Dave Wrangler: Web Awards DJ Spills a Few Trade Secrets
Recently Toronto producer/DJ Deadmau5 rode the massive surge in electronic dance music's popularity all the way to the cover of the current Rolling Stone. Wearing a giant mouse head all the time doesn't hurt, but in the story he set tongues wagging even further by criticizing many of his fellow EDM artists as mere button-pushers who when performing live do little else than press "play" on their own songs.
Courtesy of Dave Wrangler
Deadmau5 has since backed off a little, as well as admitting to being a bit of a button-pusher himself ("I just push a lot more buttons"), but the feedback from his comments was less than kind. Still, what he said cut straight to the heart of a question many of us struggling to understand EDM's sudden popularity have been asking ourselves: Exactly what are these DJs doing up there, and how are they doing it?
Luckily, one man not only knows exactly what he's doing, he's willing to dish a little dirt. Dave Wrangler has been DJing in Houston since 2005, both at live events and as a creator of remixes and mash-ups, as heard on recordings such as 2010's Under the Influence.
Graphic by Monica Fuentes
Wrangler also happens to be providing the music for the Houston Press' own Houston Web Awards at Midtown's House of Dereon Media Center Thursday night, so Rocks Off asked him how to tell the difference between a remix, a blend, and a mash-up, and to give us an example or two of each.
Finally, we'll know.
First of all, "the term remix is used quite loosely these days to describe most any variation of the original cut," Wrangler explains. "Other generic production terms are mashup, edit and blend."
Lil Troy X Notorious B.I.G., "Wanna Be a Big Poppa (Dave Wrangler Mix)"
Dave Wrangler: Lets start with the most basic, the blend, which is essentially a live mix of two or more studio recordings into one audible mix. This can be achieved with complete songs, isolated acapellas over isolated instrumentals and vice versa.
Growing up during the golden age of hip-hop and electronica was exciting because you could listen to FM radio shows where DJ's were actually "in the mix" live on the air. I would listen in anticipation for the DJ (vinyl only) to lay an a cappella from a popular track over an instrumental of another. Some people now label this a mashup, but by definition it really is nothing more than a blend.