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Mike Ragogna

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Chatting with Batman: Arkham City's Sefton Hill & Dax Ginn, Plus Katy B, and Introducing StevieMix

Posted: 09/30/11 01:01 AM ET

2011-09-30-images.jpeg

Mike Ragogna: Sefton Hill, game director of Batman: Arkham City and Dax Ginn, in charge of marketing, welcome. Guys, you not only made the original game Batman: Arkham Asylum clever, but there were so many unique aspects to it that I'm imagining you took that level of intricacy into Batman: Arkham City.

Sefton Hill: Yeah definitely, we're really fortunate that we are huge Batman fans. So, it's a huge dream of ours to get to work on a game that we love, with a character that we love, and hopefully, that comes through in the game. I would say that Batman is such a multi-faceted character, there are so many things that make him fascinating. We were able to get a whole host of those things in the first game, and I think a whole lot more into the second game. Being able to take Batman into Gotham City for the first time is really exciting for us.

MR: You being the same team that took us into Arkham Asylum.

SH: Yeah, indeed, that was our first Batman game. We were incredibly excited to get the opportunity to get to work on Batman, it was great. When you make the game, you never know how it's going to be received and when it came out, people went crazy for it. We have the Guinness World Record for the highest rated superhero game of all time. It was fantastic having that kind of feedback, and put a little more pressure on us for Arkham City. We're really excited now, we finished the game, and it's out October 18th. Now, we're just really excited for people to get their hands on it and play it.

MR: Am I allowed to talk about the end of Arkham Asylum to set up my next question?

SH: Yeah, that's fine.

MR: Okay, SPOLIER ALERT. You have alternate endings after the credits of Arkham Asylum. The box of the Joker's "titan" from his Titan Project ends up in the Gotham River, and you have Bane grabbing it, you have Scarecrow grabbing it. Does this set up Arkham City?

SH: We certainly follow on a little bit of that story in Arkham City, so you're going to find out what happened to the titan if you play the game. We wanted to follow on from the events of Arkham Asylum, we wanted to follow some of those story threads through. There are quite a few teasers in Arkham Asylum. For those who have played that game, they're going to really enjoy where those elements have played out in Arkham City. As well as that, if you're new to Arkham City, we have lots of different mechanics that are introduced new to the story, and we introduce you to all of these new characters. So, if you got to the end of Arkham Asylum, you would have seen that the titan crate had managed to escape off the island. When you play this game you're going to find out how that story played out.

MR: There were many villains and many adventures to have in Arkham Asylum. Since Arkham City will be more intense, it implies that this is going to be a complete crazy fest.

SH: (laughs) Yeah, it certainly does. When we finished making Arkham Asylum, we were certainly wondering where do we go next, and the next natural place would be to take Batman back to his spiritual home, right into the heart of Gotham. The concept behind Arkham City is that you have this walled-off area of Gotham, and the district has been closed down and has been turned into a maximum security prison. So they've taken all the prisoners from Blackgate Penitentiary, as well as all of the people from Arkham Asylum, and just let them loose in this walled-off area. It's kind of a completely lawless zone. In there, you have Two Face, Penguin, Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, you have all of these great well known characters. It's like a melting pot of crime. The only person standing in any of these people's way is Batman. It's a great opportunity for us to introduce the great villains everyone knows for Batman to showdown against head-to-head.

MR: There were a couple of characters we never saw in Arkham Asylum, and yet they were added to the storyline in a wonderful way, for instance, the Riddler. Will we actually get to see him in this one?

SH: Yes, and that's one of the big things we've worked on this time is getting to go face-to-face with the Riddler. He's actually plotting his revenge after getting captured at the end of Arkham Asylum. He's been planning his revenge for eighteen months. This is a guy who's so meticulous and so intelligent that he's come up with the best way to defeat Batman and prove that he's smarter than Batman. So, in this game, you're going to get to go head-to-head with the Riddler. For the first time, you get to meet him, and you get to find out his plans for Batman. He has some really elaborate plans to prove that he's smarter than the bat, and that's a really new feature in the game that we've worked on a lot.

MR: You listed a lot of the major villains, did you go to any of the secondary villains for a sub-plot?

SH: Yeah, we've really been a kid in the candy shop, with so many amazing super-villains to pick from. Without a doubt, Batman has the best villains gallery over any character in the world. Just being able to pick from all of those characters was so exciting for us when we were crafting the story. We have so many characters in the game that we've put in as secondary characters. We have Bane, Poison Ivy, and Calendar Man in there, so you have great villains and awesome stories to tell and this history with Batman, and even if you don't know the histor, there are bios in the game that explain their history with Batman. It's kind of a good entry point into the Batman universe. You're going to see Batman showdown with countless villains. We have so many in there, that was something that was so exciting for us to get to play with.

MR: That's what I was implying before with the madness of having the concept of an "Arkham City," it has to be over the top. Will we see the Oracle in this, finally?

SH: You're not going to get to meet Oracle, but she will be constantly by your side giving you information in your ear and keeping you up to date on what's happening in Arkham City itself and also outside in Gotham City. She's an essential piece and also, this time, Alfred is going to be with you as well. He's going to be giving you information and being back at the batcave as well. So, you have that combo of you, Alfred, and Oracle working together, but basically they are providing the information. But Batman's the guy in there in Arkham City getting his hands dirty.

MR: Are there any other bat family members that are going to be appear?

SH: One of the things we've announced as one of the pre-order bonuses is that you get to play as Robin in the game, on one of the challenge maps. Robin is someone who we had a lot of fun creating and crafting, giving him his own unique gadgets as well. You will get to play Robin as well.

MR: Will it be the Tim Drake/Wayne version?

SH: We talked about different versions of what it could be and how they fit into the mythology, and obviously, have the various options which we can pick from. We are going with Tim Drake, that was the one we felt best fit in the line of fiction we're doing.

MR: Excellent. Tim resonated with the public very well, and now that he's Red Robin in the comic books, it's just nice to have a nod that he's somewhere in the bat universe in the game. After all, Tim Drake was the smartest Robin out of all of them, he is the closest to the detective that Batman is.

SH: Yeah definitely, he is the one that some people speculate could even surpass Batman in detective skills. So, it was someone we had fun bringing into the universe, definitely.

MR: Dax, from a marketing perspective, it seems like a no-brainer, but what are you going to be doing in addition to the way you promoted the last project?

Dax Ginn: It's a brilliant challenge, it's a treat to be in this position. I feel very blessed to be able to go out on the road and show the game around to gamers and Batman fans. I can tell you man, the buzz that is out there at the moment is incredible. In lots of ways all you've got to do is put a controller in their hands and let them go for it, the game is so sweet and has such incredible quality. Over and above just getting every opportunity to allow players to play the game before it comes out in October, we're trying to explore different aspects of Batman's personality, really looking at the villains he's going up against. So, not just focusing on Batman himself, but really also exploring Joker, Two Face, Riddler, Penguin, Mr. Freeze...these incredible villains. Those guys can bring a whole lot to a marketing campaign because they are so iconic. You put Batman next to a picture of Joker, and immediately, everyone has an idea that it's about to kick off. We're in a great position with some incredible characters. Between now and the game launch on the 18th of October, we are going to be going crazy with getting a lot of promotion and a lot of visibility out on the street and on TV to get fans really hot about Arkham City.

MR: And again, what is the release date for the game?

DG: Absolutely--October 18th in the US. It's coming out on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in 3D! It's going to be coming out of your screen and into your cranium!

MR: How did you do it?

SH: With a lot of hard work. A lot of people ask here at Rocksteady, how did you deliver Arkham Asylum and how do you follow that up with Arkham City, which we genuinely believe is better than Arkham Asylum in every respect. We set out some huge challenges creatively and technically for this game, and we've worked harder on this game than anything we've done previously. I can say there's a secret, but that would be a lie. It's honestly just a lot of hard work, and we take this opportunity very seriously, and we know the Batman fans deserve a game of really high quality and that's what we're delivering.

MR: The last time out, on the Playstation 3, you got to play as the Joker, which was unique to that system. Is there anything unique to PS3 this time around?

SH: Not this time around. We're really treating everyone respective of what platform they have and what console they have. Everyone's going to get the same Arkham City experience, and it's going to blow their minds apart.

MR: Sefton, how soon after Arkham Asylum did you guys already start thinking about Arkham City?

SH: We started thinking about it really early on, actually. As you mentioned, before the titan crate at the end, there are also quite a few hints in the first game as to where we were going with the second game. I guess the biggest one would be if you go to the warden's office in the first game, there's a secret panel on the wall, and if you spray three applications of explosive gel on it, you can smash down a secret panel. Behind there, you can find where Quincy Sharp has the plans for Arkham City on the walls, you can see the plans for the sequel game on his wall, so he was already planning it from that point.

MR: Playing the first game, the player most likely ended with a stash of weapons and gadgets. Will you be able to play the weapons and gadgets from the first game into the second game?

SH: You won't actually take them across in the game, but what we do for people that played the first game is that we start you with a lot more gadgets this time. So, as soon as you start the game, you're going to have the Batarang, the remote Batarang, the Batclaw, the explosive gel, and the Cryptographic Sequencer. You start with 5 gadgets right from the start, you can use any of the gadgets, and if you played the first game, you will be familiar with how those work and you will be able to use those immediately to get additional secrets and goodies. Also, each of those gadgets we've upgraded, so you can use the Batclaw in new ways to grab secrets, you can use the explosive gel and use that in the middle of your combat. There are loads of different things you can do with all of those gadgets. So, in the first game, we had eight gadgets total, and in this game, you start it with five gadgets. All of those gadgets have completely new features as well.

MR: And bat transports? Which ones are we going to see in this one?

SH: We thought about transports, we thought about potentially doing work with the Batmobile, but at the end of the day, the best vehicle Batman has is to glide and move around. So, that was the thing we spent all of our time working on and I think that's something you will really love when you get to play the game. You get to dive down through Gotham's alleyways and across the rough tops. It's a really great feeling to dive down across the Gotham skyline and looki out for the villains and look out for trouble. Picking and choosing the missions you want to do, the open world structure of the game is different from the first game and gives you a lot more freedom in what you want to do. At the same time, there is a focused storyline in the game as well. That feeling of being Batman and being Gotham's savior and protector is something you really feel when you're gliding across Gotham's skyline.

MR: You mentioned the storyline. Does the storyline have more segments or it about the same amount of set up that's in Arkham Asylum?

SH: The story is actually bigger than the first one. If you were going to take down all of the villains of Arkham City, you're looking at well over 25 hours of game play. So, that's a massive chunk of game play you're looking at. The story is significantly bigger than the first one, and it does have that story-based element, as well as the roaming if you want to go and pick off the side missions and see what else is around. So, there are lots of different things you can do and the game is bigger. For us, the biggest focus was to make a better game rather than a bigger game. But in terms of taking the game into Gotham City, it's a great opportunity. It felt like we really needed to deliver on what Gotham City is all about.

MR: With the 3D element, will there be glasses included, and if so, how many pairs?

SH: Well, there are multiple different types of 3D we support in the game, so if you have a 3D TV, we support that fully. You'll get to use your full 3D TV and at the same time, if you don't have a 3D TV, we support the Anaglyph 3D, which means you can use the glasses as well, which works pretty well, I think. There actually aren't any 3D glasses in there because most people have the glasses for their TV if they have a 3D TV, but basically, you can enjoy the game in 3D in multiple ways.

MR: What are your expectations for this game?

SH: I mean, we're definitely really excited to get it out there. It's always a strange feeling because when you work on a game, you're kind of working in a bunker for two years and you don't really get that much feedback from the outside world when you're developing the game. When it comes closer to release and people get it in their hands for the first time, we don't have that big of a perspective on it. But we are incredibly proud of the work the team has done. I think they've really done some amazing stuff, and I'm really excited for everyone to play it. For any game, the true test is when gamers get their hands on it and get to play it. We're lucky, as Dax said before. He's been on the road show, and he's got loads of people playing the game, and we've had nothing but tremendous feedback, and what people have seen is only the tip of the iceberg. There's so much more to see and do in the game, we've kept so many details of the story secret, so when people get to play the game, they're going to get surprised by all of this stuff. How successful it is? I don't know, we are just really excited to get it out there and to get people playing.

MR: You mentioned a team earlier, were you the quarterback for this?

SH & DG: (laughs)

MR: Oops, wrong kind of "football"!

SH: I guess I'm the quarterback, I don't know. I guess Jamie (Walker) is the coach.

MR: (laughs) But you guys were in charge, called all the shots until the end, right?

SH: Yeah, it's just so fortunate for me to work with such a talented team, so for me, I get to work with great script writers, great artists, great designers, great programmers, and great animators. That just makes my job so much easier, these guys make amazing stuff. It's my personal responsibility to make sure all of that comes together in a good, cohesive, enjoyable game. Really, the team is the people who do the work and create this stuff and they do a phenomenal job.

MR: What advice would you have for people coming into the world of gaming from the perspective of programming or being behind the scenes of creating new games?

SH: I guess the thing is, it can be quite a hard industry to get into, but really, all you need is dedication, that's the main thing. As long as you're committed and can show what you can do, if you're trying to break into the industry, prove your talent and prove your skills, create artwork, show people what you can do, and keep knocking on the doors of developers. The main thing we care about is talent, it's not about how many years you've worked in the industry. What developers want is to work with really talented people. So, if you've got the talent and you keep working with it and you keep practicing, you will get a job in this industry. If you're a designer, design levels; if you're an animator, get animations on your show reel. Just make sure what you can show people what you can do, and if you have the talent, you can get very far in this industry. Like Bruce Wayne, you can think of the dedication he has to fighting crime and delivering justice on the streets of Gotham, and that's the attitude every great developer has. That's the advice from Rocksteady--go out there and be Batman!

MR: You guys are great I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

SH & DG: Thanks, Mike

Transcribed by Theo "Nightwing" Shier
Much Gratitude to Jacques "Batman" Lambert & Gareth "Robin" West


2011-09-30-51FTIyWLEL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

A Conversation with Katy B

Mike Ragogna: Katy, how are you?

Katy B: Doing very well, Mike. Thanks so much for having me.

MR: My pleasure. On A Mission is your first album as "Katy B," right?

KB: Yeah, it is.

MR: Can you share with us how you came to get your record deal?

KB: Well, I did a lot of random tracks with a lot of people that I knew. I did one with my friend's brother and a few others. I tried to do lots of different things with lots of different people--you know, just going to their house and writing and recording tracks. Nothing ever really happened with anything. I remember one day, one of my songs started getting played on pirate radio. In London, there are a lot of pirate radio stations...I guess in the US you don't really have pirate radio. Then a couple of my tracks got played on Rinse FM, which also happens to own a label, which is where I signed. They do a lot of club-based music. They basically wanted to put together this album where they got all the DJs together that they produced and put together a kind of showcase of their music, but they wanted me to sing over all the tracks to sort of link them all together because they were going to be from all different genres, you know? But over time, the process kind of changed and it turned into my own album and we kind of zoned in with the Magnetic Man. That's kind of it in a nutshell.

MR: Now, you have so many UK hits on this album such as "Katy On A Mission," which was your first big single, right?

KB: Yeah, actually. It was really weird because we did the video for it, and it didn't really cost that much money. Then we put it on the internet and it just kind of went boom, you know? I was on holiday at the time and I didn't have my phone on and I got back and it had a following and was getting played on the radio.

MR: One of the singles that you did with Magnetic Men was "Perfect Stranger," and technically, that was their single, right?

KB: Yeah, that was their single, but they very kindly let me have it for my album as well.

MR: I also see you did worked with DJ NG that featured a certain "Baby Katy." (laughs) Can you tell us about that person?

KB: (laughs) I was doing some tracks and performing in a club and they told me that my name didn't fit--Katie Brien was just too boring. So, they came up with Baby Katy. But you can't be a baby forever. (laughs) You've got to grow up someday.

MR: (laughs) Nicely put. Can you tell us a little bit about the differences that see between the dance music scene here in the US versus the scene in the UK and Europe?

KB: Well, it's hard to say because dance music is such a massive umbrella term, isn't it. It's got so many different genres within it, and to be honest, I don't even know because I haven't been out to a club that plays that type of music in the US, so I can't really comment too much.

MR: You're right in saying that dance as a genre of music has so many genres within it. It kind of takes a bit of schooling to know what you're listening to, doesn't it.

KB: Yeah. It's quite weird, you know? I feel like every day, I'm learning how much history and heritage there is in dance music. It's very interesting.

MR: Your fame in the UK and Europe happened almost instantly soon to be followed, I'm sure, by tons of fame in the US. How does all of that feel? How does all of that compare to your time as a "starving artist"?

KB: I don't know. I mean, music has always been kind of a pivotal part of my life. I went to University to study and have always surrounded myself with it--it's still like that now as well. I still feel like my life is the same but I'm going to different places, you know, and being a bit more busy I suppose.

MR: Yes, of course. Have you found that you still have time to sit down and be creative?

KB: No, not as much as you would think. But I definitely feel like when I'm in a van or a car traveling, I'll get an idea for a song and my mind will just run off on a long tangent...I'll just sort of get carried away. I don't think I've had as much time to write more songs, though I will be taking some time off to do that soon. I have been writing some stuff here and there, just not as much as I'd like.

MR: Now that you have such a collection of international hits off of this first album, do you have a couple of songs you hope are just as good in your back pocket for the next album?

KB: Yeah, definitely. The great thing about my first record is that even though it took a while to make, I got to go to the studio once or twice a week and was able to just go about living life as normal in between and I had a lot of things to write about. I kind of wanted it to be the same kind of vibe as normal life, just going to the studio and writing about what was happening in my life. It's better than taking three weeks off and going into the studio and knowing you have to create an album in that time.

MR: Yeah, it's very tough, although there are some artists who thrive on having nothing to write about when they go into the studio to start an album.

KB: Yeah, I know what you mean. Sometimes, that is really good because you can start with a clean slate. For instance, when I was working on the song, "Disappear" on this album, we went into the studio at 10:00pm and didn't come out again until almost 6:00am when we finished. When we went to go and mix the song, it didn't actually need that much work, it's really strange, but sometimes, it works that way, you know?

MR: Does it feel more like you're getting out of your own way when you work like that creatively?

KB: Yeah, definitely. I like recording in the night as well because there are no distractions and your phone isn't ringing. You can just lift yourself away and focus.

MR: Right. Katy, you have had some incredible hits from this album in the UK, is there one in particular that you love a little more than the others?

KB: I really still love performing--"Perfect Stranger." I don't know what it is about that song. I think it's because it's so diverse; it's so slow, then it's fast, very calm, and then it goes into the chorus which is fast and busy. It's just a really nice song to sing because the mood changes so swiftly.

MR: Are there any songs on this album that have a particularly interesting story to you behind them?

KB: I don't know. The song, "Lights On" was actually inspired by the lights coming on in the club one night while I was a bit drunk on the stage with a friend of mine after everyone had left the club. (laughs) Working with Magnetic Man was also pretty insane...they're like proper party animals. One of the guys came to the studio and suggested we go and get a drink one Friday night, and that night he drank and entire bottle of Sambuca, and then went on to do a radio show somewhere, which was pretty insane. (laughs) So, I'm having a lot of fun.

MR: Any thoughts about how this next year will go as you gain more exposure in the US?

KB: I don't know. I've been to Austin and New York and just really enjoyed getting to know the music scenes. I'd just love to see so much more of it, so who knows. I love being here and being a tourist and seeing the sights and meeting the people. The show that I did in New York was incredible because I got to do it for such an amazing audience, so who knows.

MR: Do you have any advice for artists just starting out?

KB: I would just say that you have to work hard and take every opportunity that comes your way. If you like it, don't take anything for granted. At the same time, don't do anything that you feel uneasy about, stay true to yourself.

MR: Are you going to be touring more in the US soon?

KB: I'm not too sure right now. I'm going to be coming back in January and doing some more club-based shows. Then hopefully, I will get to come back in the summer and play some festivals.

MR: That would be great, we hope to see you here. Katy B, thank you so much for taking time out to talk to us. Best of luck to you.

KB: Thank you very much, Mike. It's been lovely talking to you.

Tracks:
1. Power On Me
2. Katy On a Mission
3. Why You Always Here
4. Witches Brew
5. Movement
6. Go Away
7. Disappear
8. Broken Record
9. Lights On - with Ms. Dynamite
10. Easy Please Me
11. Perfect Stranger
12. Hard to Get Listen

Transcribed by Evan Martin


Once a month, StevieMix will be bringing us the latest and greatest in all that we call "dance," so prepare to be spun into a freaky Friday frenzy...enjoy!

Seven From Stevie



Hey HuffPosters. This is the first in a series of articles featuring 7 top dance tracks spun by StevieMix. That's me. I'm a radio DJ/live performer with web listeners in 50 countries in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, broadcasting from solar-powered KRUU-FM at http://www.kruufm.com. Originally from Montreal, I spin house and many sub-genres of house, hip-hop, ghetto funk, mashups, techno, breakbeats, R&B and much more. You can hear some of my mixes on Soundcloud at http://soundcloud.com/steviemix and see more at my web site:  http://www.steviemix.com.


To give you a flavor of these bangin' tracks, see the Seven From Stevie list below. Check your favorite music site for buying and downloading these tracks. You can listen every Friday from 9-10 PM, US Central Time, at KRUU Live!

# 1 No Sugar Feat. Shea Soul - Club Mix
Artist Joey Negro, Gramophonedzie
Genre House
About the track Excellent mix of old and new sounds which Serbian band Gramophonedzie is well known for. Their track "Why Don’t You" has a similar old/new sound mashup with a 1958 Peggy Lee sample.
Listen No Sugar Feat. Shea Soul - Club Mix

# 2 Chicago Is In The Pocket/Krazy Strings - Tear The House Down
Artist OHANNON Featuring The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Genre Nu Disco
About the track This track has some disco flavor with the orchestra and its horns combined with a modern house beat and effects. I don’t play the intro to this track. In fact most of the music I play consists of 2-4 minute sections. This is to keep the dance floor interested as people tend to have short attention spans when dancing.
Listen Chicago Is In The Pocket-Krazy Strings - Tear The House Down

# 3 Different Boogie (Funkanomics Blowup)
Artist Alex Mind vs. Syl Johnson (Funkanomics)
Genre Ghetto Funk
About the track Ghetto funk, sometimes known as Nu Funk, remixes existing funk or hip-hop songs with modern effects and synth. Current tracks often will have dirty bass or synth that have more of a vibratory feel and gritty sound than vanilla bass and synth sounds. There are other dance genres that use these kind of sounds, especially Glitch. Funkanomics is one of the better remixers of funk music, and their version of Stevie Wonder’s "Superstition" is amazing.
Listen Different Boogie (Funkanomics Blowup)

# 4 Wrecked - Opiuo Mix
Artist Analog Mc, K+Lab
Genre Glitch Hop
About the track Glitch is electronic music that is characterized by a deliberate use of glitch-based sonic artifacts that normally would be viewed as unwanted disturbances reducing the overall sound quality and are thus usually avoided in audio recordings. This isn’t just noise; it has sounds that make the songs more fun and interesting. Glitch will often have dirty bass and synth along with other glitch sounds. For some DJs, the filthier the better. When you hear a DJ talking about how dirty or filthy a track is, they are not talking about the vocal content. If you want to hear good filth, check out "New Jack" by Justice.
Listen Wrecked - Opiuo Mix

# 5 SaySayism Allstar Jam [DJ Lobsterdust]
Artist Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Nelly Furtado, Nine Inch Nails, Mary J. Blige, Diana Ross, Rick James and The Temptations mashed up by DJ Lobsterdust
Genre Mashup
About the track This is one of the great mashups, and Lobsterdust, along with DJ Earworm, are among the best mashup artists. I play a lot of mashups and they are popular on the dance floor because people hear familiar samples mixed in a totally new and interesting way--or at least that’s my theory. Maybe they just have a great beat you can dance to. I plan to give you more great mashups from artists around the world in future posts. This track has 9 artists in it, a lot for most mashups. Although one of the most famous mashups, DJ Earworm’s "United State of Pop 2009 (Blame It on the Pop)" has 25 samples, most mashups have 2-4 different artists mashed up. Sometimes, the mashups are very unusual. Lobsterdust’s "WholeLottaExtraDougie" features CaliSwagDistrict, Led Zeppelin and Katy Perry. This is not a combination that most people would think of, but Lobsterdust's mashup mastery can make some bizarre combinations actually sound like they make sense.
Listen SaySayism Allstar Jam [DJ Lobsterdust]

# 6 Lunar
Artist David Guetta & Afrojack
Genre Electro House
About the track This is from the recently released Nothing But the Beat album by David Guetta. I have been playing Guetta for many years and his career has blown up to the point that major artists are working with him on lots of his latest tracks. I still love his older stuff with vocalist Chris Willis too. Afrojack is a 24 year old music producer that has already made a mark with "Take Over Control" with vocalist Eva Simmons, another great track I recommend (maybe there’s more than Seven from Stevie here!). I like "Lunar" because of its killer percussion and synth. Electro house is a fusion of house and electronic music with very strong synth and effects elements.
Listen David Guetta - Lunar (David Guetta & Afrojack) [BBC Radio 1 at USUAÏA Radio Premiere]

# 7 Yerbatero (Tarantella & Redanka)
Artist Juanes
Genre Tribal Latin House
About the track I first heard this track in spin class (indoor cycling, not DJ-ing). It has both Latin and tribal elements over a house beat. I often mix tracks for spin class by taking recordings of my DJ sets and speeding up portions of some tracks to challenge the riders.
Listen Yerbatero (Tarantella & Redanka)

Video Bonus Track

For your video bonus track this week, check out LMFAO’s "Party Rock Anthem" featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock. You’ve probably seen this video since it has 200 million views; but it’s so much fun, I had to make sure. It’s an excellent dance track and I love the shufflin’ and the gold box guy and all the other dancers.




This Issue’s DJ Tip

Sometimes hip-hop DJs will not see an opportunity to beat match in their mixes and will do a radio fade (fade the volume out on deck A and fade the volume in on deck B without beat matching). They will also do a slam or chop where you switch from one song to the other instantly by slamming the cross-fader to the other deck. That can work really well sometimes but can disrupt the dance floor. To beat match for a smooth transition between tracks, pay attention to the snare. Typically in hip-hop, the regular beat is the snare, not the kick drum. Normally, you want to avoid mixing vocals from both songs simultaneously because they can clash and sound chaotic--i.e. dancers don’t like it! Unlike house club tracks, in a hip-hop track, there are often no long vocal breaks near where you would like to mix in or out of either song.

A way around this is to find 4 beats or more near where you would like to mix out of deck A or into deck B that have no vocal where you can loop. If the loop sounds good you can loop that track while playing the other track normally. I always make sure the loop sounds good ahead of time. I use Tracktor Pro as my software and spin mp3’s so I can mark where the loops are and how many beats they contain very easily. I have done mixes with loops having as few as 2 beats and as many as 16. Sometimes, there can be a bit of vocal in the loop. You can tone the vocal down a bit by dropping the mid-range equalizer where the vocals are typically found. The downside of this is you might drop some key instruments as well. You can do EQ mixing by fading out one deck’s mid-range and fading in the other deck’s mid-range as long as it doesn’t make the mix sound washed out. I use the looping and EQ mixing techniques also for funk, older tracks, live tracks and some genres where beats tend to drift. If you can find a bar or two where the beat is consistent, you’re golden.

 
 
 

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