DJ Hackday has been cancelled…

Paul Devro

Unfortunately the DJ Hackday which was meant to happen on 13, 14, 15th January in Manchester has been cancelled. Its a little heart breaking but myself and Simon always knew if things were not setup before December, it would be buried in the festival holidays.

Don’t worry we still have plans to move forward with a hackday in the same venue (MMU Shed).

Thanks to everyone who took an interest, we haven’t forgotten you and we’ll be back in touch once we got another solid date. Don’t forget if you would be interested in being involved in the organisation of the event, get in touch.

Till then keep an eye on DJHackday.com, the hashtag and our lanyrd event.

Dj Hackday: Jan 14/15th 2017 in Manchester

Remixing a part of who we are - Doug Belshaw

In my last mega blog post about Futurefest, I talked about millennials thinking.

Millennials charactistics include

  • Multiple things going on
  • More likely to do things they are passionate about
  • Blur work and play and enjoy it

This very much applies to something I’ve been trying to get off the ground for a long time (5 years!).

DJ Hackday, is a hackday for not only for DJs but for remix culture.

Remix culture, sometimes read-write culture, is a society that allows and encourages derivative works by combining or editing existing materials to produce a new product. A remix culture would be, by default, permissive of efforts to improve upon, change, integrate, or otherwise remix the work of copyright holder

My personal thoughts are, DJ culture was new exciting and things were moving and changing all the time. We had vinyl, record players and mixers. But people were innovating and doing new things on top of that. Then the technology changed from spinning discs (Vinyl, CDs heck even Minidisc if you must) to Solid State/Digital. There was a lot of push back and there still is… But you can’t stop the future.

However we adopted the digital methods to do exactly the same thing. You can see this in the vast amount of digital dj tools, 2 decks and a mixer. Skeuomorphism hell! And it needs to die! Because a good 20 years after the first Mp3 dj software (virtual turntables by Carrot innovations). The interface, method and general approch is exactly the same.

virtualturntables
2 decks and a mixer (kinda) – 1996
hqdefault
2 decks and a mixer with extras – 2016

That’s more than half my life time! That has to be some kind of a joke!

Ok under the hood things have changed but not far enough and wheres the distruptive changes? The DJ world still seems to be stressing out about auto BPM? Its happened get over it. For a whole culture built on innovation and creativity, it seems highly ironic?

5 years ago at Mozilla Festival I convince the lovely Michelle Thorne of this and I was able to run a prototype of DJ hackday during the festival. Out of it came a DJ first multitrack stem/format called 8trk.

But this was just scratching the surface of a much larger problem with DJ/Remix culture. I put together some slides which horrible to read back through as they are 5 years old, but its been super useful when talking to people and companies about what DJ hackday could be about. It was due an update and thankfully I can finally tick this off my list.

While talking to many people and companies over the years, some of got it and some have asked why isn’t it part of Music Hackday?

I have spoken to the Music hackday people about DJ hackday and made a very clear distinction between what they are doing and what I’m trying to to.

My estimations is the internet 1% rule applies here.

The 1% rule is a rule of thumb pertaining to participation in an internet community, stating that only 1% of the users of a website actively create new content, while the other 99% of the participants only lurk. Variants include the 1-9-90 rule (sometimes 90–9–1 principle or the 89:10:1 ratio), which states that in a collaborative website such as a wiki, 90% of the participants of a community only view content, 9% of the participants edit content, and 1% of the participants actively create new content.

90-9-1

In the case of DJ hackday; out of 100 people…

  • 90 will be consumer (lurkers/watchers)
  • 1% will be makers (creators)
  • 9% will be remixers (editors)

Music hackday cators for the 1% and of course moving remixers and consumers into makers. DJ hackday is moving consumers and makers into remixers. Its a very viable area with plenty of people doing interesting great things already. Everyone we have spoke over the last 5 years have gotten the concept and really want to see it become a real things now.

Myself and Simon have started a Lanyrd page to start building support and getting more people interest. Its also one of Mozilla Festival’s Fridge events, which is fantastic as it shows the progession from its small prototype to a full blown event and Mozilla are always a supporter of remix cultures.

Capitalising on the recent interest in the Get Down on Netflix, which sums up a bit of why DJ/Remix culture is important. I created some simple teaser posters. Expect a proper poster in near future but right now, its about getting the word out. And we’re really targetting those who never thought of themselves as DJs or participating in remix culture. People like you!

As the year counts down towards Winter, I’ll be looking for people to help and other companies to join the DJ Hack. We already have some great names (tbc) and starting to sort out venues for the night events. Of course we already have the MMU Shed for the main hack which is a great space for a hackday. The actual hack dates are Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th January, with a social event on the Friday 13th January and post hackday party on Sunday evening somewhere we can try out some of the hacks.

If you are interested in helping out on the day, know a great venue, like to support in some way, set a challenge or want to come help organise it. Get in touch…

Feel free to ping myself a tweet or drop a message via email, my contact form, comment, etc… I’m quite easy to get hold of.

Welcome back to South East London

I was very excited to invited to the Mozilla Festival which this year was in London. Not only that, it was in South East London.

I decided to split the entry, so if your just interested in the Mozilla Festival, skip to the newer post…

For me it was a bit epic because not only was it exciting because I was leading the DJ Challenge on behalf of the BBC, it was in south east London and frankly nothing geeky happens there. The nearest place is maybe the Excel centre which is more east London or Docklands than anything. Not only that, it was North Greenwich which was 5mins ride from Woolwich where I lived with my ex-wife (Sarah) for years. I hadn’t been back for (I believe) 5 years! When I left they were building the DLR to Woolwich Arsenal and of course the housing prices had gone up. So I was amazed to see how it looked now things were actually open.

Woolwich to be honest has changed quite a bit in some parts and not so much in others. Most of the structures and shops are still where they were when I was living there (this is very true of Greenwich too) but things like the square have been totally revamped with a massive screen showing local information and BBC News. There’s even a Starbucks now but didn’t spot a Pizza Express? Its maintained its down-market feel but also embraced the new upper market shops. For example the market selling copied perfume, clothes, etc is still in place.

Lastly the college I studied & taught Interaction design at, was the host for the Mozilla Festival.

For years people in Ravensbourne banged on about the move to North Greenwich. right next to the Dome. It was going to be a landmark building, etc… Well its certainly different, not quite sure it fits in with the rest of the north greenwich developments but its actual quite nice inside. Reminds me of Salford University in MediaCityUK actually with all the space and multiple levels. Right now it feels very bland because they only moved in a while ago?

Good to see a whole bunch of people popping up who I use to work with including Richard, Roman, Arthur, Hamid, etc, etc… each time I saw one of them, I would take a picture and post it on twitter mainly for the purpose of showing Miles and Dave.

So generally it was great to tie all these things together because generally when I come down to London for work or a un-conference and there never anywhere near south London let-alone South East. My only wish is that I could have visited a few of the people I had left behind. Would have been great to know what my neighbours were up to now, see how big their kid, etc.

What happened to Dj Hackday?

On the cusp of BarCampMediaCity (next weekend) I’m trying to think about all the things which follow on afterwards.

One of the events coming along in the next 2 months is the Mozilla Media Festival which use to be the Mozilla Drumbeat Festival.

Things are still being sorted out but they got a great team of people including Michelle ThorneAlexandra Deschamps-Sonsino and Arran Ross-Paterson. Its happening in my old college Ravensbourne which moved to North Greenwich a few years ago.

I’m hoping to pull together a great team group of people from different companies to be involved in our dj hack challenge.

As mentioned before the best hacks, ideas, etc will go forward into use during the Future Everything 2012 festival.

I’ve emailed quite a few people with this rough description of the challenge and a link to my related presentation

Audio and Music making has gone a revolution, things like Ableton Live and Live Looping has brought new ways to create music. But Dj culture is still focused on 2 decks and a mixer. Next-generation DJ kit has not taken advantage of innovations in music making and has become stagnant. Dj culture has always been forward thinking, but has stalled in the internet era.

So far I’ve convinced, Soundcloud, Mixcloud, RjDj, etc to be involved… But what I’d really like is some more software and hardware makers.

I got talking to Dave a while ago and thought wouldn’t it be cool if we could get the guys behind Free and Open Mixxx software to come along. Of course Ableton would be a natural fit too. Both I’ve contacted… I’ve yet to contact Native Instruments, Virtual Dj, Serato, etc. Hardware wise it would be great to have Vestax, Pioneer, Technics, Numark, etc involved.

There’s also a thought about setting a VJ challenge to go along with the Dj challenge, but thats just thinking out loud via the guys at Future Everything.

Of course if you can help with any of these companies, please drop me a comment or email… Once BarCampMediaCity is over, I’ll be all over this challenge.

A hackday for Djs…

Recently I’ve started thinking its time for a hackday around djing… And BBC R&D should be interested in the idea. So instead of writing a paper I started writing a presentation quickly giving an overview of some of the justification why I felt a hackday was a good idea and what aspects of djing could do with hacking…

A lot of people have said, but surely there’s already music hackday… why would you feel the need to do something around djing…? Surely that fits into music hackday…?

Well yes it could do, but music is maybe too broad for a dj hackday… On slide 2 and 3, I push the idea of djing and recorded music oppose to making music. I’m quite rude about Alberton live which I don’t mean to, just think there’s so much more to the future of djing that making music.

I hope to improve the presentation which was done mainly for Social Media Cafe Manchester. There was quite a bit of insulting vinyl and thats not my aim really, and theres a lot more thinking around feedback mechanisms for djs which I need to add. Anyhow, you can read the PDF on slideshare.