For the second local feature this month, theProjects and Blasthaus resident DJ Nisus has been featured in SF Station’s Last Night a DJ Saved My Life. In the interview, Nisus elaborates on topics such as the meaning behind the name Nisus, the development of his sound, and his local inspirations. Check out the article on SF Station and be sure to download Nisus‘ new podcast Bass Grenade (guaranteed to cause a rave in your office and/or home).
A nightclub is made out of sound. Music can contain within it the bricks of a metaphysical architecture.
Deep in the heart of Brooklyn I found myself at a Haitian church. I walked through the door with the summer heat on my back into a florescent lit room filled with the smell of home fried chicken. Immediately my two friends and I were welcomed and found our place next to the girl that had invited us to church with her. Folding chairs were placed in rows and the reverends sat up front on an elevated stage. The lights flickered as they would do in the DMV. The pale florescents added no character to the room. I had nt been to church in a long time mostly due to rooms like this one. Ive always had trouble understanding how holyness could be beheld in such a not uplifting space. The Haitians taught me a valuable lesson.
In light of his recent triumphant return to San Francisco after a 1300 mile ride through Europe (CD’s in tow and DJing along the way) theProjects resident DJ Nisus has been featured in the SF Weekly blog AllShookDown. Nisus discusses his cross-continental DJing adventure, SF’s unnecceasry crackdown on parties, as well as his ultimate club night entailing “monster truck spitting flames…Mr. Oizo…and a helicopter engine sound system.”
“Resonant energy transfer is when a force does work simultaneously with natural resonance, which can transfer a large amount of energy to that resonance.”
I found this while researching the tuning of bass drums.
I am soo fucking honored to be a DJ!!! Thank you for your support. This last year has been amazing. The next should be even better. D
I think I have avoided making music for so long because it’s the kind of challenge that lives in my DNA and takes over my life, just like snowboarding, skating, biking etc. It was nice to have a break from obsession for a while, but now my room is littered with sound and music magazines. Just like some crazed Google employee, I spend 18 hours a day researching, learning and testing what I am hearing in dance music.
The Audio 8 Interface just died. All lights on, no signal. NI was quick to get a support ticket but now we will see how long it takes for them to get me a new box. Oh well, back to vinyl. That was fun for a minute!
There are plenty of reviews of Traktor Scratch on the web, so I thought I would approach it from the point of transitioning from vinyl to digital. I’ll also explain my desision to go with Traktor over Serato. I have finally gone to the dark side. Digital. WTF huh? My excuse is that I needed an external sound card for production and Native Instruments provided a nice one with the ability to Dj along with it. I bought it, six months ago and just this week installed the djing software. Impressed? Sort of…
Truthfully the NI box is a really nice piece of hardware. I chose it over Serato mostly for the production features, like midi in/out and the extra line ins and effect loops and sound quality…..ect. If you do your homework you see pretty quickly that technically speaking NI has a solid edge over Serato. Sound-wise here is why I went with Traktor. In the field I have a few beefs with Serato. First, vinyl sounds like crap through the serato box. Period. I play on a lot of different systems and in mixed media situations and this was apparent. The truth is in the phono pre amp that takes the stylus voltage up to line level, amplifying the signal over 1000 times. A cheap phono pre amp circuit is around $.05 to spec. Audiophiles spend up to $3000 on a good preamp. There is a difference. Traktor adressed this with a phono switch, (covered later). Traktor also is USB powered. Lastly the Traktor box, called the Audio 8 doesnt stop working ie no sound when you close the lid of your laptop. Insert moment of terror from actual experience here. Gnar Gnar. So from my experience with Serato I went with Traktor.
I’ve been using the Audio 8 interface with Logic Pro 8 for about 6 months. Its great. The sound is good, its stable and it looks nice in the studio. In the field I really love the color coded rca’s for drunktime setup in dark environments. Can I recommend glow in the dark inputs though? The hardware itself is well built. The multicore cables are effective and keep my box less cluttered. So far everything is great. Now the bad part. My first gig out with Traktor fucking sucked. It refused to work. The control vinyl needs to calibrate everytime you fire the system up. Kinda lame when it refuses to find the signal even though its coming through the phono setting. WTF I downloaded the updated drivers and went to my next gig. This time it worked flawlessly. Next gig, Traktor Scratch refused to work again. I am kinda a tech nerdus and I know Im not retarded when it comes to trouble shooting. Also I have worked with computers my whole life and I know their sneaky tricks. This was a serious NI fuck up. Re installed the drivers and Next gig it worked flawlessly. 2 for 2, Except now I’m carrying too much gear!
This Sat I’m playing for 30000 people at Lovefest in SF and I have to leave Traktor at home because its too risky to rely on it. Here is where Serato has the edge. Serato is reliable. We will see if Traktor holds on but its looking kinda sketchy. Im gonna keep using it for instore gigs where its not life threatening if it goes down. Im gonna have to stick with vinyl for anything bigger. Which brings me to the sound.
I have written about the sound of Mp3s and had many discussions with my peers about it but now its conclusive. Vinyl sounds better that any Mp3 ever!!!! No debate really needed. When I drop the needle on a piece of wax the whole room warms up. The bass gets fatter and it feels better. Yes this is technically because there is distortion. But it feels better. Which is the point really of going to a club with a soundsystem that is not a home stereo. Or sitting infront of your monitors at home or listening through your headphones. I don’t play headphone music. I play dance music. When I switch from Timecode Vinyl to Phono on the Audio 8 there is a further difference in sound. Thank you NI for still caring about vinyl enough. Now can you please make the software “listen” for the vinyl control signal and switch the setting automatically? Thats what the scopes tell us, make the software recognize this too.
Lastly, what has changed in my Djing by going to digital? In the last 4 sets Ive played out, my sound has changed. Traktor has allowed me to play a bunch of music that was made by friends of mine and has allowed me to participate in a whole new genre of music that is region specific to the SF bay area and I’m really proud to be playing. The next phase is to apply my own remixes and productions to my live set. Its awesome to feel like I can contribute to a scene in this way. The next step is to move away from the turntables completely and into controllerism. Weening myself off of vinyl only until I can afford to press my own tracks. For now Im looking for wav files. Send me anything you think I’d like. D
Meanwhile in ohio.
OMGLOL!!! on the 10th of may was really one of the most fun sets ever. I have never heard anyone scream so loud at the end of the set before. That basement is ready to go off. People just need to get in there. Its super hard to explain how dope it is because everyone says that their shit is the awesomest, but really LASERBASS!!! Its like we have a helicopter in there.
That leads me to the thought I had about comparing DJing to other arts like writing. Just because I know how to write doesn’t make me a writer. Just because you have the software to mix tracks together does not make you a DJ. Nor does having Illustrator on your computer make you a graphic designer. True with paints and cameras and instruments. Well then, what is it that makes us what we are? The answer is in how the act of creation shapes us. The tools are not what’s important. If you take the brush away from the painter he is still a painter and will continue to be, because he thinks in paint. The world that he perceives is through the lens of painting. His clothes are covered in paint and his style is a functional response to his working environment. True for every artist. This is what separates artists from hipsters(another conversation). Its like a level of truth closer to selfhood that came from the expression of an individual’s art. But in truthfully creating art you put a part of your self aside in order to give that art somewhere to live within you. You become your expression of yourself through creation.
Djing is more than just playing other peoples music. I am not a keyboardist or a drummer, Although I could hack my way through those things its better to leave them to people who use them as their expressions of self. I am a purveyor of sonic culture. My goal is create a space using sound that moves you into another headspace. Its kinda like an amusement park. The illusion there is that its dangerous and therefore thrilling. The perception I would like to create is that this is a place to get out of your mind through the experience of music. Have you ever been in a mosh pit? I like to play music that feels like a rollercoaster, or like a rocket being launched into space , or a monster truck rally. I love to use music as the invisible walls of a bounce house. This is in contrast to many other “DJs” I see in the process of going out.
In many cases the DJ has become a warm bodied jukebox. Lame! A human Ipod? Fuck that. But this is how so many DJs act and how so many spaces treat the DJ. Like background music for something else going on. Im sure people leave the night not realizing how much the music affected them. Because it s an invisible creation its hard to quantify how important a good DJ is. When you wake up the next morning and feel great its not usually the music you first think of. Often its the people you were with and that you had fun in spite of the shitty DJ. I know, I feel the same way a lot.
Being a great DJ has nothing to do with genre. A great DJ can find the gems in the crate because its how they perceive the world. Its how they see everything around them. The question moves from third circuit logic, past fourth circuit social connection to the fifth circuit hedonistic feel good space. How does this track make me and my peers on the dance floor feel? Does it move us? If not, fucking stop playing it. You are not a payola record/radio cocksucker are you. Or are you? Why are you doing what you are doing? Why are you calling yourself a “DJ” Answering honestly is what leads you towards becoming an artist rather than a douchebag hipster. It makes for a better scene when things are correctly and honestly represented (im not talking about your haircut). Hiding behind the postmodern shield of “its art” will not defend your shittyness forever. We are coming for your integrity, be ready.
The photo above is the first image that comes up when you type “shitty dj” into google. Sorry Dude. Its a classic photo though. And I had to look closely to make sure it wasn’t a venue I’m intimately familiar with. Ohhh Awesome how do I miss the Villa? Not at all! I do miss the joke, “put your stab vest on” before going out to play though. Im so glad its funny now.
This one was epic! Thanks to everyone that came out. Huge shout out to MR Projectile who rocked it hard with a solid set early on. OMGLOL!!! is really for you guys. This was amazing. I can’t wait for the next one. We got the photos up Click Here<—-
Records are heavy, they scratch, they take maintenance, they wear out, they hate sun, they’re hard to find, expensive and take up space but these are not bad things. In fact these reasons are what makes them valuable. They have a character unique to themselves. This is a good thing in these days of increasing homogeneity and bland consumption culture. The fact that I have to be aware of their needs puts them in a category usually reserved for friends. The interface for playing them live for people, turntables, are beautiful. The interaction of beatmatching and mixing is a performance in itself and way more interesting than watching some dude fuck with his laptop (sorry dude I still love you but buy a monome). Its true that there is more to Djing than pressing that fucking autosync button in serato while pretending to use the turntables. It takes a fair amount of skill and practice to craft a great set using vinyl. You owe a performance to the audience for being there to see you especially if they paid to get in. One of the DJs I look up to, DJ Magitope plays all vinyl and his theory is that the audience participates in the performance by way of the needle which picks up external vibrations like screaming and dancing. There is a huge backlog of music that might only exist on wax. Whole lives are spent digging for lost audio relics. No Digital Rights Management. This is where I throw a fit.
Dear iTunes buyer. You are a sucker. All one billion of you, you’re not alone don’t feel bad. Your ipod is only an island and the songs you buy are RENTED from itunes. You think you own them but you are wrong. You payed to rent them from itunes and store them on your island and you have been duped. The French government knows this. Also if you are DJing with these MP3s please stop. It hurts my ears. I would rather you punch me in the face than make my ears bleed with your shittly compressed snares and “soundsystem” that has to be turned up too loud ALWAYS to get any bass out. Beatport.com will sell you .wav files. Yes they are a dollar more. Its worth it. Here is why in one word, Psychoacoustics. There is research that says people perceive a higher quality environment if the audio is less compressed. Translated, you will be perceived to be a better DJ by playing .wav files or even better by playing records.
Of course records sound great. Really, I play with a lot of people who are all digital and its cool but not because digital sounds great. Its sounds digital/clean and in some cases this is awesome. The precision of digital is rad. The sound quality isn’t an issue with things that have been produced well and played as a .wav file. But for dance music I like records because they provide a layer of humanity to any digital production. Dance music is usually a bit sterile because its made on computers and the format of vinyl softens the harshness.
Here is Robert absolutely crushing it at the hay maze. Mozaic has been around the musical block for a long time and I’m stoked to know him and to have the opportunity to perform with him.
I came back with my mind hanging by a thread and the real world bouncing off of me like a grade school taunt. Its all true. Everything you have heard is true. The stereotypes are spot on. The art is amazing and people are insane. But really none of this explains anything that goes on. Its really more of this big inside joke. No fuck it there is no explanation. I really didnt want to go but Im glad I did. It was fun. Thats all. I brought my records but couldn’t make myself pull them out with the threat of dust storms set to ruin all of the effort I have put into collecting my sound. I did play two mixes from my cell phone plugged into the sound system. When the Lose Your Shoe mix came on people flipped out. Banwell, who was driving the Nexus Mobile Refinery had to stop driving and come back and make me turn it off completely because people were bouncing so hard that the trailer was on the verge of collapse. Success! Bounce till shit falls down. That is the sound. I will be there next year with Cds ready to bounce that desert into space. D
Okay so I have been avoiding a Burning Man trip for a while and now thanks to my friend Chris’s goading and my lust for adventure, I am on my way. See you in a week when I can talk all the shit I want and avoid hypocrisy. Cause Ive been there maaaaan!!!
Hey you guys I just wanted to throw a quick post up to let you know that I got featured at TheWhole9.com
To celebrate I finally posted the LaserDragon mix. I did it through zshare so let me know how it works for you. D
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Tonight is the night before the show at The Cafe for the Ultimate Dj contest. I stopped by there to check it out and its smaller than I thought. Its gonna be packed. The club was rollin the new EAW tops all over the place so I assume there is some bottom end in there as well. It should sound wicked. They had Rane Rotary mixer set up, which Ive never used before. If thats the mixer then slow and smooth will be the rule. If they put something more current in watch out for the Bass drops and pray I don’t blow it out. I feel really good about where I am in the Djing world. I feel really confident about my record selection and just need to be patient while I mix. I get too excited sometimes. Im really stoked to be competing. I freaking love where competition puts my head. Hope to see you all there tomorrow. BLOW THE SPOT UP!!!!!!!!
This page exists to showcase DJ Nisus and themovement. I will be posting mixes, remixes and reviews. Shirts will be available soon. Thanks Dustin