FUNDAMENTALS Battle - An ode to record shop battles
In the summer of 2001-2002, I would drive 30 minutes to Filmore Street in San Francisco every month to enter the Zebra Records DJ Battle. During that time, turntablism was at the height of its global popularity and the San Francisco Bay Area was a breeding ground for turntablists. There was an unspoken, but known golden rule about being being a battle DJ from the Bay Area..you need to be as good or better than your peers. Every month, you couldn't do the same thing because you were sometimes battling the same DJ as last month. Every set had to be changed or improved and the only place to prove this was at the monthly record shop battle. There were no cash prizes. No fees to perform. No sponsors. Just the record shop, two turntables, and a room of DJs there to battle you, but also support you. More and more popped up in different parts of the Bay Area (Sacramento, San Jose, Berkeley, etc) and all were considered training grounds for the bigger battles like DMC or ITF. As time passed, the energy behind the battles dwindled as generations of DJs got older, technologies like Serato changed the DJs need for vinyl, and big box stores swallowed up profits from small shops alternative revenue streams such as equipment and accessories. The small record shop battles died in the Bay Area and haven't returned since. That is until we held our first Scratch Cypher event in Oakland,Ca. This one-time event eventually became a 5 year run of scratch battles in various DJ and vinyl record shops all around the world. As Battle Ave, I've always modeled our battles based on the environment I was used to when I was an active competing DJ. This energy and hunger for finding more communities to show and prove in is the foundation of The "FUNDAMENTALS" battle..but this monthly competition has a twist..
Un-blurring the "/" of the "Producer / DJ" The fundamentals of DJing are selection, mixing, technical tricks (scratching / beat juggling), and crowd control. The fundamentals of production are arrangement, tracking, editing, mixing, and mastering. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. lol Trying to mold these two styles in one battle is a challenge. You're either a DJ or a Producer battle, right? In most cases, yes - to each their own, but Battle Ave is different and so is the current landscape of producers and DJs. They (producer and DJs) are almost the same these days. DJs are producing more of their own remixes while more and more producers are playing live sets for a crowd. In the spirit of Battle Ave, we want to really test this label of "Producer/DJ"and find new ways to share all of the great talent we come in contact with. Music is music and skills are skills, but the one factor that defined a Record Shop Champion in early 2002 was the ability to compose a perfect set...this is where "The Chapters" of our new battle series challenges you to re-think your half-assed instagram routines...(just playing yall. lol) The Chapters - Rotating Monthly Formats Changing the format never happened in record shop battles in the early 2000's, but it feels like a necessary element today to inspire new ideas and the most fundamental part of this battle..music. I recently helped coordinate the Phase DJ Games battle on Instagram and was able to test some of my earlier ideas in those rotating formats (6 songs in 60 seconds, toneplay transitions, etc). The reception was massive in the beginning so I'm more confident that a battle like FUNDAMENTALS can thrive. Each month, we will be selecting a basic fundamental of music production or djing to challenge everyone to try. Whether it's a quick mix, tempo transition, or an acapella challenge, we know today's producers and DJs have the creativity to develop a 60 second routine based off of the sets, music, and tricks they already possess. The foundation will always be the same: 60 second routines and a battle every month If you can flip the format, you can enter this battle. Doesn't matter if it's a scratch routine or fully produced track. The overall composition, like Champions in past record shop battles, takes precedent over technicalities. Help us and the community break the monotony. We are challenging you play outside the box and help us redefine the Producer/DJ. Follow the Fundamentals Battle on Instagram via @glowtronics or @battleave Enter the Fundamentals Battle by December 20th at 11:59PM Learn more by visiting: www.thebattleave.com/cut2cutworlds Follow the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/436815107336192