Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 308: DJ Skills by Stephen Webber - Review

Last week we reviewed Web Marketing for the Music Business, this time it's the turn of "DJ Skills" by Stephen Webber.

The Author has over 25 years experience as both a DJ, and a record producer. Stephen also a professor of music production and turntable technique at Berklee College of Music. So you can be assured of his knowledge with credentials like that!

The book claims to be 'The Essential Guide to Mixing and Scratching' where you will learn;

  • DJ Skills and techniques
  • to Understand the tools and push the limits of technology
  • Discover the history of DJing from the masters
The last of those bullets comprises the first section of the book. While reading it, I must admit, that initially I was itching to get into the good stuff, the idea of reading interviews and gambits from various DJs seemed frustrating.

This was until I read it of course. With extremely interesting comments made by some DJ/Music legends like BT, Paul Oakenfold, Jazzy Jeff, Jam Master Jay and many more you soon find yourself getting very much into the mindset of the DJ. This of course works great for the following chapters of the book.

All the basics are covered comprehensively, though it might be fair to say that this text has a slight Hip-Hop/Turntablist leaning, more so than club DJing. This was actually great for me, as I sit more so on the Club DJ side, so a lot of the info was informative even having learned my skills on the beatmixing side of things.

So much so, was the interest garnered from reading interviews with old skool Hip-Hop DJs and scratching technique, that when I finished the book I promised myself that I would go out and buy myself a turntable (I'm all digital) as soon as I could, and make sure that I go back and learn these pretty fundamental, yet difficult skills.

The book focuses a lot on the question of is the turntable and instrument or not. A question that is intentionally left open to interpretation. The latter half of the book is where all the practical examples are, and it comes with a free CD too, complete with examples and scratch samples.

Over all a definite read for any DJ. If you are a club DJ then it's worth reading to make you consider broadening you skills, and if you are already set on being a turntablist, then this contains all the information you need to get started.

As with last time, Bang the DJ were lucky enough to score an interview with Stephen Webber himself, which we will publish tomorrow. In the meantime, head over to Amazon and pick yourself up a copy of the book.

Publisher: Focal Press





  1. So if you are all digital and plan to stay so, is the book useful for a n00b like me? I might for example dabble a bit with "scratching" using a jog wheel and things like that.

  2. I'd say so yes. I too am all digital, and I definitely benefitted from reading the book.

    It's easy as a digital DJ to get distracted by fancy features and flashing lights :) Reading this reminds you of some of the core fundamentals, and makes you realise that you can integrate these into your modern style, and kinda bring something new to the table again.

    Digital DJing and Building grooves etc is also covered, so still something for everyone.

    EZ Bang.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.