Category Archives: DJ’ing

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Tucker & Bloom North to South Bag Review

  
Traveling can be a pain. When you’ve got to lug a set’s worth of vinyl and a laptop and drives, it doesn’t get any easier. For a while now, I’ve been able to survive carrying all that with the UDG creator bag. In the past couple years I’ve booked more gigs that require me to get on a plane and traveling with such a large backpack has grown to be a hassle. Although it fits the airline’s sizes for carry-ons, I still had trouble getting through crowds at the airport plus a few zippers had worn out. I started looking for a new bag a little over a two years ago and came across the Tucker & Bloom North to South Bag. I decided to give it a shot.

Tucker & Bloom is a bag company that has operated out of Nashville for the past thirty years under the watch of father and son team, David and Case Bloom. The latter is also a working DJ. For the record, I’ve never been given anything from Tucker & Bloom and outside of a few FB messages with Case, I couldn’t say I know him very well. I say all this just to insure that this review is unbiased.

First of all, the North to South bears little in common with a lot of other DJ bags that seem to be going for a look that Marty McFly Jr. would love; Lots of mesh, 3M reflective bits, and neon yellow. It seems to be modeled after classic English bespoke game bags more so than contemporary messengers. Simple black ballistic nylon shell, leather trim, sturdy metal buckles. It’s something you wouldn’t be embarrassed to have on your shoulder if you ever find yourself in a job interview or a fox hunt at an English estate, which is great since we know that either of those things are equally likely to happen for a plenty of DJs.

This eye towards classic fashion runs across most of Tucker and Bloom’s bags. Everything has a clean, understated design. Any eyes it catches are earned honestly from good craftsmanship, not obnoxious colors or gimmicks. Their bags are a pair of Allen Edmonds in a sea of Ed Hardy sneakers.

I had my eye on it for a while, then a couple yeara ago I copped it while it was on sale for a day at the Tucker & Bloom site. A couple weeks later (each bag is made to order), I received it, and the next day I got on a plane for a nine day trip to California. First stop was San Francisco, which turned out to be the perfect testing ground. Every day I was there, I spent a good twelve hours on the MUNI or walking around town so I needed to carry everything I might possibly need while away from the hostel. In SF that included:

  • Kindle
  • iPhone
  • Jacket or sweater
  • Water bottle
  • Sunblock
  • Leftover mission burrito
  • Muni passes, SF maps

It held up well and never felt felt any discomfort even when it was weighed down by the aforementioned burrito. The leather and shearling shoulder strap broke in quickly to the shape of my shoulder, within a couple of days at most.

It’s become my go to bag for when I’m biking around town. Toss my u-lock in, my handytrax and I’m out for a quick record dig. The included bike cross-strap keeps the bag out of your way and it can be stowed against the side of the bag or removed when your off your bike.

I’ve had to put leftovers in it after biking around a couple times and as you might expect, there have been accidents. Turning it inside out and wiping down with a wet cloth was all it took to clean out all remnants of whatever juice comes out of a container of Mongolian beef. I’d still not recommend carrying food in your bag, I’m just letting you know it’s possible.
There’s one large compartment that is not padded for your laptop, records or larger items. This may be a concern for some but I keep my laptop in a separated padded sleeve regardless so it hasn’t been an issue for me. This is a bag small enough to be kept close to you at all times so I feel padding would be a little overkill anyway. For a larger bag that might get stowed away or handled by others, I can see the need for padding but not in this case.
Within the main compartment there is  also a smaller, mesh zippered pocket. Good for pens, a phone, 45 adapters, small tools for fixing your electronics, business cards, etc. 
If you’re someone that needs a thousand dedicated pockets for every single tool, this isn’t the perfect bag for you. You get about three pockets that are a pretty tight fit to hold your smaller items and a metal snap on the inside. I’m always afraid of something falling out or getting out of place if my bag tips or turns over but so far, that fear is unfounded. It gets tossed around a lot but things stay in place.
There is an unintended advantage to having the pockets be such a tight fit. Not having the dedicated pockets does require you to take a couple extra minutes and think about where you want things to go but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Being forced to think about your loadout really helps to pare down your gear by eliminating the things you never use. Once you find a packing strategy you’re happy with, you have little to worry about.
Everything is always in easy reach. This is huge when I’m traveling through the airport. It can just hang on my shoulder when I have to quickly unload getting through security. There’s also several places to put your documents that you can get to without ever opening the bag.

The Cosmo Baker edition, which is the one I went with, features two added inches of depth and about a half inch length. It also has a leather badge with Cosmo’s logo and a wolf. If you have qualms about another DJ’s name on your bag, I personally think it’s worth it for a little more room, especially if you’re the type that prefers at least a few extra 12″ records outside of your control vinyl and laptop. Also, a fuckin’ wolf bro. Honestly, you’d have to be quite the narcissist for a stamp sized logo to be enough to bruise your ego. I’ve found the leather badge to be very useful with the addition of a carabiner. Day to day, I attach my keys to it and for events, I attach my headphone case.

For a typical DJ gig, this is what I pack:

  • Serato CV (main compartment)
  • Laptop (main compartment)
  • Charger (front panel)
  • Shure needle case (front panel)
  • Two hard drives (front panel)
  • Deoxit pen (zippered mesh pocket in main compartment)
  • Headphones (In a separate case that is usually attached to the leather logo badge with a carabiner)
  • Anti-static brush (Front panel pocket)
  • Vinyl solution and brush (front panel)
  • Dicers (front panel) 
  • Phone, phone charger (Side pockets)
  • Stanton Überstand (back panel) 

    Packed for a gig

      

Since I’ve purchased it a couple years ago, I’ve used it for numerous gigs, both local and around the country plus nearly every time I leave the house. Other than some natural fading on the leather, it looks as good as the day I bought it. It’s held up perfectly and better than any other DJ bag I’ve had.  I don’t plan on getting another DJ bag anytime soon and if I do, it will probably be another Tucker and Bloom.

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New Mix for the Summer

Just in time for your weekend BBQs! 
New mix for the summer, not a lot of planning for this one. Had a vague idea a couple weeks ago, went on vacation, came back and recorded it in the last couple days. Working on some other mix projects and a lot of these are songs that weren’t quite working in those combined with stuff I’ve been playing recently at my club/bar gigs. As usual with most of my mixes, heavy on groove so expect some funk, disco, house, Afrobeat and things  in between.

Enjoy and share to spread the groove if you dig it!

Summer 2015 – AlphaTrion

 

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A B-boy Promoter’s Guide to Dealing with the DJ

I’ve spent a majority of my DJ career spinning b-boy and dance events and in that time, I’ve unfortunately seen and heard about a lot of shadiness and unprofessionalism. This is a real problem and I hear complaints from another DJs on a regular basis. If you’re a promoter, this article is basically so you get an idea of where a DJ is coming from, what they need from you, and what you should and shouldn’t expect from them. I’m hoping to establish some best practices to prevent problems in the future for DJs or promoters.

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Crate Digging – Don’t Do It

This is a bit old but I hadn’t seen it in a while and thought I’d share it again.

Dutch illustrator Stefan Glerum did a series entitled “Crate Digging – Don’t Do It” in 2008 that illustrates the dangers we crate diggers encounter. It sums up our plight pretty well. I’ve put the full series after the jump but be sure to check Stefan’s website. He’s got a ton of great art up and some prints for sale, I didn’t see any from this series for sale but if you’re interested, you could try contacting him.

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Why You’re Not Getting Booked (Link inside)

If you haven’t checked it out yet, DJ Tech Tools posts a lot of great articles. Recently, Nick Minieri of the Beantown Boogie Down blog posted this article: Bedroom DJ Woes: Why You’re Not Getting Booked (and What to do About It)

It does an excellent job of covering a major complaint of every DJ at some point in their career which is not getting work. There’s some great advice in there that applies just as much to breaks DJs as club DJs.

The Present and Future of “All Styles” Battles

I’ve seen a lot of discussion on Facebook, forums, at jams, at house parties after the jam, and in car rides that revolve around “All Styles” battles (I’ll explain why I’m using quotes later). There’s a lot of controversy as to what they are, what they should be and how (or even if) they should be integrated in to the b-boy community. These discussions always seem to occur with a lot of b-boys and b-boy promoters chiming in but the thing that’s absent is input from the all styles competitors, judges, and DJ’s themselves. In the rush to figure out how it fits in the b-boy community, they seem to have been left largely out of the equation.

In the past three years I’ve ended up DJ’ing a lot of All Styles battles at Bashville Stampede, the Battle Ground Zero series in Indiana, and the Sickest of the South series in Baton Rouge along with several in Atlanta. Over time, I’ve grown to really enjoy these battles and the vibe the competitors bring to it and I respect what I think is a new scene in it’s own right. In this post, I wanted to talk about my thoughts on the “All Styles” scene; what I think lead to it, where it is, and where I think it will or should go from here. Continue reading

Some Mixes Worth Checking Out

Been taking a break for a little while from writing the regular blog posts till I can try and give the site a visual update. Till then I though I’d share some mixes that I’ve been listening to lately.

Ingredientz of Flava

First up is the Ingredientz of Flava from DJ Lean Rock (Floorlordz/Boston) and B-Ryan (Little Green Apples/FLA).

First half of the mix is handled by Lean Rock, second half by B-Ryan. It’s a solid mix all the way through and it’s already gotten my crew and I through several practices. You’ll have to purchase to download but it’s definitely worth the 10 bucks.

Heavy Warmup Series

This has been one of my favorite mix series in a while. The Heavy Warmup is based on the Heavy Warmup DJ slot which according to DJ Ayres, who’s been putting the series together, is…

…it’s the time of the night when people are getting their second drink, the dancefloor is just starting to fill up, and the DJ can tease the crowd with great forgotten jams and new secret weapons.

A lot of great DJs like DJ Eleven, Low Budget (Hollertronix), and DJ Anonymous have contributed to the series. You’ll hear a lot of classics in this series and a diverse range of mixing styles. Highly recommended.

The embedded soundcloud link is the first in the series. The rest can be found on DJ Ayre’s website here:

http://djayres.com/category/dj-mixes/

 

DJ JayceeOh Presents Super Seven Mix Series

DJ JayceeOh shares the mixing responsibilities with six other DJs on each of the four volumes of this series. The DJs who share time with him on the mixes are serious heavy hitters; Eleven, Benzi, Skratch Bastid, Mike B., Cosmo Baker, etc. Each DJ gets about 10 minutes per mix. The segments are pretty diverse on each mix and you’ll go from hip-hop to dancehall to house to who knows what else on each mix. You never get bored with anything in the series.

Embedded is the first in the series, link to the rest of the series below.

http://soundcloud.com/jayceeoh/sets/jayceeoh-presents-super-7-mix/

Beginner DJ Series # 4: Mixtapes and Why I Hate Making Them.

I know I said Vocab was next but that’s taking forever and I wanted to get something out to you guys. This is kind of early in the Beginner series to be talking about mixtapes, but I’m working on several right now and I figured I’d go ahead and get this topic out of the way. This isn’t a how to. The website Digital DJ Tips already did an excellent series on how to make a mixtape that covers the basics that aren’t specific to any genre (there’s plenty of other great articles there too, so go check the whole site out). In this post, I’m just going to talk about what they are (generally), why you need one, and when you should record one. Also, why they’re they bane of my existence.

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