DVDJ Crush: Hey, man. How you doing, Ryan? This is DVDJ Crush from New Orleans, Louisiana, born and raised. Got into the business 24 years ago as a mobile disc jockey with Impulse Entertainment, based out of New Orleans, in Thibodeau, Louisiana; broke off into the club scene at 18. And the video scene IÕve been into for approximately 10 years.
R B: So when you first started DJing, what were you working with? Turntables and vinyl at that point, I assume?
D C: Yes, sir. I was working with two Technics turntables, two large crates of 12Ó records, doing mix shows at the age of 14…We were doing a radio station out of Homa, Louisiana on Hot 107.5. We basically recorded those mix shows on VHS, on hi-fi Beta.
R B: Wow! Yeah.
D C: I was still in school, so I couldnÕt travel to go do the show at 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., and it was a six-hour show every Friday and Saturday. We recorded two hours per night during the weeknights at Impulse EntertainmentÕs building, after I got out of school and finished my homework…And thatÕs how I got my little 15 minutes of fame as a teenage DJ.
R B: Then as soon as you were legal, you were working the clubs?
D C: Yeah. I had kind of a name for myself…I think thatÕs how a lot of DJs kind of got their names as well…These were literally cassette tapes. I had 90-minute mix tapes that were split in half, 45 minutes on each side of music, and IÕd release one of those once every two weeks or so. And all my friends wanted to have them. My friends gave it to such-and-such and that friend gave it to a guy that knew somebody at a club that knew the owner, and my name was already there.
I imagine you’re still working the turntablesÑjust with timecode discs on them. Tell us about your current rig.
D C: I use Technics 1200s, the Grandmasters, the Shure needles. I use a Macbook Pro 17Ó; a Rane Sixty-Two now (I was previously using a 57); Serato Scratch Live, current version, and MixEmergency for video. And then I use an iPad with a custom MIDI controller to control all of that.
I also use Resolume Arena, which allows me to, via Syphon, use video source into that feed, any video source into that. And thatÕs my main output for video, is Resolume Arena.
R B: I know you also have a well-stocked studio. How much do you spend in the studio, prepping the material that you then use live?
D C: Yeah. That’s the trick, man. It’s a 9:00 to 5:00 job to me, Monday through Thursday. I’m in the studio anywhere from seven to 10 hours a day. I make a weekly checklist of what I need to do and what I want to do. IÕll make a list of needs and wants. I make that weekly schedule usually on the Friday or Thursday of the previously week. It happens all in the studio, man. There are so many DJs out there now getting into the craft and there’s going to be more. To stand out as an artist and try to stay ahead of all these guys, there’s original content. I make my own content…adding some kick or doing a mashup with this or that song. That all happens in the studio, audio-and video-wise.
…[I’m also] working with a couple of companies SmashVision… [and} a new company coming out called Creative Visuals, which will be supplying video DJs with custom video content. All of that alongside of my weekend shows or traveling or whatnot, it’s a busy day, every day of the week. I have a family that I have to divide my time up with fairly, so every-thing comes in play there. It’s
all time management.
R B: So, video DJing as an art form has grown into more than just A-B switchingbetween tracks, obviously. Tell us a little bit about what you’ve seen over your career. I’m assuming you got into this when DVD stuff became available. I can’t imagine you mixing VHS…
D C: IÕve done it, man! Not mix it, per se, but there was a company called ETVÑ
R B: Yeah. I remember Doug and the gang.
D C: -way, way back in the day.
…The first video DJ show I did was a prom for a high school in Louisiana, and we had Pace Productions (Impulse’s sister production company) come aboard because they wanted a really big show. So we had two huge-I mean,I haven’t seen projectors this big in a long time-really huge projectors… And we had two VHS tapes, and they were pre-cued. We had a little sheet of paper with all of the timeslots on them and all that. If we wanted to play a song, it was three or four songs in advance. It was almost like playing a chess game when you were DJing.
R B: So youÕre sitting there back cueing VHS, sort of like cassette tapes when you spin the tape back.
D C: Yep…So yeah. IÕm kind of a dinosaur in telling my age, but that was the first time I ever spun video.
The current technology now, oh, man. It’s a breath of fresh air… There’s so much stuff out there you can use, like Virtual DJ. I currently use MixEmergency; Serato Video is out there. It really makes it convenient and lets you stay focused on the audio. Because I mean, when it comes down to it, the audio’s always got to be first. I’ve said that before; I’ll say that to the day I die. Nothing
really matters too much on videos ifyou play two wrong songs and your dance floor’s empty.
R B: So where do you see VJing going, and where do you see Crush going in the next couple years?
D C: Video DJing in itself, where do I see that going? I think with as many people that are starting to look into video and making that jump from audio DJ to video DJ, I think it’s only going to get better; it’s going to get bigger. I don’t think it’s even come close to hitting its peak or getting recognition. That’s coming…
As for me, I’m starting to get into incorporating my music video mixing with projection mapping. If you’re not familiar with it, if some are not familiar, google “projection mapping” on your computer and get an idea of what projection mapping. IÕm incorporating what we as video DJs into a larger-scale version of just having two projector screens there.
I do some shows in Memphis, Tennessee at Club 152. I do shows in New York, in Saratoga; Vapor night club152 doing a show with Clinton
Sparks there, and weÕre doing the projection mapping DJ set…I carry two Epson projectors in a carry-on, along with my gear bag, which is my laptop bag and mixer. I just prefer to use my own gear over telling them to make sure they have the right stuff so I can get the gig done.
R B: I saw some pictures of projection mapping on your site. So if people want to see a little bit more about it, give them the lowdown on where to find you online.
D C: Yeah. You can find me online. My website is DVDJCrush.com. My Facebook is Facebook.com/ DVDJCrushProject. My Twitter is @ DVDJCrush.
R B: Looking at another website right now, VideoDJAwards.com. Video DJ of the Year; and Best Club Video DJ. Tell us a little bit about those honors.
D C: That was shocking. I was really shooting for the best club video DJ. I had previously won Video DJ of the Year for the IDJ Awards, for 2011. So I was like, yeah, Best Night Club- that would really seal the deal, help bookings and shows…I didnÕt think I was going to get the Best Club Video DJ. There was a lot of talent in there that I thought should have gotten that award. So when they called that award, I was pretty shocked but very happy, because that’s the award that I was really shooting for… And the Video DJ of the Year, they went through the names and they called my name again, and it was like, you’ve got to be kidding me; no way. So yeah, I took home two awards this year; very thankful, very grateful. It was fan base, so we got to reach out. It was Facebook polls. It was a poll thing where they took votes, and then I believe they had a panel that made the final decision and tallied up the votes.
So I pushed hard for my voting in my social media. I reached out to my fans and I reached out to my peers and family and told them about it. That kind of spread out. So I felt good about my fans being there, supporting me, and my peers and stuff like that, and family. So IÕm fortunate and very humble and very lucky.
R B: A good vibe. Do you have any advice for all the other DJs that are aspiring to get on this level?
D C: Hard work, man. Hard work, sacrifice, passion; the love of music- the love of video. I mean, video’s an art form in itself now…If it’s what you want to do, set goals. And time management, time management, time management…Make those short-term goals count…Make sure you set your goals-mostly short-term goals. And when those short-term goals make it, it helps easier to break off into making long-term goals…and passion, man. You’ve got to have the passion for it. You’ve got to love what you’re doing.
Filed Under: Business, Issue #148, Video
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