December 30, 2009

72 North, Pasadena

I will be spinning in the patio at 72 North once again, this Saturday, January 2nd!!

December 10, 2009

Imeem Is Gone

It's true. Go to www.imeem.com. Myspace Music has finished acquiring the company and is apparently in the process of migrating data.

Hopefully my mixes will be moved over...

Blackstreet - Don't Leave Me

I remember bumping this in my '83 Honda Prelude back in high school. Classic!

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all have a wonderful time with you friends and families. It is the season for appreciation so now is the time to let that someone know that you appreciate them.

Friends and family that have always supported me. I appreciate you. Thank you so much.


DJ Etiquette :: Be Courteous and Use Your Own Stuff

Part 3 of the DJ Etiquette Series.

========
Great! You're finally booked to a gig and you have a pretty good time slot. Now what? If you've read the other posts concerning this subject, you already have all your gear with you and you're at your gig early. Brownie points for you!

Now, your set is next and you need to switch out with the other DJ. Have your stuff ready! Computer booted up with Serato ready to go, headphones ready to plug in, and vinyl on hand to switch out. Once you're ready, kindly let the other DJ know. Don't be a jerk and tell him/her that time's up and you need to get on the tables already. The other DJ will always acknowledge that you're ready and probably ask to drop 2-3 more songs to finish up the set. Be cool and let the DJ do it. So what if it cuts into your time? You still get paid for your time. Personally, I tell the DJ to let me know when he's done. If he's rocking the crowd, why not keep it going? If I was DJing before you and you're being a jerk, I will totally kill the vibe and let you work harder to get it back up. Trust me on that.

Ok, so you're up. It gets pretty hectic in the DJ booth when two DJs switch out, so take your time, be careful with the cables, and don't hit the current turntable playing. Once your computer is all setup, the next thing you should do is replace the slip mat and needle of the open turntable and hand it to the DJ before you. Then do the same to the other table once you have transitioned.

The important thing to take from this post is not to be a jerk. Remember that the DJ game is all about networking and who you know. You'll quickly burn bridges, yes plural, after one jerk maneuver. Don't do it. Stay cool, have fun and be ready to rock it at all times.

November 5, 2009

All New Blend

Now that Halloween is over. It's back to the mountain we go!

From Flyers

October 28, 2009

LAX-Orcism

I'm finally going to be able to spin at LAX Hollywood! Come and support this Friday, October 30th! Let them know that you're with me, "DJ Surreal", at the door!

See you all then!!

From Flyers

October 19, 2009

To Make A Request Or Not To Make A Request

I feel that most DJ's at a club don't mind people coming up to them and making a song request. I personally don't mind it because it's a good way to meet people and possibly network. However, there is a thin line between a DJ accepting your request and the DJ telling you to "GTFOH". So, if one night, you feel the urge to request your favorite song, consider the following suggestions so you don't become "that" person the DJ talks about at the end of the night.

Know when to ask for a song
There's a good time and a bad time to request a song. Knowing when to ask for a song is key. A DJ's main concern is to keep the party going based on what type of music works for what crowd. If a DJ feels that electro is working for the crowd, don't ask for salsa music. If a DJ is rocking a dope hip hop set, don't ask for house. It's common sense; ask for songs that will add to his set and not disrupt the flow of the crowd. You're not the only person the DJ is trying to entertain.

Know what song to ask
When you go up to the DJ, always have the song title and artist name handy. That will easily get your song considered and possibly played. Here are some "no-no's" when requesting a song.
1. Please know what genre of music the DJ is playing. Don't ask for "Hip Hop" when he is playing Hip hop.
2. Do not go to the DJ and ask "what else do you have?".
3. Do not go to the DJ and ask "can you play the song where they go '1..2..3...'". Seriously, someone asked me this.
4. Do not go to the DJ and sing the song that has the words "1..2..3..". I may know it, but I won't care at that point. I have a mix to pay attention to.

Know how to ask
Don't be a jack ass and expect the DJ to pay attention to you right away when you come up. Frankly, transitioning to the next song is more important to a DJ than your company at that moment. Wait patiently and grab the DJ's attention now and then; eye contact is always good, unless of course the DJ has his back turned to you.

Once you have the DJ's attention, politely ask for the song and do not keep coming back if the DJ hasn't played it yet. Once or twice, fine, but any more than that, it's just annoying.

Conclusion
These are just some personal pointers based on how people have come up to me in the past. It may or may not work. Bottom line is, use common sense and be polite and don't let it ruin your night if your song doesn't get played. You're not at the event for one song. Good luck!

October 5, 2009

DJ Revolution ft KRS-One :: THE DJ

Can't believe I slept on this track. This is real talk from KRS-One.

August 16, 2009

Blend :: August 22, 2009

It's my birthday! Come out, have a good time, listen to good music.

From Flyers

July 12, 2009

Keri Hilson - Knocks You Down

Featuring Ne-Yo and Kanye West. It's late, but lately, I haven't been able to stop listening to this song.

June 25, 2009

A Sad Day, A Legend Falls

Today is one of those days where, in the future, people are going to ask you "where were you that day?". Today, Michael Jackson, the legendary king of pop, leaves us after a cardiac arrest. I heard about the news after a co-worker shared a link to the developing story and couldn't believe it until finally the LA Times confirmed it. Normally, a celebrity passing doesn't affect me much, but MJ was different. Upon finally realizing that the news was true, memories of how MJ was part of my life began running through my head.

The earlieast memory I have of MJ were a pair of LA Gear shoes that my dad bought me as a present. They were black high tops, studded with gold pieces with two sets of shoe laces; black and gold. I remember dancing with those shoes while singing "We Are The World". From there, I would grow to love his music and finally buy his album "Dangerous" as one of my very first casette tapes (which I still have). Unfortunately, that's the only album I own but I have his singles on vinyl and compilation vinyls. As a DJ, Michael Jackson's music never failed to get a reaction from the crowd. Dropping "Billy Jean" at the height of the night was my favorite thing to do.

I'm looking forward to his last, unreleased album, "7even". I don't know why MJ never released it but hopefully, I'll get a chance to own another piece of his work.

Rest in peace, Michael Jackson. I will continue to play your music as long as I am a DJ.



thanks @trvsbrkr

June 13, 2009

Puma, Home Depot Center

Last week (Sunday, 6/7/09), I got the opportunity to spin for Puma at the Home Depot Center before the LA Sol soccer game. I was situated inside their big tent in front of the stadium.

I got there pretty early to make sure I was ready and setup by the agreed time. Here's my stuff while waiting for the big tent to be setup:



The people that were contracted to setup the big tent were running really late, so I helped setup the smaller tent:



By the time the people got there for the tent, I only had 15 minutes to setup; it was the fastest I ever setup my stuff. Here's my table when I finally got it all setup and ready to go:



Here's a view from the outside when everything was all setup:



The music criteria was "clean versions of top 40" so it was fairly easy to pick which songs to play. The hardest part was making sure the songs I had were clean versions. I should go through my library again and label them accordingly.

The tent had a spray paint tattoo artists who spray painted the hairs of kids with LA Sol colors and gave them stenciled "tattoos". They had a long line of kids waiting them. There was a also a place for kids to sign on a big white cardboard which was later given to the LA Sol team. Here's my view:



It was a great experience and I met some really nice people from Puma. Hopefully I get to work with them again.

June 9, 2009

Jay Z - Death Of Autotune



"I know we facing a recession but the music ya'll makin' gonna make it the great depression"

"Your jeans too tight, colors too bright, your voice too light"

"You rappers singing too much. Get back to rappin ya'll are TPain'in too much"

June 3, 2009

A Night At The Mountain Bar

Thanks to everyone who came out to Mountain Bar last Saturday. You guys made it an awesome night! We might be going back there again so stay tuned!



Check out the rest of the photos from that night here

Big big thank you to my cousin Gaston and his buddy DJ Ken and Jelyn of Throne Boutique!

May 24, 2009

Karen and Dar Wedding

Last week, I DJ'd Karen and Dar's wedding. It was held in Friendly Hills Country Club in Whittier. It was a lot of fun but I need to remember to bring an assistant next time!

I had 2 setups to do. One in the outdoor patio for the ceremony and the other in the reception area. The ceremony area was an easy setup except the speakers were so far away from where my amplifier was situated in the back corner of the patio. Fortunately, I went to the venue the day before and saw how I would potentially need long cables and borrowed my dad's 100ft speaker cables which worked perfect.

The reception setup was difficult because the room was not square, but a rectangle. Imagine a rectangular room with the dance floor in the middle and tables on two sides. The tables were appropriately named by country. Once the ceremony was finished outside, I had to lug my speakers, cables, amplifier and mixer into the reception area and setup 4 speakers in the room. Four speakers were necessary otherwise the people on either end of the rectangular room wouldn't have been able to hear the speeches or even the music.

At the end of the night, I was so tired from the heat during the day and setting up two areas, I had to sit down and take a second to just relax a bit. It took me an hour to breakdown and load everything cause I decided to take my time. I was just happy that all my equipment worked on the first try. It was a good night.

Congratulations Karen and Dar. I wish you a fruitful and successful marriage!

May 15, 2009

Microsoft Tech Ed 2009

A full week of geekness at the conference finally winded down today. This was my first TechEd and I thought it was great. Apparently this was much smaller than the past TechEd's and also not as good but for me, the sessions I went to were great. One highlight for me was meeting Kevin Lam, founder and CEO of Impacta Labs, after his talk about application security. Great talk, awesome examples, really nice guy.

Microsoft kept us well fed. Not only was there breakfast and lunch, there were snacks in the afternoon as well. It differed daily from chocolates to chips to popcorn and cracker jacks. There were warm cookies and fruits too!




So what's snack time without something to drink? The conference had easily accessible water stands, starbucks coffee, soda refrigerators all over the place. The soda refrigerators were fully stocked with Coke products as well as fruit juices. I had my fair share of orange juice and coffee.



What's a geek conference without wireless? Wireless hotspots were situated all over the place as well as computer stations.



Other cool things at the conference were Microsoft Surface machines situated at the break areas. These things reminded me of the old school pacman machines! Remember those? Responsiveness to your touch was a little slow but the multi touch capability was awesome. This tile game grabbed a lot of attention. Basically, you line up 3 tiles of the same color together and fires that color bomb to the other users "pie". It's basically an undending game and allowed 6 players.




Then again, it is still a Windows machine so.... 



That's the blue screen of death, by the way.

All in all, I thought the conference was good, I enjoyed most of the sessions I took and I learned plenty of new Microsoft technologies. Once I find my camera, I'll post the stuff I got from partner expo.

May 4, 2009

April 30, 2009

IKEA car

I thought this was hilarious. Assembly required of course...

Sound Science Get Together

Check out pics and videos posted on www.soundsciencedjs.com.

April 19, 2009

Puma, Santa Monica Promenade

Thanks to DJ B-Stang, I spun at the Puma store in Santa Monica Promenade for the third time today in three weeks. For the past three Sundays, I have been at the store 1pm - 5pm spinning everything from top 40s to old school to whatever the staff like.

I actually spun a 30 minute reggae set using only vinyl. I forgot how much fun it was to spin with vinyl. How the slightest bump causes the needles to skip, frantically finding the cue point, and how gentle you had to be when scratching. My hands were a little heavy at first so the needles kept skipping when I tried to scratch a cue in, but got the hang of it again afterward. I think I'm going to start planning at least a 30 minute set of just vinyl everytime I go.

Below is a pic of my setup. The table and turntables are in store, but I bring in my own mixer and the essentials:


Come by if you're in the area and say HI! Next week, I'll be there from 3pm -7pm, Sunday. Shout outs to the cool staff at Puma and to DJ Goose for letting me borrow his cool monitor there :).

April 9, 2009

DJ Etiquette :: Show Up To Gigs Early

Club Scene
Seriously, "fashionably late" is not the cool thing to do when you have a set at a club. It's not cool to the promoters who have to go out of their way to get you in through the ropes and it's not cool to DJs like me who are waiting for you to show up so I can take a break.

I always show up to the club early. 10pm early, when doors open no matter what time my set is scheduled. Why? Because I want to listen to what the other DJs play for my pleasure and to get ready for my set. It's irritating to have a DJ come after you and the second song he plays is the same song you played 2 songs before he got there. Not only is that embarassing to the promoter, but it is a crowd killer. Ever been to a club where they played the same song 3, 4 times that night? Irritating isn't it?

Another reason to show up early is common courtesy. I remember spinning at Jimmy's Lounge, scheduled 9pm - 11pm and the next DJ showed up an hour late. An extra hour to spin is not a problem, the issue arises when I have to alter my plans after my set because you did not have the courtesy of showing up for your set early or on time.

So, show up early, meet and network with other DJs, and get a feel for what the crowd is like. Promoters will like you and DJs like me will respect you.

Mobile Gigs
Not much to talk about here but show up early to setup your gear. Something always goes wrong. Budget some time for troubleshooting.

March 29, 2009

DJ Etiquette :: Bring Your Own Gear

This "Etiquette" series will be my effort to outline some key points that I've learned throughout the 10 years I have been DJing and hopefully bring back the diminishing etiquette every DJ should know. Furthermore, I hope this will show new DJs that there is more to being a DJ than just playing music.

For this post, "Bring Your Own Gear".

Here's a list of things I always bring to any gig. Whether I'm helping out on a mobile gig or playing a club gig, these are the most basic things I bring. These are not ordered in a specific way.
  • Headphones
    I've had my fair share of forgetting my headphones at home. But I have seen DJs try to mix without them; not a good idea. Those waveforms on Serato will not help you mix tracks, let alone, mix them better. Also, you really do not want to end up borrowing sweaty headphones or keep the other DJ at the gig if he/she needs to leave.

  • Needles
    I bring 3 sets (6 needles) to any gig. Just in case. Don't expect other DJ's to let you use their needles.

  • Slipmats
    I bring 2 sets. Butter Rugs and regular mats. Some venues do not have mats readily available on installed turntables and don't expect to use the other DJ's slipmats.

  • Control Vinyls
    Bring your own! It came when you bought Serato, now use them.

  • Vinyl
    Yes, old school vinyl! I lose a little respect for a DJ that does not bring at least one vinyl to switch out. Bring your own!

  • Serato Box Power Supply
    You'd be surprised how many times this gets looked over, even in an installed club setup. I always bring mine, just in case.

March 22, 2009

Another Type Of Gig

My dad has always wanted to have a band. So over time, he collected all the equipments and instruments needed for one and have his friends come over on Friday nights to play and "jam". All the equipment are stored and set up in my dad's living room and that's where they practice. It's like a studio right when you walk through their front door. They call themselves "Oldies But Goodies, Young Naman" or OBGYN. haha. The word "Naman" is a Tagalog word. I don't know the formal definition for it, but it's implying that they're still "young". hehe.

Here they are on stage. My dad is in the back playing the guitar. They even have matching outfits!


My dad wants me to play rhythm guitar for his band, but since I can't be at their practices all the time, I play a background role. I am the, as he calls it, "audio technician". I balance the volumes of each mic and guitars. Below is my station.




It's definitely something different from DJing and it's a lot more equipment to setup / breakdown in one night.

March 19, 2009

Go Go Dell

24 hours later, I have a new hard drive on my desk directly from Dell.

I was expecting my drive to finally get to me by mid next week but to my surprise, FedEx walks in and hands me an overnight package containing my replacement drive. Gotta love that.

March 18, 2009

And The Drama Continues

Just when I thought that I was finally done with hard drive issues, life throws me another curve ball: My new 500 GB Seagate Freeagent Go HD is dead. Yes, the same one that just arrived from Dell this past weekend. Yes, the same hard drive I unpacked 5 days ago.

The drive has been working perfectly since I finally started using it. Today, I thought I'd bring it to work so I can move some files from my computer there. I get to work, I plug it in, it makes a weird click sound but it comes on just fine. Before I could access the drive, I get a call from a co-worker who needs help with a WD Passport. I try to "safely unplug my drive" through Vista, but it said it was being used. I unplug the drive anyway since I need the slot for the Passport. Passport works fine, did my work on it and replug my drive into the same slot. This time, all I hear are nasty clicks and no light on top of the drive. I try it on an XP box and the same thing. I do a little research and come across this website that gives examples of dying hard drive sounds and found that the Seagate "drive with bad heads slowly clicks and beeps on spin up" sound is exactly what I'm hearing.... it's a dead HD. I still have all the music so the files aren't an issue this time.

Fortunately, I call Dell and they're going to send me a new replacement, free of charge. No hassle, no other questions, just have to send this dead one back when the new one arrives. Hopefully I get the new one by Thursday next week so I can move files into it and use the drive in time for Aoba that Friday.

March 15, 2009

New Hard Drive

I finally received my Seagate Freeagent Go over the weekend and spent a good part of Saturday moving all my salvaged files into it.

At first I used my practice laptop (Win XP) to transfer files between my WD MyBook HD. But, as soon as I plugged in the MyBook, the Seagate would disconnect itself. If I plugged in the MyBook first, the computer wouldn't recognize the Seagate drive; really weird. I was starting to think that I got a bad drive but then I tried it on my regular laptop (Vista) and both worked just fine. I don't know what it was with my XP laptop. Maybe it's just too old.

It looks really nice. I got the Titanium Silver and it matches well with my gear. The mesh of lights illuminates when it is plugged in and fades in and fades out when data is being accessed. It's calming to see that compared to the hectic flicker of some hard drives.

It's really light too. Compared to my MyBook, this thing is light as a feather. Plus, I don't need to bring an extra power supply for it! It's also small enough that's it should be easier to bring around. You can see in the second picture just how small it is. 



March 10, 2009

Hard Drive Issue - Update #3

The Unstoppable Copier worked wonders! I wasn't able to save all my files, only about 90% of it, but at least I have the bulk of it. Furthermore, I was fortunate enough that the folder with songs that I usually play weren't corrupted and the files that were are songs that I would never play anyway. Whew!

Now time to roof test this dumb hard drive. I'm keeping the peripherals though so I can use it for another hard drive in the future. Instant external HD! haha.

Now I can't wait until my Seagate Freeagent drive gets to me.

March 9, 2009

Hard Drive Issue - Update #2

Right when I'm about to give up. I come across a blog post that has a link for a life saving program that I can use to copy my files with.

http://roadkil.net/

This website has a bunch of freeware tools that can prevent heart attacks caused by a dying hard drive. I'm using the Unstoppable Copier and it's working great! It copies files so fast and tries to recover corrupted files, which you can skip. It copied 14 Gigs of data in under 10 minutes (I didn't time it, but it was fast).

Here's the official application description:

Recovers files from disks with physical damage. Allows you to copy files from disks with problems such as bad sectors, scratches or that just give errors when reading data. The program will attempt to recover every readable piece of a file and put the pieces together. Using this method most types of files can be made useable even if some parts were not recoverable in the end.

Now, I need to come up with a backup strategy so I don't have to go through this again.

Hard Drive Issue - Update #1

After multiple tries to backup my files, it just didn't work. I couldn't even move 2 files. So, in an effort to get my files out and after reading plenty of blogs about people with dying Western Digital MyBook drives, I decided to take the case apart and take out my hard drive:



At this moment, it is hooked on to my tower and going through disk check to look for bad sectors and corrupted files. It's been an hour and it's still going. I guess that's normal since it's 160 Gigs of space to go through.



It seems to be running okay, but we'll see when it is done scanning.

March 8, 2009

Hard Drive Issues

A failing hard drive is the worst thing a scratch live DJ can come across. I use a 160 Gig Western Digital MyBook to store all my music but lately, I've been hearing some weird clicks coming from it when I use it.

Worried, I thought I would do a differential backup since I successfully backed up the drive months before. First try, I wanted to do a differential backup so I just backup the new and modified files. I come back to it 20 minutes later and the backup window is blank, and the hard drive light is blinking but definitely not processing anything. So I let it go 5 more minutes and I got impatient so I turn off the drive and the backup window comes up saying "succeeded with files skipped." WTF? So I decided to try it again, with normal backup strategy this time. Again, it fails.

At this point, I'm scared and frustrated. I think, "maybe it's my computer". So I decide to try and use my XP laptop... still fails. Now, I'm really worried. I saw a deal on slickdeals for a 500 Gig Seagate Freeagent Go for only $83 so I decided to buy one just in case the WD drive dies. I hope I get it backed up before it does. I also need to find a better backup strategy. I don't think Windows XP Backup is cutting it. How do you guys backup your stuff?

March 5, 2009

DJ Toastee

First there was DJ Sir Real and MC Get-Down, then there was DJ SuReal and DJ B-Rocc, then finally there is DJ Surreal and DJ Toastee. He looks like DJ Five doesn't he??? haha.

This guy has been with me since the beginning. I spent countless hours on Brian's setup, learning how to work the turntables and practice beat matching. I think he picked it up before I did, he had more time on the tables than me after all. hehe.

I was a poor college student, struggling to gather funds to back my rent, gas, fraternity dues, and an expensive DJing hobby. I had no gear for the longest time, not even my own headphones. Furthermore, I barely had enough money to buy records; $5.99 per popular singles (and you had to buy two copies) and $12.99 for compilations (that only had 2/6 songs you would play) definitely hurt the wallet. Brian was unselfish enough to let me use all of his gear and music so I could get up there and perform. He never pushed me to buy my own stuff, instead he would say "just use mine!". I really appreciated that. A couple of years later, I finally bought my headphones and felt so "official". haha.

Brian and I joined Proof Positive at the same time, all in due thanks to Ryan aka DJ Climaxxx. DJing with Brian was always fun. I remember he and I would put Jack and Coke in a coke bottle, stuff them into record bags and sneak them into the club. Free drinks all night! haha. We had our first gig at Q's in Pasadena; I miss that place.

Too many good times with this guy. I wish he would come back to DJing. Brian! Come back!

March 3, 2009

DJ YZ

The corporate DJ..

Jos was my mentor when I first started djing. He taught me the industry, what it takes to be a mobile DJ, and gave me my first club gig in the Jungle Room at the Century Club in Century City. I loved that place. Here's an old page with some reviews of the club: Century Club

I had the jungle room to myself so I felt a lot of pressure to perform and not let Jos down. Worst of all, I didn't have a hefty vinyl collection yet so I had to borrow a crate from my boy DJ Toastee. If you're a DJ, you know how difficult it is to look for songs from someone else's crate. Furthermore, I didn't have enough records to last me the entire night so I had to replay some songs to keep it going. It was towards the end of the night, so it was okay.

Jos went on to bring me to his mobile and wedding gigs and eventually coined me as one of the resident DJs for the promotion group he helped start, Movement Events. Those were some good times and a great learning experience. Thanks Jos!

March 2, 2009

DJ E-Man



Another one of my favorite DJ's, DJ E-Man. I listened to this guy every morning doing his Mickey Fickey Mix on Power 106. Even today, I tune in to Power at 6:40 am, on my way to work, so that I can catch his short mix. I wish they let him mix longer in the morning. I would rather listen to E-man mix it up than listen to another Big Boy's phone tap segment.

In my opinion, E-man is one of the most, if not THE, cleanest mixer on air in LA. I don't understand how he does it so early in the morning. Recorded session? Maybe. Nonetheless, his transitions are next to flawless. When I first started dj'ing, I'd model my style after this man and try to analyze his transitions to make it work with my mixing. I would even record some his mixes in the morning and try to copy them for practice. I wish I still had those old tapes.

March 1, 2009

DJ Hideo

DJ Hideo was one of the DJ's that introduced me to Hip Hop back in 7th grade. Between 92.3 The Beat and Power 106, I would listen to Hideo mix on air and think to myself, "I want to do that".

When I finally got the privelege to be part of Proof Positive and Forte Social, I was introduced to and had the opportunity to work with some of LA's best DJ's. At one big event at the Mayan in LA, I was star struck when I was lined up with Hideo and finally met him. I didn't know what to expect but he was awesome when I introduced myself to him. I wanted to ask for an autograph, cheesy I know, but he made it seem like we've known each other for a long time so I didn't feel it was necessary. I met him again a couple of more times during other big PP event and he was always the same along with his brother Tony Jr.

When I heard about his condition, I couldn't help but feel affected by it. You can read more about it on his blog, www.djhideo.com.

Stay strong Hideo. Fight on!