Interview with Andrew Puusa aka DJ Andrew Allsgood on his Musical Influences and Favourite DJ Gear

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Andrew, chillin’ at home in beautiful British Columbia

Interview with Andrew Allsgood by Mike Simpson

Can you briefly introduce yourself and tell people about your taste in music and DJ experience?

I’m Andrew Allsgood! I’ve been DJing since 1996 and collecting records and music since I was 9 or 10 years old. I’ve held various residencies in Toronto over the years at bars and clubs and Dj’ed with loads of people from around the world.

What was your reason for becoming a DJ? How did you get early DJ gigs? Did you seek them out or people asked you?

I got into DJing in the mid-90’s ‘cuz I was hanging with my graffiti writer pals who lived with a reputable hip-hop DJ. I worked at record stores through my time at art school and just loved hip-hop, trip hop and through those genres discovered the original breaks and funk and disco records everyone was sampling. Pretty standard for a lot of DJ’s I suppose.

These days I dig all types of music. I play house, disco, funk, soul, reggae and some techno. Home listening encompasses almost any genre. Jazz, blues, soul, funk, world music… pretty much anything that I can find that is “real”.

My early DJ gigs were just me being hungry to play out. I played loads of shitty gigs and bars just to get my name out there. Eventually I hooked up with the right people and landed a great weekly residency with one of Toronto’s tastemaker DJ’s (Denise Benson) and we really were a bit of an institution in the city. Through that gig I met almost every local DJ and we brought tons of international talent to play with us.

What are your earliest memories of music, records and record players? Was your family musical? Did you like dance music in high school?

My dad used to work for a big music distributor who set up and supplied major department stores in Canada with music. I used to hear stuff, write down titles and ask my old man to bring it home for me. We had a pretty standard set up at home for the time. Pioneer receiver, Pioneer turntable and tape deck. I used to make pause tapes before I knew what they were! I also used to make tapes for friends parties when their parents were going out of town!! Growing up I was heavily influenced by pop music and the MTV revolution, coming home every day from school to watch the local music video shows on Toronto cable stations. I soaked up pop rock, metal, new wave and the like. When I got to high school Run DMC and the Beastie Boys were massive so I naturally came to accept hip-hop as well as taking a shine to classic rock. By my second year of high school I was introduced to night clubbing at various all ages clubs in Toronto. House music was being played alongside new wave and industrial music and a host of other styles. This was around 1987-88.

What kind of DJ technology have you used – from your start to current period? What decks and headphones are your favourite?

When I started DJing I lived with a couple of guys who had decks. I’d amassed a few crates by that time but had never owned real “DJ” turntables.

I got a few tips from my roomies and just started practicing. I got my mixing down pretty well on a belt drive Gemini and a Technics 1200. Then when we all moved from that spot I had no decks and had to source a pair. As luck would have it I scored a set from a hard up graf writer pal. I still have the same one to this day!

I was vinyl only until about 2007 when I decided to make the switch to Serato. I ran that system until 2013 and just decided to put it away. I’d experienced too many problems with laptops getting damaged and hard drives being dropped etc. to make it not worth my while. I also wasn’t happy with the sound quality, overall, of that platform. By then the Pioneer CDJ’s had introduced the USB options and I thought that was a great step in moving their product line even further to the forefront.

I’m still buying records but not to the extent I was before I went digital, (and had a family!). I love the format but I’ve also acquired two CDJ 850’s for my setup and love to bounce back and forth. I’m not really a vinyl purist. Also, clubs and bars these days aren’t really set up for analogue, often if they even have turntables they are not maintained etc.  I also don’t buy too much current music on vinyl if I can get it digitally. That’s just an economic choice I’ve had to make. If I had tons of expendable income is probably still fetishize vinyl like I used too!

What do you think of “turntable replacements” such as CDJs or Traktor/Ableton/Serato? Do you like digital gear?

I like CDJ’s. They’re great. So are all the above mentioned formats as they allow for tons of creativity, should you want to get beyond just, “playing songs”, as in looping, adding effects and multiple layering and reduction using stems etc. I really feel that DJ’s should use whatever they want to DJ as the format they use to play isn’t the primary concern. It’s the music, man! I do however, feel that a DJ should know their hardware/software inside out before playing with it out to an audience. I have heard Dj’s play killer sets on all the above-mentioned formats and absolutely rocked the party. I’ve also heard DJ’s use all of the above and stunk up the room. It really boils down to selection, style and experience to do a good job DJing.

Thank you Andrew!

 

Links:

Andrew on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/andrew-allsgood

Free (Ass)ociation on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/free-ass-ociation

 

Posted in blog, CDJs, DJs, music, records, Serato, Technics, technology, turntables, Uncategorized

Interview with Scott Clyke (aka DJ Scott C / The Goods) on his own History of Turntables and the Importance of the Technics 1200s

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Scott C is a DJ, Producer, and Music Consultant from Montreal.

I’ve known him since high school and always respected his cultural and technical knowledge and skills. He’s gained some renown as a DJ and remixer, and I decided to enlist his help in the quest to understand the importance of Technics turntables in the history of DJing. Here’s the interview. Thanks Scott!

1. What was the technology in turntables prior to the Technics? How was the Technics different?

The only other turntable I had come in contact with prior to the Technics 1200’s was my parents “stereo-credenza”.This was a common piece of furniture in many people’s houses between the 50’s and 70’s and my parents were no different. It was basically a wooden hutch with a flip-top so you could access the record player, and this is where I listened to any and all records before I ever thought of becoming a DJ. I did have one other turntable, but it was a lesser model Technics with rolling dial pitch control. The 1200’s were heavy, well built, stopped on a dime and would not stop turning no matter what you did with the platter – the complete opposite of every turntable I’d seen up until that point.

2. How did Technics come to dominate so thoroughly? Who were the competitors?

Technics simply introduced a thorough, quality product that was built to last, and it stood the test of time like a champion. I have no idea who the competitors were, because I never saw any. We were always able to make the distinction between a turntable for “listening” and a turntable for “DJing” and the Technics was the standard for DJing. Later in the game, around the year 2000 or so, Gemini, Stanton and a few other gear companies were finally able to introduce their own cheaper versions of the Technics 1200, but none of them even came close. That’s not to say people didn’t buy the cheaper, dodgier versions either, because they did. There’s more choices now that Technics has taken an official bow.

3. What was going on in the 2000s that led to the announcement of the stopping of the line?

No idea. Obviously sales would have tapered off through the years with the advent of CDs, the iPod, and then Serato, Traktor and Torq leading to a steady decline in demand. It’s long been touted as the quintessential piece of DJ equipment, but the way people DJ has also changed making it easier for anyone to play and mix music using any one of a plethora of control interfaces, midi and a laptop. You no longer need Technics 1200’s to be a DJ.

 

Photo credit: (?)
Please contact mike@turntablehistory.com with credit information.

 

LINKS

Scott Clyke | Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/scott.clyke

Scott Clyke on Vimeo
https://vimeo.com/barbarianlove

Scott Clyke (@incubatorMTL) | Twitter
https://twitter.com/incubatormtl

The Incubator | Free Listening on SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/the_incubator

barbarian love plus (photography)
barbarianloveplus.tumblr.com/

 

Posted in blog, DJs, music, records, Technics, technology, turntables

Kai Schaefer – Photographs of Classic Records and Turntables

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Pink Floyd »The Dark Side Of The Moon« on Dual. Tim M. – Bullerei, Hamburg

 

Around 2008, Kai Schaefer began this powerful and personal photography project to pair classic albums and turntables.

Based on “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” by Rolling Stone Magazine, Kai Schaefer pays tribute to musical artists like Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, New Order, AC/DC, The Clash, The Beatles and The Sex Pistols. Below are a few of my favourites – be sure to follow the links at the bottom of the page to see more.

Schaefer_Ariston_New_Order Schaefer_Braun_MilesDavis Schaefer_Braun_NeilYoung Schaefer_Thorens_VelvetUnderground

At its essence, the project seeks to pair classic rock records with turntables produced in the same year. Schaefer explained his project and ideas in Wired Magazine:
 

“What I tried to do was create a time machine,” he says.
The first album he photographed when he started the project five years ago was Led Zeppelin’s IV, which he says was his favorite album from when he was a teenager and just getting into music, and girls. Since then he’s photographed over a hundred albums on 25 or so different turntables and is constantly expanding the project.
To make the photos he built a special flash that lights the vinyl exactly how he wants it. He shoots everything with a Hasselblad camera with a Phase One digital back and then makes enormous prints that are sometimes up to six feet big (which makes for a completely different experience than viewing them here on the web).
He’s given himself fairly strict rules to work by when is comes to his record and turntable choices. Nowadays he only uses first or second edition records that were printed in the country where the band is from. If it’s a Rolling Stones album it has to be from the United Kingdom. If it’s Miles Davis, it has to be from the United States. He then tries to photograph the records on a turntable that is from a similar era as the first edition of the record because he wants to recreate the original look.”

 
Visit these sites to see more:

Kai Schaefer’s Project Site: http://www.worldrecords.me/

Wired article: http://www.wired.com/2013/06/kai-schafer-vintage-vinyl/

Ufunk article: http://www.ufunk.net/en/musique/world-records-kai-schaefer/

 

Posted in art, blog, music, photography, records, turntables

History of Turntables Information Graphic

I’m thrilled to be able to officially announce the release of the History of Turntables information graphic (aka “Turntables: A History from A-D (analogue to Digital).

It’s been a long and rewarding process. I hope you like it.

Special thanks to: First Sounds (inspirational work), Grey Coyote (feedback, research) and Ben Ackerman (co-illustration).

Without further ado…

History of Turntables information graphic

 Next:

Schaefer_Ariston_New_Order

 Blog post: Kai Schaefer Photographs Classic Records and Turntables

Around 2008, Kai Schaefer began this powerful and personal photography project to pair classic albums and turntables.

 

Posted in art, blog, illustration, infographic, inventors, technology, turntables, Uncategorized