According to the Urban Dictionary:
Wheels Of Steel – n. turntables, often specifically (but not necessarily) Technics SL1200 series turntables, noted for their steel platters.
Max had invited me downtown to check out his place and for a belated Father’s Day surprise so Joey and I headed downtown after work and found his place near Regent Street. It’s an old house and exactly what you would expect for a house 4 dudes share. Then after a brief tour of his room, also typical in such a house… we set off on foot to his surprise location. I was still dressed from work and it was a long walk but well worth it. We ended up at MC Audio.
Hidden just behind this doorway was awesomeness.
The store sells DJ equipment, turntables and mixers and lights and everything a budding DJ would need. So many buttons…
The real treat for me though was what was behind the unimposing doorway glass. Max has been coming here for a few weeks and getting free scratching lessons. Right inside the door they have a DJ/Scratch rig set up for you to practice and learn on Wednesday nights. When we got there a guy named Cullen was scratching and it was cool. I was smiling from ear to ear. Cullen stepped out and Max stepped up and made some sounds. It was a bit surreal. I had no idea Max was interested in this. I so did not see this one coming.
Cullen had his phone with beat loops hooked into the rig and Max scratched on the left vinyl table along with it. I have never really seen this up close. In some DJ Shadow videos and at the DJ Shadow show from far away, and I had a sense for what they did, but never had I been this close. It was awesome. Max even got me to step up and do some, in my nerd work clothes.
My fader hand is blurry and my smile is big. I actually made some good noises although I forgot to move the record when I concentrated on the fader switch. So I learned some new respect for the scratchers, on top of what I already had. I liked watching Max do it actually so I got him back on.
He was digging it and had learned a few techniques. Cullen was very helpful and demonstrated some and helped Max and encouraged him. The whole event was a blast, seeing Max doing it and trying it a bit myself. I guess my days of listening DJ Shadow rubbed off on the poor kid.
A bit later a guy named Eugene (not sure if I remember that right, sorry!) came in. He did some crazy stuff and it was fascinating to watch, the coordination between record hand and fader hand is like a little dance. He was a blur and a mix of lot of techniques.
I went through a VERY heavy musical turntablism phase, starting with of course DJ Shadow, and moving into DJ Q-Bert, Scratch Perverts and then X-ecutioners with a little DJ Rectangle thrown in (that’s how I knew to pick up his vinyl). I watched tons of videos on how they did their thing. Fascinating the sounds they can make. It is something to hear of course, but to see it being done is even better, hands flailing and records being swapped and cued.
Max, watch this one (instructional):
or this one (performance):
DJ Shadow is like the perfect mix of technique and music that you can listen to long-term. After a few months of this stuff all the time I got a little twitchy. I LOVE this, but keep it in moderation.
This from a guy who made a CD of MP3’s of converted YouTube videos of street drummers. Yeah I have my offshoots at times. It’s all good.
Good luck on this DJ MXT. I have a DJ Rectangle battle record for you to play with at MC Audio whenever you want it. Thanks for the fun night!