January 19, 2013

Scratching For Controller DJs

All of the cats out there who have become club DJs in less than three months will eventually have to pay their dues if they want to learn how to scratch.  Turntablists can make performances simply out of scratching and beat juggling, but DJ’s who rock parties know that scratching is a precise and delicate operation.  KRS-One once said that “scratching is like a seasoning, don’t abuse it.”  There’s much truth to that, and we find that many DJs with controllers either do not know how to scratch well enough, OR they scratch too much and take too much away from their mix sessions.

First off, scratching is hard – and being able to scratch tastefully within a mix is even harder.  Once you add inability and a controller to the situation, you create a recipe for disaster.  There are only a few controllers that are decent to scratch on, like Traktor’s S4.  But even with that, scratching on a tiny platter is difficult, especially for a novice who has never touched a record in their life.

I would say if you have no experience actually scratching then you should not insert cuts into your music that sound like butt.  Take some time to actually learn how to cut with a MIDI controlled device, before you add even the smallest elements of scratching into your mixes.