I got a Prick!


Now the interesting thing about my little yarn this month is that recently, I was discriminated against and sacked by my ex-boss who it turns out is an even bigger prick than all of the pricks on the land of Pricks-ville This sacking was based on a personal health choice that I made that didn’t align with the company’s Modis operandi apparently. My private information was leaked to him by another colleague who it was entrusted to, and he made a choice to publicly out me through an audio recording to the whole workspace on a FB chat to set an example of my choice to others who might choose to go down the same path. He didn’t contact me to discuss this with me, just went and sold me out.

It got me thinking about lots of things but most importantly privacy and how we portray ourselves on the socials. The conversation about privacy is a big one, particularly these days when anyone who owns a phone or computer is probably compromising lots about themselves to the tech world. Don’t worry this is not going to be a yarn about any of that stuff. 
It led me to think though about how we set up our social media pages when we are representing ourselves to the outside world as anything, but for the sake of this yarn, we’ll talk about representing yourself as DJ’s.

Personally, I am quite an open person, my posts are raw, my language is a bit gutter mouthy at times, I wear my heart on my sleeve and am really black and white which can be confronting for some people and refreshing for others. I love being like this, it’s me, it’s comfortable, I don’t want to change that.
However, is this rawness going to affect who is attracted to me on a business level.
Will people see my posts and want me to DJ at their parties or their events or wherever based on my look and the way I present to the world.

Very possibly! So, I pose this to you as you start, continue or expand your DJ journey. Think about how you want to reflect your vibe to the outside world. In my opinion, authenticity always wins. Even if you want to be a wedding DJ, represent yourself as authentically as possible and always back up your choices. Even if one of those choices is a song that clears the dance floor. The thing is it wasn’t a bad choice for you and people will be back!

Haters will always hate but keeping true to your vision of where you want your decks to end up and how you want to show up is so important. Listen to your heart. Play from your heart. You are a DJ

Love from a very introspective Lainsta

Festival Antics in FNQ by Rasela

Festival Antics in FNQ by Rasela

Unlike any other place I know at the moment, festival season up here in FNQ has been in full swing.  From the local intimate 500 people gathering at BMUP (Black Mountain Unplugged) in the shadow of a pile of magma boulders surrounded by fresh water springs, to the 3,500 electronic music gathering of Ori Naya just 10 or so k’s up the road at the feet of mountainous green giants, to Wallaby Creek Festival where 1,500 local lovelies (and a few out of towners) met in between the middle of both for music, theatre and cabaret goodness, it has been ON.

There’s a difference to the festivals up this way. I’m not sure if you have been to many large gatherings yourself and if so what types of gatherings they may be but I for one have had my fair share. Never have I seen anything quite like what I saw up here though and there’s something I just HAVE to share with you.

It’s tradition as we know to have some form of welcoming/opening ceremony and to end with a closing ceremony. Well at BMUP I witnessed a closing ceremony like no other. I’m not sure if this will translate into words as well as if I could share it in person and reenact the actions of this monumentally memorable event but I’ll give it a go.

Celebrating it’s 10th year the BMUP festival went on for 10 days which consisted of two weekends and some down time throughout the week in the middle. You can imagine the vibe of a bunch of friends and families who had stayed the whole time and were exhausted but excited to take their places for the closing event.

Everyone was called to the stage and a choir who had been learning gospel in a workshop gathered to serenade us side of stage. Almost as soon as their angelic voices started, so did the arrival of a cut up old Toyota Landcruiser of which the back had been replaced with a gigantic metal structure, wrought iron and tin, shaped with one very long appendage, perfectly fingernailed, jutting out to the heavens above. As it rolled delicately towards centre stage, three men holding large glasses of cold beer in the air (one sitting on the front bumper shouting ‘yeeeeeaaaah) all eyes and focus turned away from the sweet singing choir and onto this contraption of which no-one could entirely make out the meaning of until it was explained fully.

A husky rugged voice came on the mic from the direction of the stage and we were told that this structure had been built exactly to specs and had something a little extra to it. It was revealed that it was in fact a hand with a huge finger pointing up, the finger that entices trouble if you ‘give it’ to the wrong person. The very special addition to this structure was that it turned by a handle operated by the creator of this giant fingered hand. A huge roar went up in the crowd when it did so.

Then the commentary took a new turn. After further explanation and clarification of what the finger did and how it worked the voice on the mic said something like “Who do we want to give the finger to first? Lets give it to the band from New South Wales who pulled out of the festival at the last minute because they got a better offer. Spin the finger to face NSW (a mighty cheer from the crowd). Now everyone, give em the finger”. At this moment the entirety of the festival (except me who was in a state of disbelief and slight shock) lifted their hand, arm, face in the direction of NSW and all gave it the finger with such conviction I was momentarily stunned.

Bringing me out of my stunned state the voice on the mic continued “Now, who’s next?! Xavier Rudd (a cheer goes up) This one goes out to Xavier down there in Noosa or wherever he lives, spin it round to the Easterly Coast there will ya, this one is for you Xavier sitting in your 6 million dollar mansion eating KFC, everyone, give him the finger” and the entire festival again with total and absolute conviction and extra grunt raises everything they need to to give Xavier the finger.

By this stage I am laughing and revelling in the authenticity of this arid country and it’s interesting people and their even more interesting ways. “The next one goes out to all the governments in the world because they’re all fu%#ed up”. Now this I can relate to. “Lets spin the finger around full circle so we don’t miss any of them and everyone, lets give them all the finger!” I raise my own hand and with a smile I join in. There’s a guy standing in front of me, one hand holding his beer, the other shaking with the energetic verocity he is putting into this action while simultaneously letting out a crackly ‘yeeeeeaaaaah” in that ever so recognizable sound of a voice that has seen many a week long festival and the smoke of many a cigarette. At some point the finger is driven away on the old Landcruiser and the festival wraps up for another year.

The purpose of travelling is not to see new things, but to see the same things through new eyes.

Far North Queensland, I love you. 

Rasela x

FNQ by Rasela

FNQ by Rasela

G’day from the Top End of this glorious land we are blessed to call home. I haven’t been around alot of records of late and its hard to imagine even playing records up here in the full heat of the Summer but music is never far from my heart. I managed to make it all the way to the Kuranda Roots Festival, which as the name suggests is not actually in Kuranda anymore but further towards Mareeba in a sweeeet little spot called Emerald Creek.

Lots of rivers and red dust, waterfall pools and sunset soaks. It’s times like these i like to forget that i am usually DJing at such festivals and instead attend  as a good ol’ punter without a plan or expectation to perform. I think it’s healthy to step back and be on the other side of the speakers for a change. It gives you the opportunity to feel the dancefloor and the shenanigans that go on in all parts of it, including the people that are sitting down absorbing the energy of others kicking up dust and getting down in the dirt.

People don’t always need to be on the dancefloor to be appreciating your music. They can be laying round on a mat drinking coconuts, catching up with old friends they just met on the dancefloor, watching from afar tuning into your energy and presence, or just happily having a picnic on a rug somewhere waaay down the back to the sweet sounds of your tunes. 

What is a DJ anyway? I feel the answer to that is so wide and varied but essentially a DJ is someone who fills an otherwise empty space with good and groovy vibrations. Afterall, music is a vibration and if you are filling it with the right kind of vibrations then the people will come fill it physically, and then we have one big happy family.

I have to say, i didn’t spend much time at all on the dancefloor, instead i was one of those lingering lovers of music who was happy to absorb from afar and cool off in the waterfalls in between sets.

Roots reggae and a whole lot of goodness was on the lineup this year with many local bands and DJ’s coming out of the hills and valleys of Kuranda and the surrounding areas to share their magic. One thing I did notice (and something that triggered a Spin Sista response) was that there were very few female DJ’s up there sharing their skills and vibes. I noticed one quite late at night and she was giving it her all, dancing away to her beats. It’s the only thing that makes me want to get up there, to REPRESENT the female contingency of DJing. 

But for now I am a travelling vagabond on the quest for exploration and challenge, to see who else i am in this body, with this mind, without my headphones dangling around my neck. We all need a break from what we do and who we are seen to be because of it. I know that when I touch the turntables again it will feel as though it’s brand new again haha my fingers tingle at the mere thought of it!!

Keep your spin on sistas and stay groovy until our faces meet again (hopefully in person). 

 Rasela xx

WHAT THE Fx?

Have you even used the Fx buttons or know what they do?

What’s your favourite effect that you would never do a set without?

It took me a while to get comfortable with them at first because when I started, all my attention went towards just getting two tracks aligning on the same trajectory and pulling that off in style. Then the focus went on to beatmatching. I did no lessons, so I was adamant to work it out for myself. For some that can take ages to master and others seem to get it in a very short time. There’s no science to this, it’s just a wiring thing in our brain. It’s not a race at the end of the day but when I did start nailing the beatmatch, fuckin look out, it was kinda like an orgasmic moment that I wanted to create over and over again.

Once the beatmixing is nailed then you free yourself up to start to get a little adventurous. If you’re like me, that’s when you start getting in bed with the Fx.

I am in bed atm with the low cut echooooooo and slip roll roll roll roll, in most of my sets.

The big mistake is to use too many Fx. Producers already make the music with their own version of effects, so sometimes adding or subtracting from their work can fuck with the whole track.

Once again, it comes down to practice. I have been doing sets at the moment just practising with using different Fx. I record them so I can listen back later on and hear how lame or awesome it sounded. Sometimes when you are using Fx, you don’t get a clear indication of what it sounds like in your headphones, so having monitor speakers or a PA system in your practice session is going to give you a much clearer indication of what these effects are sounding like.

I did a friend’s party once and I didn’t have a monitor speaker near the DJ booth, so I was relying on my headphones and the shitty speakers as feedback to what I was doing. At the time, I was using the flange button a bit. I couldn’t hear that it was working so I kept it on in places and just though maybe the button was broken. Ha, maybe the button was broken. Dickhead hehehe. When I listened back to the recording, the button well and truly worked and sounded so bad as I left it on too long thinking it wasn’t working. So, the moral of the story is making sure you can hear what you are doing when it comes to Fx.

Check out our Soundcloud page. I’ve put up the practice sessions on purpose even though some of them are roadkill so that the beginners here can have a listen at what works and what really doesn’t.

At the end of the day, there is no such thing as mistakes, it really comes down to what works and what doesn’t when it comes to DJing IMHO.

With passion for the music
Lainsta

SHOULD YOU PLAY A SONG UNTIL THE END?

Of all the many choices that we are faced with when we stand behind the decks and play, a common concept gets brought up time and time again. A concept that is ruminated over by both the new DJ and a seasoned DJ.

SHOULD I PLAY A SONG UNTIL THE END IF PEOPLE ARE ENJOYING IT?

There are quite a few variables to answer this, so I’ll give you my take on it. For me it comes down to the following five points:

  1. HOW LONG IS THE SONG?

If you have a dancefloor full of people rocking out at two minutes in of the track, but it’s a seven minute track, chances are that even though they are enjoying it at two minutes, they might be bored shitless of the riff by five minutes. Then you have a bored dancefloor waiting the last two minutes of the song out.

In my opinion this is a risky move as potentially you will lose their interest and just like that the dance floor halves.

2. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO REPLACE IT WITH?

If you are already on a winner with the track that you are playing, the aim is to keep the energy of that dancefloor at the same level with the incoming track. It doesn’t even matter if you change genre’s (unless you are going from psytrance to slow dubstep, not sure that would be anything but roadkill but prove me wrong).

The trick is that you want the track to energetically meet the D floor at the same level.

3. BE SPONTANEOUS!

It’s always a powerful asset for a DJ to be spontaneous. The majority of DJ’s prepare their set in advance which can be great piece of mind. Personally, when I prepare my set, I will add in extra songs to play in case one of my tracks that I thought might work, isn’t working. Then, I have the extra ones there to creatively mix in so that I can get the track that isn’t working, the hell out of there, even if it’s only 1 or 2 minutes into the track.

Remember, it’s not a personal thing when people don’t vibe with your selected track, sometimes it’s a timing thing but at the end of the day, you need to be masterful at reading the crowd.

4. ARE YOU BORED WITH THE TRACK?

You will come across this quite a bit when you are totally in the zone and immersing yourself in your craft. A track will be playing and people might be loving it, but as you are scrolling through your library for the next track you see something you just have to play RIGHT GODDAMN NOW.

You’re the sorceress, it’s your magic, so if that’s what you choose to do then change whenever you feel, but just make sure you remember point #2 in this list. As much as there are elements about being a DJ that is all about you, it’s also really important to remember about the magic you are creating for others.

5. SONGS YOU WILL BUY SPECIFICALLY FOR THIS PURPOSE

There are songs that I buy specifically to be fillers. What I mean by that is, I’m never going to use them to play the whole way through. Those tracks for me are ones with a great beat that you can play in the background of another track in order to enhance it more, plump up the jam so to speak. For me, I buy these songs just to be able to loop them in with another track for maybe only 32 bars and then BOOM, it’s out the door! It’s great to have these fillers in your library so look out for them and keep them in a folder all of their own. The ones with great bass lines for the party sets or the flowy instrumentals if you are more conscious dance inspired

As you get to know your library more intimately, you will know which songs will sound great together and you can start building crates just around that. The learning potential and creative expression is endless.

Keep up the great work Sista’s!

Peace Out

Lainsta

Don’t forget to record your set

“Don’t forget to record your set, Don’t forget to record your set, Don’t forget to record your set”

These are the words you will most often hear me mutter for the whole week leading up to a gig. Then for about an hour before my set, I’ll be looking for post it notes around the house to stick on my DJ controller, while still muttering the words…..

“Lainie FFS DON’T FORGET TO RECORD YOUR SET”.

Regardless of all this ‘mental note to self’ stuff, nine times out of ten I forget to record my set.

The truth is that there is always a level of nerves that follow me when I am about to play a set. When you are a DJ, there is so much that could potentially go wrong tech wise. You will generally have all these things on your mind before a gig:

Will the speakers work, do I have the right cords and leads, did I forget anything, did I bring my laptop, (in my case) did I bring my glasses so I can see the screen, will the internet be accessible (if you are only streaming – not advisable but people still do it), did I remember to bring a backup of my music.

I guess with all this stuff on a DJ’s mind, it’s no wonder that when you are about to start your set, the last thing you remember is to press record. You just want to jump into it and get your flow on and get people dancing asap.

Pro’s of hitting record:

  1. You have evidence that you can DJ and you can show it off for all to hear and enjoy.
  2. It is great to add to your Soundcloud page so you can send people who might potentially want to get you to do a paid gig somewhere.
  3. You can listen back and find ways you can improve your skills.

Con’s of not hitting record:

  1. The self-flagellation you give yourself for forgetting can be ruthless.
  2. When you nail your set, there is no evidence of this for you to go back and see what worked so you can replicate the magic.
  3. I can’t think of a third one because honestly, it’s not the end of the world, it’s just bloody frustrating.

When you record a digital set, the settings for where you will find it on your computer are different for each software. I’ve done a little video showing where you find the record button on a Rekordbox set up. You choose where the folder will be in the recordings tab of the controller tab in your settings.

Look at this short video by clicking on the link below which will explain more. The picture underneath shows a screen shot of the dashboard explained in the video.

https://tinyurl.com/yvbft7js

For Serato DJ Pro, here is a clip to explain how to record your set, keep in mind the free versions won’t allow recording. One of the many advantages of paying for the software.

Don’t fret Traktor people here is a relatively boring explanation but it’s easy to understand and that’s what we want!!

Whatever happens, whether you forget or remember to record your set, the main thing is that you show up and give it everything you have!

Peace Out Ladies

Lainsta

Choices by Rasela

When we first set out to create an online course for women to teach the necessary skills of DJing I had my reservations. I knew it would mean that I had to work harder than I probably wanted to, devote more time to a new project which could mean spending less time surfing (eeek), and that I would have to answer to a business partner who would be relying on me to complete certain tasks and maintain a level of commitment and consistency in our new venture. OMG but what if I don’t ‘feel’ like I want to work this hard it’s taking so long?! Have any of you felt the same when starting a new project?

If you have embarked on the journey to become a DJ then we are on the same page. Sure I have the skills you need if you want to be a vinyl DJ but as a brand new business owner I too am starting from scratch and learning how to turn a creative pursuit into an educational empowerment tool for Women. 

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of my business partner Lainie aka Electro Girl. If it weren’t for her there’s no way I would be able to get a business off the ground (or want to). I have many wild and crazy visions and ideas of what’s possible and Lainie is the one who knows how to make those dreams become realities through proper organisation, determination, dedication, hard work and relentless nagging (hahaa not really but I wouldn’t mess with this super hero would you?!)

Electro Girl

As a creative I have little desire to know the ins and outs of the business world, I hate 95% of all social media (with a passion) and have a huge resistance to being photographed or filmed. We recently paid for a marketing course that meant we ‘had’ to post to socials everyday (it’s called “showing up” because apparently you want to see our faces everyday of your lives). It made me want to walk away from the business and the entire online world we seemingly had to exist in, in order for us to ‘succeed”. Can you imagine sharing an online business with someone like me?! 

But there are reasons for it. In a fake world of manipulation and cunning schemes, ramming down our throats how we should look, sound, act, eat, vote, dress, fart, talk, dance, not dance, post to socials, sell our souls and basically live our lives, (ok ok you can fart however you like). I wanted to be part of something that better supported the more natural flow of life. One that promotes authenticity, uniqueness, reality, sustainability, our own mental and physical health and a whole lotta fun. We have a choice.

DJing is an opportunity to express yourself but don’t judge yourself in the process. Remember you’re just starting out and that’s the most exciting place to be because you still have it all ahead of you. I’ve already done it (and continue to do it) but there’s a part of me that wishes I could do it all again! Watching you all step up and take the opportunities that are presented to you, getting way out of your comfort zone, increasing your knowledge, learning new technical skills, playing at new gigs and watching you grow on your journey is as good as me doing it all again! 

So if like me you have days where you think even the idea of a new project is way too much (what were you thinking?!) you don’t know what you’re doing so put it on the back burner AGAIN and tell yourself you’re better off without it (who me?). Maybe you simply don’t have the energy to put into it today or tomorrow… that’s OK. We all feel like that from time to time.

Take a break, a day off, a week off, go out for a bike ride, find a waterfall, watch a movie, run into the hills and hide, seek out and surf the endless wave, turn your phone off and don’t join our Zoom calls for a month, hide your DJ gear under a blanket and pretend it’s not there, but please come back when your heart is full and you can focus again. We’ll be here waiting for you. And for those of you who haven’t taken that leap of faith to do the course yet … we’ll wait for you too!

Each day we have choices. Out of respect to the Women that came before us who didn’t, and to those who slaved and paved the way for us to live the life we are able to choose today, I step up and take my place. I hope you will too.

Thanks Lainie, for all your hard work and nagging ooops I mean belief in this project, for putting up with me and my relaxed anti-social approach to online marketing, and for being one of those strong women who wants to make a difference in the world and in the lives of others.

I salute you my Sista.

Drunk or sober? – by Lainie

To be (drunk) or not to be (drunk), that is the question!

When Hamlet posed this question, it was purely about the conundrum of whether he wanted to live or not to live and what would be a more preferable option. In the reference above, I of course, am referring to rocking up to a gig and living through your set hammered…. or dying in the ass coz you are a train wreck that got a bit too tipsy turvy either before, or during your set.

Alcohol serves a different purpose for everyone. Some can function quite easily with it in their system and some can’t. At the end of the day, alcohol is a depressant and it’s no secret because I’m sure we’ve all been there, that it affects your brain and can alter your reaction time. That might be fine when you out with your mates heckling hotties on the street, but as a DJ, this is not a good thing!

I have been to some gigs where you can clearly see the DJ is wasted but somehow, they are pulling off probably the best set of their career. On the other side of the fence, I have also seen DJ’s that are so wasted, they are swaying behind the decks, eyes closed, zoning out and just pulling it together while they load another average tune up and start zoning out and swaying again. As amusing as it is to see this on occasion, it’s also terribly tragic.

I get a tad nervous before a gig for these reasons.

  1. I am always hoping the changeover between myself and the previous DJ is seamless, and I don’t fuck it up and look like a dick.
  2. I am praying that I’ve come prepared with the right music and enough variety to keep the crowd smiling.
  3. I am always a bit nervous that I’ve forgotten my eyeglasses coz without them, I can’t see the screen and I’ll look like an old lady squinting close to the screen just to make out the name of a track. (really have to remember to get a pair made and keep it with my equipment)

To combat these and other small (ish) concerns that go through my head before I start, I admit, I do go in for the gin and tonics (maybe 1 or 2), but I cap it at that just to take the edge off.

Once I have started playing and I’m on a roll, I’ll say yes to people bringing me drinks but I’m generally too fixated on the set and what I’m doing and forget to drink them. I’ll have 5 different drinks on the table that people will bring me but won’t get to even drink them much coz I don’t want to take myself off my A game. I think my ego plays a little part in that. Ego is not a dirty word Skyhooks!

Basically, to sum up what I’m trying to say, drink if you need to take the edge off but save the partying for when your set is over and you can relax.

Water is really the key. Stay hydrated. Drink a lot but not that much that you need to go pee every 20 mins, because that’s just a whole other pain in the ass.

Peace Out Sista’s

Lainsta

Washing Records – by Rasela

Ever picked up a record that looks like it has a cloudy film over it, greasy finger prints on it, loaded with dust, small bumps that can be scratched off with your fingernail or worse still, scratched deeper into the groove?

Many old/improperly stored  records may contain one or all of the above and will make playing it sound muffled, distorted, incomprehensible, and even cause the needle to jump or skip across the record.

Mold, dust, dirt and ‘unidentified sticky bumps’ are but a wash away and if you follow the record washing guidelines below you can play them again with renewed love.

INGREDIENTS

  • Records
  • Soft cloth
  • Clean sink
  • Lukewarm water
  • Gentle liquid soap
  • Drying rack
  • Record cleaning outfit (your choice)


METHOD

  • Fill sink half full with lukewarm soapy water
  • Remove record from sleeve
  • Momentarily Immerse ONLY the playable portion of the record into the water taking care not to touch the label (it may wash off along with valuable info)
  • Wipe gently (but firmly enough to remove dirt) with soft soft cloth
  • Repeat until clean
  • Rinse thoroughly in lukewarm water again taking care not to touch the label
  • Sit in clean drying rack in a cool dark place until dry


TIPS

  • Do not let your records touch direct sunlight
  • Ensure all of the soap is rinsed off before drying
  • Do not scrub or scratch bumps off with your fingernail or anything sharper than a soft cloth
  • Do not dry with t-towel
  • Do no more than your drying rack can hold at a time
  • Place covers in order of records in drying rack so you don’t waste time afterwards trying to find their home
  • Smile 🙂

Getting in a Funk – by Lainie

Spring has sprung. New vibes, new energy, new endorphins that are fueling us. The winter has passed and even though some of you reading this might be in situations where your freedom feels like it’s been placed on pause, thankfully no matter what situation we are in, we always have music.

I think Parliament nailed the lyrics when they sang “Ow, we want the funk. Give up the funk, Ow, we need the funk, we gotta have that funk”.

How true it is. Where would our lives be without the funk! When I was thinking about what to write for this month’s newsletter, I was reflecting on how I have been feeling in relation to getting behind the decks and practicing my craft. I have a Pioneer DDJ-800 DJ Controller, a library full of music and some kick ass monitors and headphones. I have so much to learn and get better at technically which only practice will help, but sometimes I stand looking at my equipment and realising that I myself am IN a funk.

By being IN a funk, I mean being in a rut, uncreative, lacking enthusiasm, pre-menstrual, generally just uninspired and shitty about things beyond my control. From past experience, I know in my heart that pushing through this and even just standing behind my decks and loading a track in Channel 1 would be the best remedy for to get the ball rolling to get me inspired, but sometimes, you know, I just can’t be fucked!

Never underestimate the power of The FUNK ladies. This is where the magic can truly happen. It’s the exact time when we are most in need of something to put us back in the vortex of our creativity. The place where we shine and smile and frolic and play like the soft feminine beings that we are!

This month, if you are feeling like you are IN a funk, take stock, breathe, make some time and space for yourself, throw your favourite song into channel 1 on your chosen hardware and simply hit play! The rest will follow.

Our love is deep, and our bond is strong

We are women hear us ROAR!

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