In 1979 local Miami band “Mantrap” ( founded by Nelson Correa) changed their name in order to perform at local nightclubs. Almost 40 years later Correa assembles many of his original members as well as a few who have played with him throughout the years and creates his new band ” Nightshift” Their debut, standing room only performance at Miami’s Bru’s Room on Bird Road was a celebration of friendships and music. I had the pleasure of introducing the new band as they began their first set with a classic and never before performed ( by a local cover band ) Disco hit ” In New York” by Passion, the rest was a collection of the 60s and 70s funkiest hits. ” We tried to come up with a set list that was unique, songs that would move your feet but at the same time touch your heart ” says Correa. The band performed a variety of styles ranging from the Doobie Brothers to Earth Wind and Fire, one of the highlights was their performance of the Dramatic’s ” What you see is What you get ” which was a crowd favorite and a gem rarely heard at any of these events .Emi Jimenez’s vocal range allows the band to perform many hots of the era ,unaccessible by other groups. Luis Gutierrez nails every authentic keyboard sound heard on the original records.Lina Arguelles and Rali Guanche’s percussion rounded out an ensemble of seasoned musicians adding their own energy to the all the songs. There is definitely an audience for these types of bands on the local scene. The demographic that follows these groups have long abandoned the nightclub scene but is still yearning for a night out. This age group was raised on music , and dancing was a Friday and Saturday night ritual that had disapeared until a few years ago when Correa revived the open house scene of the 70s.
Nightshift’s members Nelson Correa, Emi Jimenez, Luis Gutierrez, Special participation by Lina Arguelles ( Legends 5 ) and Rali Guanche. The group gave away their new CD ” After Hours” at the show that included a mix that I produced specifically for them.
DJ Alex Gutierrez
You’ve just executed the perfect mix , the crowd goes wild , confetti rains down on you as thousands of flashes go off as your fans take you picture. Time to get a drink, you take off your headphones , but where do you put them? Do you balance them on the side and hope no one knocks them off on to the sticky floor ( yeah, it’s real sticky).? Here are a few ready made solututions , I’m sure resourceful DJs can come up with their own solutions
Below are a few options. Click on the Links
DJ Alex Gutierrez
I Hear DJs calling Remixes edits , calling Edits Remixes , Redrums are called Remixes, even simple DJ intros , so i set out to find the most accurate description I could of each to set the record straight.
Occasionally DJs will like a song that isn’t the genre they normally play but want to use it in their sets, so we set out to find the right REMIX, Edit, Dub, Redrum that suits our style and audience.
The problem with these terms is that there’s the formal definition, and then there is the misuse of the terminology .
I won’t go into each and every term , here are a few of the most commonly misused terms.
A remix is a version of a track that the original artist sanctioned and usually paid the remixer. Commonly, the Original Artists sends the ‘stems’ of the original track. All the instruments on separate tracks , although to save time they may send groups of instruments such as Percussion , together on one track. The Remixer then rearranges these stems or uses only a select few and adds his own production.The Remix contract always stipulates conditions and usage of the material that is LOANED to realize this Mix. The sounds and instruments remain property of the Original Artist and would be returned or destroyed after completing the work and could never be used in other projects.
An “edit” means that the track is cut in some way. Shortened , prolonged or rearranged in some fashion using the original track.
On the other hand, a bootleg is just a remix that was done unofficially. The remixer did not ask the Artist or record Label permission to alter the track in any form. Using acapellas and adding original music or looping and /or filtering sections of the track are the most common forms of the ” Bootleg” The Bpm is usually altered ( Faster or Slower ). Recordings may be copied and traded among fans of the artist without financial exchange, all though some DJs sell these recordings for profit on their own or different sites.
For the listener, though, there’s no difference between a remix and bootleg.
In rare cases artists themselves will create a different version of their songs, maybe an acoustic version or a Latin version while still maintaining the lyrics .
Some DJs will process a track and line up with a drum track they have created or have removed from another song , Running it continuously through a song usually with poor results ( the percussion overpowers the original or does not blend well with the style) Again, some erroneously label this a ” Remix”
DJ friendly versions with Intros and outros to facilitate mixing have become popular . Are the Legal? You are unable to make a profit from re-edits. ( you could , but you would have to license the track)
Altering a track for personal use in your sets will probably not get you in trouble if you don’t openly advertise the sale of these tracks. In fact this can actually enhance your sound and become your identifiable signature . Learning to use a specific software that would allow you to do any of these things is probably in your main interest and adds another dimension to the art of DJing. .
DJ Alex Gutierrez
In 1979 Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer recorded “No More Tears Enough is Enough” written by ” Honeymoon in Puerto Rico’s” Paul Jabarra & Bruce Roberts ( Who had also written the title track to Streisand’s movie The Main Event ) and produced by Giorgio Moroder and Harold Faltermyer for Summer’s double album entitled On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes 1 & 2. It also appeared on Streisand’s album titled “Wet” A longer 11 minute plus DJ version (the 12″ version) was featured on Summer’s album. The track became a staple of dancefloors all over the country , DJs embraced the collaboration between the Disco Diva and the 60s Pop icon.
Fast Forward 39 years, Miami’s own Salsa Diva who has previously recorded another one of Summer’s hits ” Last Dance” returns as part of a powerhouse duo with the Latin Grammy Award Winner for Best Salsa Album “Intensamente India Con Canciones De Juan Gabriel ” La India” The New Trackto be included in Lucy’s new album ” A Peticion ” ( By Request )
Early reactions from South Florida Djs are extremely positive . Local DJs hunger for New Salsa material which has been scarce in the last few years . No More tears , The Salsa version captures the essence of the original track, Lucy and India’s emotional voice play at the beginning of the song brings a great big smile to those skeptical that such a musical feat could have never been pulled off. The Latin Rhythms explode immediately, calling all salsa dancers to the floor. The track is uplifting and energetic all the while staying faithful to Donna and Barbara’s vision infusing the latin nuances and arrangements that have made Lucy Grau a star in the genre that she and artists like Carlos Oliva invented right here in Miami known as ” Disco Salsa” .
Check out Lucy’s other great Material here at this Link… LUCY GRAU
DJ Alex Gutierrez
Many of us DJs long for the return of Salsa, absent from most ( if not all ) Latin Radio stations with the exception of Marc Anthony. But there is so much more out there, and some of it is here in our own backyard. As DJs we are musical messengers tasked with taking great music to our audiences.
Tonny Succar , a Peruvian–American percussionist, composer, arranger, bandleader and producer, came to my attention when he released Unity: The Latin Tribute to Michael Jackson ,a collaborative project and a tribute to Michael Jackson. Converting Jackson’s songs into a rich and powerful showcase of Latin Rhythms. I was fortunate enough to DJ alongside Succar at one of his performances at Casino Miami, hearing him live converted me into a lifetime fan and admirer of his skill and timing he displayed as the percussionist of his group. Every musician on that stage was an expert at his instrument.
I ran into this track on You Tube , the production and Jean Rodriguez’s lead vocals was just the sound the I knew my audience would accept right away without having to hear it previously on radio. Definitely a track tailor -made for the hard core Salsa dancer. I proved my ” hunch” correct that same night at the Club I was DJing at. where enthusiastic , seasoned salsa dancers took to the floor immediately . The track is not stop energy from start to finish even when it pauses ever so slightly as if allowing us to catch our breath before exploding into a beautifully arranged and uplifting track. I strongly recommend this track to any DJ tired of playing the same music, what a great way to prove to your audience that Salsa is far from over ….Azucar !! or should I say “SUCCAR” !!
DJ Alex Gutierrez
I’ve worked as a DJ in Miami Clubs and Radio for over 40 years. The struggle of the ” local artist” is not unique to South Florida.Local Radio especially here in Miami, with a diverse Hispanic population refrains from programming ” local” and depends on ” National” charts . Their Top 10 charts usually reflects the music the Record labels want you to hear and not necessarily what the actual people are listening to at the clubs or at home. I’ve always thought it was the Dj’s job at ground level to introduce new music, to believe in a song and beat people over the head with it until either they love it or throw ripe tomatoes at you. It was like this here in the 70s and 80s each DJ had a signature sound ,priding themselves on playing tracks no one else was . Today there is a ” Cookie Cutter ” mentality that has taken over the DJ community. ” Follow the Leader” seems to be the norm Crate Diggers are rare and introducing new music at your events is unheard of.
Today some local artists tend to gravitate to those ” commercial” styles which they perceive have a better chance of succeeding other than the sticking to the styles they excel at, often times “forcing” contemporary” arrangements and sounds over their music resulting in a laughable productions. Not everything can or should be turned into Dance Music.
As DJs in Miami, programming to a diverse cultural audience we a have a large palette of musical colors to use in our sets. For Latin artists the local scene has recently been invigorated by the appearance of several new venues that exclusively support local talent . Ball and Chain, Cuba Ocho , Club Havana on Miami’s famed Calle Ocho in Little Havana are enjoying popularity as these venues begin offering the true flavors of our musical community. Casino Miami ( Formerly Miami Jai Alai) is probably the biggest supporter of the local scene. On any given Saturday Night the venue hosts top acts such as Carlos Oliva y los Sobrinos del Juez, Roberto Torres, Timbalive , Palo, Tres de La Habana ,Charanga Casino , Amaury Gutierrez, Hansel Y Raul and others. Musician and Percussionist to such artists as Julio Iglesias,Jon Secada and David Lee Roth , Tony Gundin describes the Casino’s continued support of local talent ” It is the only venue that provides a healthy rotation of local talent . The bands represent a variety of genres from Latin to Funk to Rock and Roll. “The entertainment is provided free of charge to customers of the Casino who show support week after week with standing room only crowds” states Gundin a veteran of the local scene
Nelson Correa founded the group ” Mantrap” in the mid 70s , after 45 plus years and 6 full length albums the band continues to perform Correa who’s band enjoys a large and faithful following describes the support he receives locally ” The response from our fans has been overwhelming both in attendance and physical CD sales. A few local DJs play our tracks regularly at their events. We have even seen some airplay in France and New York, but locally the stations stick mainly to National acts and without their help it is difficult to reach a larger audience”
In my opinion the “duty” of promoting local artists falls upon the local DJ who week after week can expose the music to a varied audience and by creating a demand for these artists ( by playing their music) the DJ in turn is helping himself. Most live music venues incorporate a DJ as part of the entertainment since most bands perform only one or two sets during the course of the night. In turn radio may have no choice but to include in their programming a local track which is making “noise” in clubs or at events. This was the case for me with the track ” Ya Boy” by the African salsa Group Africando released in 1994. I was doing ” Live Broadcasts” with a local station strictly adhering to their playlists but during the commercial breaks I would play tracks that while very popular at the particular club, where not part of the station’s regular programming. The Program Director which was also an on air talent picked up on the crowd’s reaction to the track ,placed it on rotation on the station and it became a huge hit. I want believe that DJs still have this influence.
DJ Alex Gutierrez
Below is a sampling of South Florida’s finest talent. Carlos Oliva , Rey Ruiz, Marlon Mendioroz, Lucy Grau, Palo,Mantrap, Spam All Stars, Miami’s Band , Conjunto Impacto , Tony Succar Support Your Local Artists !!
One of the reasons I believe the Disco backlash occurred back in the late 7os was mainstream artists trying to cash in on the popularity of the genre. Trying duplicate it’s sound without immersing themselves into the culture and actually feeling the music. The majority of artists patterned their attempts after mainstream tracks instead of actually doing their research at the clubs. Their only inspiration were the dollars they were so desperately wanting. In most instances it was gut wrenching to hear their interpretation of Disco, trying to disguise it as much as possible as to not appear to be “selling out” Disco pissed off alot of people who were displaced by it. Rock artists, Radio Jocks and many others. Many of today’s DJs with little or No exposure to ” Real ” Disco music will often play Remixed tracks to audiences who lived the era and experience a negative response because the remix is a complete ” Rework” of the original a big No No when programming to fans of this genre.
Today an artist’s music can be ” remixed” into any format and marketed to a specific audience . Back then, the goal was mainstream radio , the only outlet that could potentially translate into physical record sales. Today the artist can ” hide’ behind the remixer and not appear to be selling out to their core fan base. So a group like ,let’s say, Metallica can have one of their hits remixed by a popular producer/Dj who would assume ” musical” responsibility for that particular version without appearing that the artist has jumped on the bandwagon ( While still cashing in ).
Is today’s crowd willing to accept ” Remixed” versions of their Pop favorites with only a hint of the original glaring through the synths and heavy bassline and effects? In my experience and by speaking to other jocks the answer is ” Yes” The new consumer with their short attention span ,only wants to hear the hook the repetitive phrase that reminds them that they are listening to a particular song they’ve heard before , how it’s presented is up to the DJ who is serving the track at a particular venue. Lyrics that were meant to illicit emotions, to be enjoyed in ” long form’ are reduced to a phrase from the original composition , A call to the dancefloor.The track ,to be played only for a few minutes only ,before mixing into the next.
Fortunately some remixes ( and of course this is a matter of personal opinion) of Classic Dance tracks have been reworked in such a fashion that can still be enjoyed by both new and older fans alike. Conserving the integrity of the original track in the case of Classic Dance tracks is of great importance . Veterans such as myself who are still actively playing music to these Demographics ( 45 and over) have to be extremely selective about the remixes we choose to present to our audiences. Our DJ instincts make us hunger for new material , but we must accept that the average person desires familiar sounding material and straying to far from the source will turn off this group.
Below are a few of my personal and dancefloor friendly remixes of Classic Disco tracks. A few tips for playing Remixes to the older crowd. Must be loyal to the original song, not too many effects or filters, signature parts of the song must be left in, don’t cut it short they want to sing along.
Starting with a recent Donna Summer track expertly and respectfully reworked by Frankie Knucles & Eric Kupper ” Hot Stuff” one of my favorites and another one of my favorites The Dax Rider Supernature, Cerrones’ Classic as well as the ” Give Me Love” by Bob Sinclair There are hundreds …You just have to do your homework.
I hate fingerprints, I hated them on records and now I hate them on my Laptop,and my controller. in my opinion one of the most important things is the presentation of your gear. If you have been a resident at any nightclub you know first hand how equipment deteriorates quickly when it’s not properly cleaned and maintained. The club buys new stuff and within a few months ,cigarette residue, dust and oil accumulates on the gear. First things first , if there are more than one DJ have a meeting. Bring up the fact that the equipment must be taken care of , common sense. Drinks should be placed as far awy from the gear as possible, smoking , especially blowing the smoke on the gear is a big No No .Vapor and E cigs leave an oily residue which can be impossible to clean. Treat the equipment as if it was your own. Start the shift by wiping down the platters and in between the faders with a soft damp cloth ( old T shirts are great ) Keep afeather duster or a Swiffer Duster handy as these things can really pick up the dust. Compressed air is a necessity for keeping your computer’s and mixers components dust free. Food around the equipment attracts ants . ants wander into the faders and everywhere else . The hot components ” Fry” the ants and cause things to go seriously wrong.
One of the best thing you can do for your gear, however, is if you constantly have it set up make sure air around it circulating by having a fan on somewhere close by.
Using Windex , alcohol or any store bought products could fade and dull the finish of the gear after prolonged use.
WHAT I DO
My recommendation is simple grab an old white T Shirt , cut it into large squares , fold that square over a few times and wrap it around your index finger . The material should be Damp ( Water only) but not wet. Then applying a small amount of pressure go around the faders and knobs with your cloth wrapped around your finger. As you clean have another dry piece of material that you will use to dry. You may want to use a ” lens blower” or compressed air prior to beginning to remove loose dust. Doing this once a week , I believe will extend the condition of the surface of your controller.
At a recent Club gig where I had a packed house and a demographic crowd about 25 years younger than I’m used to playing for , I noticed something peculiar ( to me anyway , a veteran of the local club scene) People did not go to the designated area to ” dance” they basically moved to the music where they stood.
It seemed that the dynamics of a nightclub had changed. People did not interact with others outside their group. People did not approach each other to request a dance and agree to walk those long 5 feet to the dancefloor. As an old school DJ seeing this situation was frustrating, since the dance floor defined the DJ , at least in my day.
But this is not “My Day” anymore, it belongs to a the new generation of Club goers.
Eventually the place became so full that the “dancing” began to occur on the actual dance floor, but it got me thinking. To continue in the game, new strategies had to be implemented. Getting people to the dance floor was not as important as taking the dance floor to the people. A reconnaissance of the area’s nightclubs was an “ear opening” experience.
Gone were the smooth, seamless transitions between tracks, replaced by slams and cuts that followed no BPM rules. Fast cuts followed by Low tempo ones with a short scratch in between were the norm. The crowd enthusiastically accepted each track and change in tempo. A typical song was played for a few short minutes and replaced by a new one, usually after the first chorus making me nostalgic for the days of the Extended 12′ versions we sought out.
The DJ was judged by “content” not skill. The music selection was standard radio hits with little to no ” new music” being introduced. Of course I’m not going to stop beat mixing, and I won’t be scratching anytime soon (unless something itches) and I understand that the clubs I visited were not representative of Djing as a whole, but it is important when accepting a new gig to research the area you will be working in.
For the older DJ integrating himself back into the scene it is necessary to put away the old playbook , break a few old habits and take notes from the younger guys.Listen to local radio , no matter how painful that may be. Yes we were all ” Bad Asses” back in our day, but to get back in today takes knowledge both technically and musically and if you aren’t willing to put in the time and only look at the dance floor , you’ll be missing a whole new world happening right outside that area formerly known as the dance floor.
SFDJA Blog’ Alex Gutierrez
Our first year at the fair was an ”experiment” No one knew what would happen having a group of DJs playing music. Thanks to the professionalism, experience and carefully screening DJ Participants, The South Florida DJ Association was succesful in showing the Youth Fair that an organized group of professionals DJs could and did provide the family entertainment the fair was known for.
Jorge Santana with The help of Leo Perez were instrumental in coordinating and screening suitable applicants for the task.
An assortment of DJs from all genres joined forces to provide music and announcements to various parts of the fair.
”I remember the excitement” recalls Leo Perez, ”We planned for weeks prior to the event. Schedules were made and we were in constant contact with all the DJs. At the end of the fair there was nothing but praise from Fair Management. Our hard work had paid off and established the SFDJA as a group of proffesional DJs that could be counted on to undertake such a large event.” said Leo.
We have also been featured at their new ” Winter Fairland” during the holidays. https://sfdja.com/winter-fairland-12-15/
This year the SFDJA Team was located inside the vendor’s hall and were enthusiastically welcomed. Their music and voice overs enhanced the customer experience.
Music is a universal language and the members of The SFDJA speak it Fluently!! See You Next year !!