Cut Class w/ DJ Angelo, Ep. 6: Turntablism Routines
In Episode 6 of Cut Class, DJ Angelo discusses his methods for how to build a seamless turntable routine. Stream the full episode here!
DJ Angelo stresses that making a turntablism routine is really hard, and calls it “the highest level of DJing” because it combines the most skills. There is no step-by-step guide or magic formula to producing a winning turntable routine. He compares it to starting with a blank canvas and then deciding what art to paint on it.
DJ Angelo takes it to the wheels of steel.
Stages of Making a Turntablism Routine
- Stage 1: Ideas and Concepts – As long as you have good ideas you can learn the rest as you go. Its a good idea to watch other DJ’s but a bad idea to copy them too closely. Ask yourself what message you are trying to convey with your DJ set. Is there a style of music or a certain theme that you prefer? What are some songs that you would like to put a spin on?
- Stage 2: Source and Collecting Sounds – Assemble the sounds needed to flesh out the ideas from Stage 1. It definitely helps to have a good knowledge of music, samples and lyrics in order to have a large library to draw upon. Make use of online resources via Google to search for existing sounds. For example somebody preparing for a battle routine would most likely want to look for high energy beats with a lot of aggression. You could even produce your own sounds.
- Stage 3: Composition and Writing – Angelo calls the writing stage the most difficult and exhausting of them all. This is basically the process of piecing together all the samples you obtained in Stage 2. Try to include all the elements of a song such as an intro, a story, a climax and an outro. Remember that you are creating a piece of music that is intended to be performed live. Don’t just play one song all the way through. Turntablists are expected to remain busy the whole time making use of various kinds of music equipment.
- Stage 4: Production & Arrangement – This is the physical process of arranging the clips in production software. Decide which sounds to play on the left deck and which to play on the right deck. Once the audio files have been rendered you can play back and manipulate them to your liking using turntables and a digital vinyl system (DVS). For more information on production and arranging check out DJ Angelo’s YouTube video How to Make a Digital Scratch Tool in Ableton.
- Stage 5: Practice the hell out of it! – Practice, practice and practice until you build the muscle memory and are able to perform the routine exactly the way you planned it. You should be able to execute the routine in a clean, seamless manner whenever you choose to do it.
That was DJ Angelo’s personal, five-stage process on how to make a turntablism routine. Subscribe to BPM Supreme TV for more tutorials, gear reviews and scratch routines.