Hot off the press! Native Instruments have just released a new performance video featuring Dubspot’s DJ Shiftee on the Traktor Kontrol Z2 DJ mixer. To get a glimpse of how he put this routine together, we sit down with DJ Shiftee for a chat on his process using this new technology.
So, how did you approach this new routine?
Shiftee: I wanted to make use of the Z2’s features to explore creative possibilities otherwise impossible. Elements like pad placement for easy cue point + sample use, the magical FLUX mode, and joining pad stuff with turntablist techniques all come into play. After that, it was just about trying to make everything sound cool and cohesive.
How long did it take you to prepare?
I started making the routine about a week before filming, putting in at least five hours a day.
What are your favorite functions of the Z2 mixer?
I love the layout. Nothing is too cluttered and the pad placement is perfect. I love having pads so close to the records, because it allows you to combine turntablism and controllerism in new ways. FLUX mode opens up a lot of interesting performance tricks. The crossfader is also smooth like butter or, better yet, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, a product underrated for its smoothness. Fabio was its spokesman for crying out loud!
In the video, it seems like you are hitting pads which trigger samples via Maschine while filtering with a knob on the mixer, can you tell us how you have mapped the mixer? Maschine?
For the Maschine, I custom mapped two main layouts for different sections of the routine. Sometimes I’m controlling samples, sometimes cue points, and sometimes both at the same damn time. Shout out to Future. I just used the default mapping for the mixer. In the part you’re describing, I’m actually using one of Traktor’s new Macro FX (“Event Horizon”) to achieve a robust alteration of the sound via a single knob. Meanwhile, I’m triggering cue points AND samples with my left hand via one of my custom mappings. The color coding options on the new Maschine are very helpful.
Do you plan on incorporating the Z2 in your solo sets as well as Mostly Robot?
Yes, I’ve actually started bringing it on the road to all my gigs. Makes perfect sense for Mostly Robot too with its easy MIDI OUT capabilities.
Any new projects you want to tell us about?
I just had a single and mix come out with Badman Shark on Slit Jockey Records. The single is “EKG Riddim” and the mix is called Time To Die. Evil grime vibes. Then I have a collab EP dropping in January with Rx on the most patriotic label in the universe Hot Mom USA. Meanwhile remixes coming soon for Seclusiasis and Chaungo Records. Also be on the lookout for Vol. 2 of my mixtape project with Elijah (Butterz) called UK Meets USA (listen to Vol. 1 here), which we will be touring in 2013. All about that GRIME.
What were your top 3 favorite shows you played this year?
1. Mostly Robot – Sonar Barcelona. So fun, like summer camp. The first one was probably the most fun since we weren’t sure we could pull things off. Plus there was lots of gazpacho. 2. Comfort 13, Tel Aviv w/ Dismantle. Crazy crowd, crazy club, amazing city. 3. Ogden Theater, Denver w/ Cookie Monsta. Denver is one of my favorite cities to play in, open-minded crowds + the promoter there, Nicole from Sub.Mission, is awesome.
What is one important thing you learned this year about DJing or being on the road so often?
Being in a band is way different than doing solo gigs. People are counting on you, and seemingly simple things like soundcheck become way more involved. I also learned a lot about Justin Bieber from watching the movie Never Say Never on one of my many flights.
What’s going on in the last minute or so when you are swiping the pads on Maschine and the F1?
At the end, I’m using 100% samples. The Z2 and the Maschine are controlling the same sounds, but on Maschine I can change the playback mode between “latch” and “gate” via my custom mapping. My left hand is playing drum samples while my right hand plays musical notes. Plus, it looks cooler to move back and forth. Plus plus, I need exercise.