music venues in the capital and beyond. At present there is a large internet campaign to raise funds for staffing costs and legal fees which at the time of writing had exceeded £130,000. Whilst other clubs have shown their unity in recent days by turning their music off at midnight for one minute as part of a silent protest. The campaign is hoping to raise £500k to cover potential bills and at present the donations are coming in thick and fast. The money and the unity shown by fellow venues shows two things, firstly the cultural significance of Fabric and secondly that this is just part of a worrying trend of club closures. It feels that at some point in time a line in the sand has to be drawn, that feels about now.Read more..
How to DJ on Facebook Live and Meerkat
by Tat on Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Boiler Room among other platforms have become renowned for tying together the visual and audio cousins of dance music. Clubbing is a very visual experience, there are flashing lights, the DJ performing and of course other people gyrating to the beats. Whilst it is pretty impossible to transfer the full intensity of a club night, even with something such as virtual reality, to someone else's living room; there are merits of broadcasting your DJ sets to your friends, fans and the world. In this latest Trackhunter blog post we will look at some of the better options for streaming your live set over the web and give a few reasons why it's good to do this.Read more..
Dance Culture - Our Essential Late Summer Reading List
by Tat on Wednesday, August 24, 2016
We're coming up to the last Bank Holiday of the Summer here at Trackhunter HQ in the UK, but still plenty of warm sunshine and time for a final holiday of the season which ends in a month's time. So we thought it would be good to pick out a few good books about dance and black music to accompany and chilled session by the beach or the poolside. A lot has been written about music, in particular the classic rock 'n' roll story, but dance music is less well served. Perhaps it's due to the nature of the music, in that an awful lot of it appears faceless or moves at such a pace that documenting it is not so easy. That said, there is still a lot of good titles out there that you can pack in your suitcase as you jet off for the final Ibizan party and those quiet moments in between recuperating.Read more..
Interview with Bill Brewster Part Two
by Tat on Wednesday, August 10, 2016
In this week's Trackhunter blog post, we pick up where we left off with DJ, historian, writer, promoter, and all round good egg Bill Brewster.Read more..
Trackhunter Features in Development: Spotify, Related Tracks and Wasabeat
by Keith Boynton on Monday, August 1, 2016
To support the forthcoming completely new interface for Trackhunter I'm adding a number of additional features to the next minor version of Trackhunter. Including, some form of Spotify integration, a way of getting related tracks to improve the digging experience and the addition of Wasabeat as a new source. The work that goes into the forthcoming new interface will totally transform Trackhunter making it much easier to use and less overwhelming for users who want to actively dig rather than just listen to everything of a particular genre. This release is intended to introduce some functional features that will be required for that new interface, a couple of minor enhancements and of course bug fixes...Read more..
Interview with Bill Brewster Part One
by Tat on Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Bill Brewster is a name that is synonymous with DJing and dance music in general. Not only did he co-author a superb chronological history of the DJ but he also established the dance music hub that is Djhistory.com. Bill has also taken time alongside long time collaborator Frank Broughton to write the popular and influential "How to DJ (Properly): The art and science of playing records". Of course beyond all of the writing, there is the music, Bill is a veteran DJ who plays across the globe and promoter who co-ran (with Broughton) the infamous Low Life night that ran for 20 years in London and subsequent weekend party that last ran in 2015. Brewster and Broughton met in New York in the early 90s and since then have been prolific in documenting, participating and promoting dance music to a discerning audience. Then there is the regular foray into new and sometimes old tracks with the Djhistory podcast, and the record collecting, indeed lots of records. When it comes down to putting the hours in, Brewster has grafted harder than most following his passion for dance and electronic music. We thought it would be good to chat to him about record buying, DJing, the health of dance music and where we might be in a few years time.Read more..
Sync is not the problem, a lack of creativity is
by Tat on Wednesday, July 13, 2016
A few weeks ago a story appeared on the web about a California club owner telling laptop DJs they were no longer welcome. Cure and Clause owner Kenny Summit said: “Keep your controller in your crib. Don't come to work with your training wheels”. The comments stoked yet more debate in the DJ community with arguments in praise and against the club owner's statement. It reached as far the UK national press with such as The Guardian newspaper giving it coverage. High profile DJs such as Richie Hawtin and Seth Troxler waded into the debate stirring up even more social media debates. Comments in The Guardian article went as far as the vinyl versus digital argument rearing its head once again and so did the subjects of cheating, laziness and creativity.Read more..
How the LGBT community has shaped dance music
by Tat on Wednesday, June 29, 2016
I'm sure readers of this blog will have been shocked and appalled by the Orlando mass nightclub shooting earlier this month. While we have often become desensitized to these events due to their regular occurrence, this one resonated wider and more profoundly than many previous sad events. Whilst this blog is not the place to analyse the attack by a lone, irrational person on a community, it is a relevant platform to reflect on the wholly positive impact made by the LGBT community on dance music. Dance music is a uniting force and has played such an important part in breaking down walls and educating people of different races and sexual orientations. Much of this work is championed by the LGBT community that were attacked without provocation or logical reason. This article pays homage to a group of society that was so dreadfully treated and the important role they played in the thriving dance music scene we see today.Read more..
The return of the illegal rave - why it could be a good thing
by Tat on Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Previously in Trackhunter we put forward the hypothesis of whether the illegal acid house parties could have happened in the internet age. We came to the conclusion that it would have struggled to have happened on the huge scale it did because of information being leaked across the social web. Yet in recent months there have been stories coming out in the media about large illegal raves taking place. Of course illegal raves have always happened, whether it be 100, 1000 or 10,000 people dancing in a disused building or far flung field. Many gatherings capture the essence of the illegal rave, private parties, festivals and club nights, they all have a common theme, that they are unlicensed and often organised at the last minute. Sadly however, like the first generation of parties they have rarely had any precautions in place should things go wrong.Read more..
The best Global Festivals for dance music this year
by Tat on Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Earlier this month we explored some of the best festivals in the UK you could go to and hear dance and electronic music. In part two of this article we go further afield to explore the global festival scene and pick some of the best places to go and get your dance music fix.Read more..
The best UK Festivals for dance music this year
by Tat on Wednesday, May 18, 2016
The sun is shining and with that we’ve taken ourselves out of the house and into the garden with some happy music and a cool drink. We think you cannot beat the sound of music outside, the way the sound changes with the environment, topped with the smell of nearby barbeques, a cold drink in hand and sun on your face. It left us thinking about the classic summer festival and in particular those with a dance music focus. Festivals have been in the ascendancy for the last decade with more new ones starting every year. Unlike the festivals of the last century, they have diversified hugely and cater for every type of person. In this two-parter we thought we would look at the festivals that cater best for the dance music fanatic, starting first with the UK.Read more..
Four women who shaped dance and electronic music
by Tat on Friday, May 6, 2016
In this latest Trackhunter Blog post we take a look at some of the unsung heroes of dance music who are often ignored, not acknowledged or even treated with the same esteem as their peers. We are talking about the women of electronic and dance music, those creative souls who care no less than their male peers about dance music but have often received less recognition. Women that have been prepared to go that extra mile to push the music we all love and care for. Let's hear it for the girls!Read more..
The best dance tracks by non dance music artists
by Tat on Wednesday, April 20, 2016
There is often nothing better than the beautiful curve ball that music throws at you from time to time when you hear a track, make an assumption as to its origin and then find out who recorded it. Over the last 40 years there have been several tracks, not always remixes, that have reinforced an artist's true genius and innovation. A great example is when an artist you don't associate with dance and electronic music makes a sublime dancefloor killer track. Not all of the tracks below are in the euphoric 'hands in the air bracket' but they are impressive for their time. The tracks below are possible opinion changers as when you see who released these tracks you might feel differently about them.Read more..
Trackhunter Features in Development: Stems and Dubseed.Com
by Keith Boynton on Monday, April 11, 2016
Native Instrument's Stems is a format I've got high hopes for and the music available in this format seems to be growing. So, I'm thrilled to be able to bring this format into Trackhunter for the next release. I've been wanting to do this for a while and recently when I was introduced by a friend to Robert from the excellent Dubseed.Com it seemed too great an opportunity to miss. This along with other improvements makes this release very exciting indeed...Read more..
Nightclubs in decline - A cause for concern, or just the life cycle of dance music?
by Tat on Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Dance music has always been in a constant cycle of rise and fall, scenes come and go and with it so do the crowds. It is cutting edge music and for most of the last 40 years has dominated youth culture in some form or fashion. The peaks have been noticeable, northern soul, disco, acid house, rave and eventually the global rise of dance and electronic music. The falls have been sad rather than lamentable as disco crashed and burned leaving few prisoners and parts of the rave scene air brushed from memory. For the last 25 years, except for a few fallow periods, dance music has been dominant in the UK, and the future still appears bright. Nevertheless, you may have read various articles in the music and national press over the last few weeks that paint a potentially bleak future for dance and club culture. At Trackhunter we wondered how much truth there was in these reports and whether this was just sensationalism.Read more..
Apple iDeck to take DJing to the next level
by Tat on Friday, April 1, 2016
It's not often we report about developments elsewhere out in DJ Land at Trackhunter but we couldn't resist sharing the incredible news that Apple are to step into the DJ market big time. Their latest piece of technology to drop later this summer will be the iDeck which aims to revolutionise the entire DJ experience.Read more..
What was the first techno record and other firsts?
by Tat on Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Dance music has spawned an incredible amount of sub genres and scenes to a point where it is almost impossible to keep up with them all. At the start of most scenes are a collection of releases, coming together as a call to arms for the next generation of music producers and fans. Sometimes those emerging moments can be pinned down to a single track, the seminal sound or originator tune. We thought at Trackhunter it would be good try and trace back some of the more notable dance music scenes to a single tune that ignited the fires that followed.Read more..
Trackhunter Features in Development: Getting feedback
by Keith Boynton on Monday, March 14, 2016
I want to get closer to Trackhunter users and better understand what's needed to make it an even more useful tool for DJs to find new underground digital dance music. So, the next release is mainly about doing just that...Read more..
Could Acid House have happened in the Internet age?
by Tat on Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Since the 1970s there have been three great youth movements and scenes, punk, hip hop and acid house. Of course there have been countless other scenes that have paralleled and branched off from them, new wave, grime, drum and bass, deep house, the list goes on. Yet these are the three greatest youth movements of the back end of the 20th Century and we have seen nothing like them since. All three share the common theme that they in time dominated the music scene. They may not sound like they did at their source and have morphed from their original purist sounds but more importantly all three happened before the advent of Web.Read more..
A homage to the backroom DJ
by Tat on Wednesday, February 24, 2016
There have been many unsung heroes in dance music history but none so greater than the humble backroom DJ. They are in among the many personalities that make up the effective running of a club, promoter, the street team handing out flyers, bar staff and security who themselves often go unnoticed. The backroom DJ plays an important part of the club make up, yet we rarely talk about them, but many are as talented if not more so than those in the 'big room' and can go on to forge big careers of their own.Read more..
Learning to DJ with Vinyl and why you could consider it
by Tat on Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Before we start let's make one thing clear that this is not another article on whether vinyl is better than digital or the other way round. This topic has been covered on multiple occasions that have gone as far as discussing the actual scientific data beyond opinion and subjecture. We can safely say that this conversation can be filed into the same fusty location of PC vs Mac and digital vs analogue music making - we all can agree to disagree.Read more..
The Best Films about DJs and Club Culture
by Tat on Wednesday, January 27, 2016
The long winter nights are still with us and there is always still chance of a prolonged spell with the snow. So what better way to spend time before spring returns and the lighter evenings than watching some of the best films ever put to celluloid about the music scene we love. There have been a few lists created over the last few years about which films to spend an hour or two chilling out to, at Trackhunter we decided to curate our own mini film festival. In fact rather than just compile a list about dance music we decided we would focus mostly on the DJs with one good exception.Read more..
Trackhunter Features in Development: Soundeo and crate digging by label
by Keith Boynton on Monday, January 25, 2016
While I'm waiting for approval from Apple to release the iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) version of Trackhunter 1.7.4 I thought I'd take the opportunity to let you know what new features I'm working on for the 1.8 release. It’s a big step forward supporting iOS and I use it on my iPhone a lot. It is also nice to be able to concentrate on building some new useful features...Read more..
New Year Resolutions for DJs
by Tat on Wednesday, January 13, 2016
A few weeks of overindulgence and partying hard usually mean a few half-baked resolutions to lose weight, learn a new language and be nicer to people. For the hard working DJ the festive period can take its toll, the lack of sleep, eating bad food on the go and the New Year can take their toll. Whilst you need a decent level of willpower to detox last month’s excesses and eat healthily we think these suggestions for DJ new year resolutions will be somewhat easier to digest.Read more..
The Soundtrack to New Year's Eve
by Tat on Wednesday, December 30, 2015
So as another year comes to an end we thought it would be good to ask a few DJs and music producers what they regard as the perfect end of the year track. As millions of people across the globe go to parties, clubs and bars to see in 2016 we wondered what is the best track to see the new year in. Of course it's all very subjective, we all have our own personal tastes and it depends on where you'll be when that clock chimes midnight. Like any kind of lists or recommendations this is purely subjective and after all, just a bit of fun. It's likely anyone asked would change their choice if asked again the following day. Most people would have a multitude of tracks they would like to see in the new year, but we made sure we just pinned them down to just one.Read more..
Last Minute Christmas Presents for DJs
by Tat on Wednesday, December 16, 2015
At Trackhunter HQ we’re gearing up for the Christmas festivities. The turntable style mince pies are in the oven, Run DMC’s ‘Christmas in Hollis’ is on the stereo and we’ve put on the worst taste Christmas jumper you can imagine. So like most DJs, we like gadgets and technology, so with just over a week to Christmas we thought it would be a good idea to have a look at some last minute gifts to ask Santa for. If you are a DJ or happen to know one, then we think there is something below that would make the morning of the 25th just perfect.Read more..
Interview with producer John Shima
by Tat on Wednesday, December 2, 2015
John Shima has been around on the electronic music scene for quite a while producing finely tuned techno for various imprints. A lot of that time has been spent building an array of analogue and modular synths that help create a rich sound that captures the authenticity of Detroit and London and pays homage to the producers born from those scenes.Read more..
How to edit your mixes in Audacity
by Rob Mayzes on Wednesday, November 18, 2015
There always comes a time when you need to jump in to a track or mix and do some editing. Maybe you want to remove a problematic section of a song that you like to play live. More likely, you've recorded a mix and need to trim it down and clean it up a little. Whatever the situation, it's really easy to do with a free, modern audio editor.Read more..
Must Have DJ Kit: Part One - Headphones
by Tat on Wednesday, November 4, 2015
The two things that make a DJ stand out above anything else is music choice and technical ability. The first is very subjective and comes with time, the older you get, the more music you become exposed to. The second comes with practice, the ability to beat-match, scratch and master the controls all require an investment of time. Music choice also comes with an investment of time, you discover more and better tracks you have to search around, whether that be on Trackhunter, in the record shops or at a flea market. The third, and often ignored element of DJing is the equipment. There is a bewildering amount of DJ equipment out there these days and choosing the right setup can take a lot of thought. You may be limited by budget, space or interest, as not every DJ wants to own 10,000 records and a multitude of interfaces to play from. Things have moved on from just a pair of SL1200s and a mixer. At Trackhunter we thought it would be good to drill down into the various options DJs can currently explore, starting with headphones. Some of the larger online stores offer a wide array of headphones, starting with budget, affordable models right up to those costing more than £200. We look at five pairs of headphones that will fit every price range.Read more..
Expensive tracks on Discogs: Rare and collectible dance music
by Tat on Wednesday, October 21, 2015
The purpose of Trackhunter is simple, it helps you sort through the wheat and the chaff to discover which of the latest music releases are the ones we should have in your record box or on your laptop. Yet for DJs there are also the killer tracks they've missed, the ones that cost a month's wages, the ones that your peers also want to own. At Trackhunter Towers we thought it would be interesting to look at some of the most sought after 12 inch records on Discogs. This is the first in a series of articles that not only feature the Faberge Eggs of dance music, but also those cheap bargains that may have passed you by.Read more..
Building relationships - The key to successful music promotion
by Alex Cowles on Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Promotion is one of the areas of releasing your own and other people's music that can be hugely frustrating. One of the keys to getting it right is spending the time and building relationships. This article will share some interesting insights on the subject of building relationships so read on to discover some tips on how you could promote your music more effectively...Read more..
The best places to host your DJ mixes online
by Tat on Wednesday, September 23, 2015
In previous Trackhunter articles we have looked at various methods for enhancing your online DJ profile. From building your social media brand to hosting a radio show, they can all have great benefits but the real impact comes from your DJing ability. That really comes down to your track selection, technical ability and skill in composing a good mix. So the most obvious place to do that without being in a club or at a party is to upload them to the web. Naturally any DJ worth their salt puts in a lot of practice and when possible records their mixes for others to experience online. Most of us will have heard of the two big "clouds" Mixcloud and Soundcloud, but what else is there? For the latest article we will explore some of the lesser known platforms as well as the main protagonists. Also it is important to note that most of these platforms have regular competitions for aspiring DJs to enter where they can win all kinds of goodies from DJ gigs to free equipment.Read more..
25 Years in the Game - Interview with DJ Pipes
by Tat on Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Hunter S Thompson famously once said: “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.” Despite the irony, Dr Gonzo was never one to shirk away from telling the truth. So it is no surprise that with the ever-connected world of the DJ and the music business that this should ring ever true. DJing is a rewarding pursuit, but it is very taxing, the late hours, dodgy promoters and long distance travel. And not everyone gets to live the rock and roll lifestyle. For a DJ to continue to play out most weekends over quarter of a decade takes a lot of persistence, passion and energy. Given the fickle nature of the dance music scene and the unhealthy distractions associated with it, it is no surprise that so many talented DJs burn out so quickly. Yet there are DJs who have the ability to adapt, research, work hard and maintain a incredible passion for what they do. One is Sheffield-based DJ Pipes who started out playing records in the late 80s and still plays out regularly, from guesting around the UK, to festival appearances at Glastonbury and further afield. Whilst a major driving force has been at the legendary Kabal night alongside other Sheffield heroes - Winston Hazel and Toddla T (both Sheffield music heroes). I tracked down Pipes to discuss whether there was still an underground, his influences and what any aspiring DJ can do to ensure they have the right skills to stick around for as long as possible.Read more..
Trackhunter Feature in Development: Trackhunter on the iPhone and iPad
by Keith Boynton on Monday, September 7, 2015
With the imminent release of version 1.7 of Trackhunter which hopefully Apple will approve in the new few days, I'm now going to focus on the next development piece. Whilst there will likely be some minor new features and of course fixes, the next major piece of work is going to be more about making Trackhunter available on mobile devices...Read more..
How and why you should become a radio DJ part 2
by Tat on Wednesday, August 26, 2015
In the previous Trackhunter blog post we talked about how and why you should start your own radio show. The second part of this article on radio DJing looks at the more practical aspects of that process. When getting into radio production there are various things you will need to consider, those mostly being around preparation, promotion, playlist, personality and podcast - what we'll call the 5 Ps. All of which help make your radio show that bit more polished and stand out from among the others out there. Of course you radio show does not have to have all of these things and can just be for you and your friend's pleasure. You can make it as much fun/work as you want it to be.Read more..
How and why you should become a radio DJ
by Tat on Wednesday, August 12, 2015
There are a variety of means and methods DJs can explore when building a profile and showcasing their abilities and music tastes to a wider audience. Alongside the core routes of DJing in clubs and events, making online, CD and tape mixes; there is also the opportunity to broadcast live on air. Radio shows whether it was the original AM pirate broadcasts going through to FM radio and more recently the web are now entrenched within dance and DJ culture. It has never been a better time to get online and deliver a live radio show, whether it's just for just a few close friends or 1000s of like-minded strangers across the globe. The first part of this Trackhunter blog post explores some of the reasons as to why any DJ, fledgling or established should consider delivering a radio show. The second part in two week's time will look at the practical implications of delivering your own show from how to find the right station to making sure your technical set up is correct.Read more..
The Ideal DJ Setup
by Tat on Wednesday, July 29, 2015
DJ spaces come in all different shapes and sizes, tiny box bedrooms to full on warehouse apartment rooms with comfy sofas and liberal record space. Depending on the space and equipment you have at your disposal can affect how comfortable and well you practice djing. If you are fortunate you will have a room designated as a studio come DJ booth. At the other end of the spectrum you might find yourself getting out your laptop and controller and broadcasting your mix into your headphones whilst stood at the kitchen table. This can be especially so for DJs who give up their space once a child or two appears on the scene, it's pretty common. The main thing to remember is not to give up your passion totally whatever you do. Nevertheless, regardless of your circumstances it is essential you maximise your DJ set up for comfort, ease and sound. Here are a few tips, some of which might seem obvious, but if you aren't doing them already, you should seriously consider them.Read more..
Trackhunter Feature in Development: On Demand Music Source Updates
by Keith Boynton on Monday, July 20, 2015
With AutoSync released it's time to move on to development of the next feature. I've scheduled what I deem to be the next most important enhancement that will bring the most benefit...Read more..
Moments that shaped modern DJing
by Tat on Wednesday, July 15, 2015
There have been several key moments throughout the course of history that have changed the DJ landscape for ever. We thought at Trackhunter it would be interesting to map out some of those moments that have taken place on turntable, CD and laptop. There are too many to mention, too many innovators and moments to capture, but here are six of the best and most important happenings that helped us get to where we are right now.Read more..
How to start a record label
by Tat on Wednesday, July 1, 2015
De La Soul once said, 'Everybody wants to be a DJ, Everybody wants to be an emc' but these days hip hop and dance fanatics are just as likely to want to be an independent record label owner. Only a few minutes trawling around Resident Advisor or Discogs you get to see the sheer number of new and existing indie music labels. A few decades ago it was mostly a collection of majors with a smattering of smaller independents set ups either trying to break through or release specialised music to niche loyal followings. Movements like 60s soul in the US, punk rock in the 70s and more recently dance music all embraced the cottage industry model of pressing and distributing their own music. At Trackhunter we thought it would be good to tap into the knowledge of someone who is currently running their own electronic record label and find out why running one has increasing appeal when the market is so competitive.Read more..
How to build a DJ profile part 2
by Tat on Wednesday, June 17, 2015
In the previous Trackhunter blog post we talked about the core elements of a successful DJ profile over the last four decades. The key components of building a DJ profile have not changed much in that time, from playing out, creating music, running nights and making mixes. What has changed is the evolution of the web, especially in the last ten years where anyone can host and create a variety of content with minimal web skills. There is no need to learn how to code Java or write HTML, although it doesn't hurt to learn. That said, for any DJ wanting to build their name on the web, time is better spent listening and buying music, practicing mixing, running nights, making tracks and of course promoting it all. Certain aspects will always involve hard work, there are few shortcuts to handing out flyers and running nights, unless you are happy to pay someone. Certainly one modern alternative is to offer a skill swap where you teach someone how to DJ in return for their web authoring skills. Web promotion does now offer a cheap and quick alternative to the old school methods. As with all of these blog posts, the purpose is not to teach you to suck eggs, nevertheless there are some basic principles some DJs must consider when trying to make a new on the web.Read more..
Trackhunter Feature in Development: AutoSync
by Keith Boynton on Monday, June 8, 2015
This is the start of a new series of short articles I'll publish every so often to keep you informed of what's going on behind the scenes with Trackhunter. Sometimes it may look like I'm taking a break but I assure you I'm usually working hard behind the scenes to bring something new and useful to the Trackhunter platform. So, when it makes sense I'm going to bring you up to date with what I'm working on at the moment and you can hopefully get just as excited as me with what's coming.Read more..
How to build a DJ profile
by Tat on Wednesday, June 3, 2015
This is the first of a two part article that looks at how DJs can build a name for themselves through the traditional and modern routes. Part one looks at how traditionally DJs have gone on to build careers in a world before the internet and since its inception. Part two will focus on how to capitalise on social media and digital tools to reach a wider global audience. Let's get started on the more traditional methods some of which are just as viable today..Read more..
How to be a DJ and make it a successful career
by Tat on Wednesday, May 20, 2015
For any DJ that wants to make a career out of their love of music it can be a competitive business. Scenes come, go, get revived, die and then reappear a decade later. With this waxing and waning many of the names that helped carry a movement from cradle to grave often disappear off the radar. Naturally there are strands of dance music and DJs that have prevailed throughout these changes, sometimes deviating away from their original source only to return at a later time to embrace a new audience. Take for example hip hop which evolved at a great pace throughout the 80s into its golden age lasting into the mid 1990s. The purer, cliche-free version of the genre has at times been decreed as dead only to return with new blood to push it forward. The same can be said of the mainstays of modern dance music, house and techno with their purer forms and sub-genres still played out to large audiences globally.Read more..
Is it really worth paying more to download AIFF, WAV or FLAC or should I just download MP3 music?
by Tat on Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Over the last few years there have been many debates within the DJ and club community as to what is the best digital audio format. Whilst two camps sit polarised between analogue and digital, there is also disagreement amongst the wholly digitalists. Compared to vinyl, digital DJing provides a wide variety of options so it is important to understand why any DJ keen to stand out from the crowd investigates the options available to them.Read more..
How to create a podcast and get your DJ mixes online to promote your music
by Keith Boynton on Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Getting your name out there and getting yourself noticed is probably more difficult than ever these days. Back in the day I remember I used to go through the club listings at the back of Mixmag and find every club I thought might enjoy the music I played. I'd sit in my lounge with a mountain of jiffy bags ready to send out my latest mixtape in the hope just one of the club would take me on! These days it's much easier to reach a bigger audience but of course with that comes much more competition. One way you can try to stand out and reach people is by doing a podcast, here's how it can be done effectively...Read more..
Finding new dance music, how can DJs find music downloads others missed?
by Keith Boynton on Wednesday, March 11, 2015
I think a lot of folks may agree that one of the main skills of a good DJ is track selection, ranking higher than technical ability? So, how in this age of music overload and in your face promotion can we find those magical gems that set us apart from the run of the mill selector? I believe I have the answer...Read more..