The 2 Times World Champion turntablist DJ Woody is known for his innovations, he helped design the Worlds first ever musical turntable instrument, the Vestax Controller One, and is famed internationally as one of the most prolific pioneers of new scratch technique.
Collaborating with musicians from the start of his career proved to be very formative to Woody’s musical approach to the turntable and has led to him being sought after by some of the industries most revered producers including Bomb The Bass, Madlib, Oli Teeba (The Herbaliser) and DJ Vadim. Performing as part of many bands, Woody was the DJ for Grammy winning hip hop superstar Mala Rodriguez, was part of Vadim’s Russian Percussian and One Self (Ninja Tune) and has written scratch music for a 25 piece big band jazz orchestra.
Here DJ Woody shares his top tips for aspiring turntablists…
1. Put the hours in. Being a scratch DJ takes the same amount of dedication as any musical instrument. Utilise all the available tools to develop your skill set, there is a wealth of free expert advice on training and technique online.
2. Don’t run before you can walk. Learn the fundamental techniques of mixing and scratching on a simple set up before you jump into advanced techniques and relying on technology. It will pay off!
3. Know your history. Knowledge is power. Knowledge of past innovators and the development of the artform gives you an invaluable insight and appreciation of the culture. It also provides a logical order in which to learn your technique – starting with the earliest foundations and progressing chronologically through to modern advanced techniques.
4. Be an all rounder and get creative. For me the truly great scratch DJ’s can do it all – win a dj battle, rock a dancefloor, DJ for vocalists, play in a band, make a mixtape, record scratches for tracks, innovate, the list goes on. Having a broad skill set definitely opens many more doors to you as a DJ and keeps life interesting.
5. Make your own opportunities. If there’s not a club in your town doing the kind of night that you’d love to DJ, or there is one but you’re not invited to play then organise your own. This will give you invaluable knowledge of promotion and in-turn expand your DJ experience, confidence and industry contacts. Put out your own mixes, do a podcast, enter a battle, just don’t wait to be asked – do it yourself!