Bitwig DJ – the perfect DJ & Live Performance software?
Being a DJ and Producer this concept is something I have thought about just recently and I thought I would share this idea with our readers. From a traditional DJ perspective, the one big problem I have with Ableton Live as a DJ tool was that you could not be spontaneous with your DJ sets. Just ask Deadmau5 who blogged about his ‘live’ performance sparking a huge online discussion and some outrage from other professional DJs and live performers stating that all he did was press play.
its no secret. when it comes to “live” performance of EDM… that’s about the most it seems you can do anyway. It’s not about performance art, its not about talent either (really its not) In fact, let me do you and the rest of the EDM world button pushers who fuckin hate me for telling you how it is, a favor and let you all know how it is.
Im just so sick of hearing the “NO!!! IM NOT JUST DOING THIS, I HAVE 6 TABLES UP THERE AND I DO THIS THIS AND THIS” like… honestly. who gives a fuck? i dont have any shame in admitting that for “unhooked” sets.. i just roll up with a laptop and a midi controller and “select” tracks n hit a spacebar. ableton syncs the shit up for me… so no beatmatching skill required. “beatmatching” isnt even a fucking skill as far as im concered anyway. so what, you can count to 4. cool. i had that skill down when i was 3, so dont give me that argument please.
Curated from united we fail, we all hit play.
This rang true to myself being a traditional turntable/CDJ DJ of over 20 years, that with Ableton Live you had to prepare and plan your set beforehand. You could not modify your set on the fly if a playing track was not working for you and didn’t agree with the audience. This is the biggest principle of being a DJ – being allowed to select the correct tracks at the right time by reading your audience.
This is where the definition of being a DJ and being a live performer becomes black and white. With a live performance you have a defined set which you have prepared beforehand that cannot change during your set simply because you will be performing your own material, playing keyboard or mixing stems live (just like Deadmau5, Underworld, Chemical Brothers or even The Prodigy). Imagine if these decided after 2 songs in that what they were playing wasn’t working and they had to play a different song on the fly that wasn’t planned originally. They couldn’t do it because of the way they have prepared and set up the live gig.
DJs on the other hand are paid to select the right music at the right time and have to be allowed to pick and play tracks on the fly. People say the line between performing and DJing is being blurred. It isn’t quite there yet because of software limitations and lack of human understanding. However, the Bitwig team (who enjoy developing new extremely clever features) could bring something special to the world of DJ’s – the black and white could become grey…
The only software close to offering this capability is Traktor Pro with its Remix Decks and future Stems format. Native Instruments haven’t perfected this just yet due to the limitations of the remix decks and lack of time stretching or warping to go alongside the beatgrids.
Since working in the music tech industry for over several years and being customer faced, I get a lot of feedback, opinions and comments from customers regarding DJing, DJ software and what they feel works for them as a tool. One of the most popular discussions was always about Ableton Live, and how it wasn’t really something you could ‘DJ’ properly with because of a few main points:
- Lack of DJ Browser, Library & Organisation
- No ‘On-the-fly’ Loading/Unloading of single tracks at a time
- No independent Transport of each clip or track
Bitwig DJ could potentially be the world’s first cross platform (inc Linux) Studio, DJ & Performer tool that would take DJing and Performance to the next level. Bitwig DJ would simply be an off cut of Bitwig Studio offering any DJ or performer the chance to use all the modular creative tools, effects and chained instruments to their advantage, something that no other DJ software can offer??
By simply offering 3 new features to Bitwig Studio would transform the ‘Studio’ into a ‘DJ version’..
- Independent transport
- infinite cue and loop points (as dummy clips)
- key detection
- waveform display
- cover art
- loads single clip unloading previous clip
- load default channel config that can be customised
- slip mode/jam mode
- Group of 4 tracks
- Load multi clip packaged files (Performance Packs/Stem Files?)
- Unload existing pack
- Similar to Remix Decks & Stem Files in Traktor
- Similar channel config as Deck Tracks
- Organisation with id3 tags etc.
- Load into selected deck/track unloading existing track
- Playlist & Folder creation
- Music Organisation
- iTunes Integration
- Track Previewing
There are a whole lot more features that could come from the power of Bitwig’s modular build as a DJ and performance tool, especially in version 2 when it would be released, imagine the power to create your own instruments, effect machines and more to use in your DJ set? Remember this is just an idea or a concept I have thought about recently. Your thoughts and any feedback would be appreciated below…