December 3, 2012

Drumcell Interview: Thoughts on Traktor

With the release of Traktor Pro 2.6 earlier this year, many DJ’s are beginning to take advantage of the new remix deck functionality, better BPM detection, and the new flux mode and macro FX selections. In addition the new hardware  from Native Instruments like the Traktor Kontrol F1 and their first forray into mixers with the Traktor Kontrol Z2, help to make these new features in the Traktor update even more useful. The techno DJ and Traktor specialist Drumcell is not just a former spokesman for the DJ software, but he is an active user of the software and uses it at every gig.

When we interviewed Drumcell he was performing with two laptops: one to use with Traktor and utilizing 4 decks, and the other with Ableton where he was launching clips with Native Instruments Maschine. He noted that in the very near future he will be integrating the Kontrol F1 into his live rig and reorganizing his clips within Traktor to eliminate the need for two laptops. Drumcell is of course waiting (as most of us are) for the day when Traktor fully integrates Maschine into the software to make Maschine into a performance controller that can sit alongside your existing DJ rig. There have been many rumors surrounding this integration and with Winter NAMM 2013 fast approaching, we may be seeing this a lot sooner than expected. This is of course all speculation as Native Instruments keeps their secrets held pretty tightly until the time of a press release or company announcement. You can make this possible already with MIDI mapping but we expect Native Instruments has some interesting ways they will be fully integrating Maschine with Traktor in a user-friendly and intuitive way. There are many ways in which these two softwares can communicate with one another to take them to a new level of simplicity and accessibility for any DJ.

The big advantage to using Traktor for Drumcell is the powerful nature of the FX processor within the software. Native Instruments is clearly at the forefront of digital instruments and processors with their popular Komplete 8 packages and their latest release of the effects processors Transient Master and Vintage Compressors. The FX section allows for single or chained FX which can allow for some really inspiring and unique DJ performances. The latest version of Traktor also comes with sample loops to pull from which can be great additions to your set when launching clips in the remix decks.

Drumcell also noted another interesting way to look at Traktor and that’s from the perspective of someone who is producing tracks. Building your production with the thought in mind that you will eventually be taking these tracks into Traktor and looping them or mixing them with your other tracks is something interesting to consider for the producer/DJ. Maybe you don’t want to include that really intense build or breakdown because that is something you would like to perform live. Maybe forego the extra reverb in a particular section because you can want to make it larger with chained reverb and delay effects. Traktor can be a really great cure for writers block as well. Try taking your half-way finished track and import it into traktor and start playing around with effects, mixing it with other tracks, or mixing it with itself through loops and other transitions. You may find those ideas which you were struggling to create in your DAW seem to come alive once you start DJing with your project.

For those of you who already own Traktor and have been actively utilizing all of its features, a lot of this may seem redundant. For those of you looking to get into digital DJing or who have been looking at Traktor from afar, now is the time to really dive in and explore all of the features it has to offer. Upload all of tracks to Traktor, get them analyzed, learn how to beat grid, learn how to utilize effects, learn the remix decks, and start practicing everyday. Drumcell advises those who are just starting to use Traktor to really commit to the software. The more time you spend learning how to use Traktor (or any DJ software for that matter), the more features you will discover and be able to integrate into your live sets.

What DJ software do you use? What are the advantages and disadvantages to Traktor? Do you find Serato and Virtual DJ offer things Traktor does not? What are your reasons for picking one DJ software over another? Give us your thoughts in the comments below.



Now that they’ve integrated the remix decks inside of Traktor, I can load up all of my individual clip launching there so I don’t need Ableton anymore at all. I can actually load up all of my individual loops and launch them in clips using the new F1 controller that Traktor came out with. The FX processors that are built into it are extremely powerful. They have these transpose stretches where you can do these really crazy granular stretching. The delays are really tense. The feedback allows you to do really intense high builds. The reverbs have extremely long sustains and there are so many different ways.

The cool thing about Traktor that I have always loved is that I always meet all these different people who use Traktor, and every person who uses Traktor uses it in a completely different way. The second you import your entire music library into it, and you really commit to using it, you learn how to beat grid tracks, you’ve really got a one-up on everybody else in the DJ industry. You have tools at your disposal, at the tip of your fingers to really take your performance from like kind of you know just a standard DJ set, to a really powerful kind of hybrid live DJ set.

But when I am producing EPs or DJ friendly music, its really changed the way I do that because I produce tracks in a way where certain parts of track can be looped or used in Traktor on 4 decks. The way I build up synthesizers or the way I do breakdowns, all that stuff like that, I am always constantly thinking that the second I drop into Traktor, how am I going to to be able to manipulate that and use that in different ways. Maybe people who buy my EPs or my tracks probably don’t hear it when they are listening to it but when they actually hear me play one of my tracks in a live environment, they can hear how much different the track sounds live than it actually does when they buy the MP3 or vinyl. I can manipulate those tracks in a completely different way in a live environment.