In the latter half of their second season, HBO show Girls introduced us to Andrew Andrew, a DJ duo who primarily play music using iPads. “Just to let you know, we’re not just playing music out of iTunes and mixing it up that way,” one Andrew says in a demonstration video. “I think that’s kind of a key thing,” the other Andrew chimes in. With the help of MIT students, the duo customized their iPads so they could be used as a wireless trigger for Ableton, a music production and performance program. They then use a local wireless network, allowing their iPad to connect to a MacBook, which is subsequently plugged into a mixer and speakers. The iPad serves as a portable turntable from which the Andrews can mix tracks and adjust levels.
“The dream was to DJ mobile-ly, in the crowd,” the Andrews say. “We didn’t want to be tethered to the DJ booth by a cord.” Their bespoke (though open source) system allows them physical freedom, while other new programs allow the average club-goer to be a DJ in their own right. High-tech solutions inspire DJ democratization, if you will. On SoundCloud, users can create “sets” and share them easily with fellow users. And with Native Instruments’ Traktor DJ for iPad, amateur DJs can mix tracks together and create samples. Gizmodo says, “[Traktor DJ] takes advantage of the iPad’s tabletness–rather than pretending the iPad is a Technics deck.”
We’re all getting the chance to play with sound waves and samples, meaning we get gifts like the Jackson Five mashed with Taylor Swift, or AlunaGeorge covering a song from The Jungle Book. With the help of tech, musical freedom runs rampant, meaning Andrew Andrew get to walk through a dancing crowd iPads in hand, DJs worlds apart can work together, and an enthusiast can combine 500 Days of Summer with Lil Wayne. iPads are an integral part of this creative movement, and we look forward to find out what comes next.
Image via Nicky Digital