Last Monday, we visited Dan Giove and Adam Sellers at DubSpot, the DJ and electronic music production school here in Manhattan.


Sitting on the couch, sandwiched between a class going over the finer points of filtering a buzzy bass, and a giant mixing console with lots of controllers, we were investigated by one large curious dog and one small energetic dog. I wondered if these pups could rock the decks too, but who knows. Maybe they’re DubSpot admissions officers.

Dan Giove founded DubSpot as a place where musical novices, experts and everyone in between could get a solid grounding in music production, as well as training in the latest software and hardware tools for creating music. At their studios in the Meatpacking district, they offer DJ tutorials, lessons on mixing and mastering, sound synthesis and workshops with Ableton, Reason, Logic and others. Students can attend intense weekend training sessions and there’s even a youth program. Start ’em young, I say, start ’em young.

Why there’s even DubSpot Cafe downstairs, where Ableton instructor and upcoming MMiX Festival performer, Jon Margulies did a set during this year’s Make Music Fest back in June:

Perhaps the most important part of DubSpot’s mission seems to be community, a community of beginners and experienced artists, producers and DJ’s that’s much much larger than the studio space DubSpot is quickly outgrowing. The vibe we got is that everyone is cool at DubSpot, everyone’s musical point of view is valid and supported, and everyone can work together to push music technology in ever more creative directions.

Members of Dubspot have spent the summer on the DubSpot LIVE 8 U.S. Sessions Tour, and these guys are so money, they’ve put together video recapping some of what went down. This is one of those clips:

We’re so pleased the folks at DubSpot will be doing LIVE 8 workshops at the MMiX Festival this October. In the meantime, dust off that old Rakim 12-inch & get thee to DJ school!

Jocelyn Gonzales

Two Turntables and a Microscope

The sun beats down on a Brooklyn street and the neighbors are outside chatting or watering the plants. But inside DJ Scientific‘s secret lair, the beats are flowing, the strings are popping and the DJ’s cat is just confused by it all. I’ve just walked a few blocks from the G train to spend some time with composer/turntablist, Elan Vytal.

DJ Scientific is Elan Vytal, who mixes his unique beat juggling and scratching with classical and world musicians. His is a lush, but gritty, hybrid urban sound. Rocking nightclubs from Oakland, CA to New York City, performing live in opera houses and concert halls around the world, Elan’s numerous collaborations have taken him far beyond the standard notions of a DJ. One could say he’s a virtuoso on the decks, always striving to develop his “instrument.”

You may have heard of Elan through his work with composer/violinist DBR, Daniel Bernard Roumain. Elan is a member of DBR’s nine-piece ensemble, DBR & THE MISSION. From Elan’s bio: “The duo began collaborating extensively, creating and premiering a series of new works, including Call Them All, a laptop concerto written by DBR with sound design by Elan Vytal, commissioned by American Composers Orchestra, which premiered at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall in 2006, and Sonata for Violin and Turntables, an hour-long touring program co-produced by Elan Vytal and DBR…

Hanging with Elan Vytal at his Brooklyn apartment, he told me about how he made the switch from rapper/MC to DJ, how he’s developed his career, and about his interactive relationship with live musicians using turntables, Serato Scratch Live and Ableton. You can listen to his comments and bits of his music here:

As a special treat, Elan invited six string violinist Matt Szemela (also known as String Theory) to jam on a couple of songs they’re writing as the group LB (Pound). So here, they did a demo of their set-up and performed two pieces for our home video cameras:

– Jocelyn