Thursday, December 27, 2007

Spin Class

Today I took my first "spin" class at the local gym.  My goal in taking the class was to find a new way to ease the tedium of winter cycling training.  That does not relate to this blog, but the music they played does.

Prior to today's experience I knew relatively little about the music behind spinning.  I had read once in the editor's column of Club Systems International that the music was diva trance and this afternoon when talking to a coworker he stated that he thought they turned down the lights low and blasted techno.

And the truth to be told the music did fulfill those expectations.  There were a couple of cool songs during the rest periods and the cool down, but during the actual workout it was mainstream dance / trance with every overplayed sample that you can think of.  Now I know there are some limitations to the music that they can play.  It has to be upbeat, driving, and during the peak moments of the workout pretty fast.  To add to those problems the instructor probably does not care about what is happening in the dance scene...

I can not help to think though how damaging this is to the EDM scene.  The mainstream world has very little exposure to dance music: commercials, trendy clothing stores, wedding DJs still playing Sandstorm.  This continual exposure (except for commercials) to the same cheesy pop cannot help spread the music or alleviate peoples' misconceptions.

-Charles Cushman

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


x-mas is almost over and the presents have been opened. I hope everyone had a good day and received the presents that they wanted. The big shock for me was my wife buying me an I-phone, and yes I can blog from it as I have just proven :)

Merry Christmas

-Charles Cushman

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Blue Room

Today my wife was listening to a recording that I made of the Blue Room a coupe of years ago. I had forgotten how much fun that show used to be. i was lucky enough to record a couple of episodes, but those can only go so far.

If you have not heard of the Blue Room it was a radio show on BBC 1 Saturday and Sunday morning. They played a really diverse mix of electronic, dub, and indie rock. It really highlighted what is great about BBC radio; a willingness to not just play the hits, but to play great music. 94.9 in San Diego is also that way to a certain extent, which makes radio so great here.

If anyone does stumble across any recordings of the Blue Room pleas let me know, I would love to add some more recording to my collection.

-Charles Cushman

Thursday, December 20, 2007

HighLights of 2007?

The dance blogsphere was up in arms recently due to an article published by Billboard Magazine. "DJ Tiësto and the return of house music were the highlights of the dance scene in 2007" I think that it is easy to say that for people interested in electronic music, even the fans of Tiesto and house music, that those two items were not the news for the year. Once again minimal ruled the airwaves and electro-house continued to become omnipresent. Record distributers and stores shut down. The future of clubbing in Ibiza came under fire.

I have been thinking of this from a different standpoint. Sure the items described by Billboard were old hat to us. And I agree that if they had done a little bit of journalism they might have gotten deeper into the story. We can not forget thought that for outsiders the view is completely different than from inside the club. Tiesto selling out stadiums and closing Coachella, that means more to the mainstream industry.

So, "DJ Tiësto and the return of house music were the highlights of the dance scene in 2007?"

True? Yes
False? Yes

To check out some other peoples' view visit Beatportal or Danceblogga.

-Charles Cushman

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I am not the biggest fan of Microsoft, but they do come out with some interesting ideas now and then like this one, Photosynth.

Photosynth is a program that combines thousands of snapshots to create a seamless view of a space. The program also makes it extremely easy to flip through a large collection of pictures on line. The photos shown in the clip and examples are tourist locations, but I see this application have a great affect on nightclub photos. The two things I don't like about looking at photos online are that:

a) They are a pain to go through, especially if the net is slow that day.
b) Where is my picture? Wait I found it after looking at 50 random shots.

Now imagine this program. You could flip through the photos in seconds, guests could add their pictures to the collection, and with the thousands of pictures that are taken at a nightclub over the course of a year a pretty strong virtual environment could be created.

How cool would that be?

-Charles Cushman

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Free Music

I love music. I always have something going on in the background be it rock, pop, EDM, hip-hop. i am lucky enough to live in a city that has some great radio stations, but they can't provide me with everything that I need, neither can the podcasts that I listen to. So when I find a web page that hosts some great music, gives them away for free, and is legal I am stoked.

I might be a little late on the boat, but here are two recent finds, check them out and tell me what you think:

Rcrd Lbl


-Charles Cushman

Top 5 Clubbing Experiences

So i have been lagging on the posts, I know. It is not for lack of subjects, just lack of time and I just bought iLife '08 so I might be moving the blog to the metronome server. Anyways, just to get something up here is a post that I did 12 November 2003 on my MySpace page (yes I have been a member for that long). These are still some of my top nights. Maybe tomorrow i can update this.

Top 5 Clubbing Experiences

I want to hear them, every ones top 5 clubbing/ raving nights. Here are mine:

5) Groove Armada at Bridge and Tunnel, London: London by myself, trying to find the places to go. Looking through Night Out magazine see that GA will be spinning at some club. Don’t know anything about it, but I call find out that there is no dress code and I am on my way. I got a little lost, but eventually arrived waaayyyy to early. Turns out Bridge and Tunnel is just a little bar. So I hole myself up in a corner and drink and watch. The crowd slowly fills in, the DJ starts up, I make some new friends. After a while they open up the basement (they have a basement?! and GA take to the decks for one of the best house sets ever. Turns out the crowd is mostly made up of their friends from University ( A lot of people wondered who the hell I was) and all very friendly. The best part it was free!

4) Unknown at Dre’s, Las Vegas: This one was with my friend Scottie. We had found Dre’s one night when we were not ready to go home and this was our second visit. There were two firsts though, first time hearing breaks, awesome ones at that, and the first time I saw B-Girls dancing. It was so cool to see some girls really into the music that could go off. Ended up talking to them and hanging out the next night also. One downside to the entire experience, when I told one of them that I had a girlfriend they never talked to us again (Let the record show though I did nothing wrong!) Nikki and Erin where are you?

3) Donald Glaude at 4th and B in San Diego, NYE 2002-3: This was the first night I saw D, and the best one. He owned the crowd completely and fully, and the place was packed to the gills. For the people who have never been to 4th and B, it is one of the largest clubs that I have been to, comparable to Circus, larger than 1015, Ministry of Sound, or anything in Vegas. They even had the stage open that night, pure madness.

2) Tall Paul at Montage, San Diego: Another one of those shows that I went to early and by myself. I definitely miss Montage and the parties that used to go down there. That night, along with great music, the vibe was epic, smiles all around and I had the perfect mix of caffeine and alcohol in me. When I finally got home I would not shut up about this to my parents, they just think I ma crazy.

1) DJ Tiesto at Spundae, LA: I saw Tiesto in London two weeks prior at the Gallery, the place was packed, but the crowd was quite and I was forced into a corner (I did meet my friend Jet though) So I was anxious to hear him again. This time I did not have a pre-sale ticket so I got to Circus 2-3? hours early (7ish ?) and stood in line, and waited, waited, and waited. Finally around 11 I got into the club, a little pissed off, swearing to myself that I would never do that again. Once inside drop a yellow jacket and guzzle some vodka and step onto the floor. I felt better instantly. After an hour on the floor I finally meet up with my friends (Jhoana, Ian, and crew) and the night is fantastic. I never had gone out with so many people at once who were all cool. Plenty of room to move. To top it off Tiesto took over and made us go crazy. I danced harder than I have ever done, hell I danced on a go-go booth! I was so exhausted that I had to sleep on the way home.

-Charles Cushman

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Can Vinyl be Saved?

I am not sure where I saw it, either at slate or beatportal, but recently I read about how some independent record companies are letting people download digital copies of the albums that they buy on vinyl. What a great idea. You get the best of both worlds, the quality of vinyl for home usage, and a copy to take on the road.

As a DJ I am sad that my turntables are slowly gathering dust. Although Ableton is my primary DJ vehicle now days, I miss the tactile feeling of vinyl. When friends come over for our monthly Second Saturdays party I often forsake the computer to play on my CDJs and TTs. The only problem is that my vinyl collection is becoming dated and I need to go record shopping. But I don't want to buy vinyl, because lets face it, ripping vinyl to DJ with is a pain in the butt. Especially for us people who have a limited time.

However, if I could buy a track, either from the local record store, or from an online store and get both a digital copy and the physical copy I would go back to buying records. Sure it is more expensive, but to have a physical copy for the archives, or random parties where they will only have TTs and I don't feel like hauling a computer would be worth it. Also, limitations also drive innovation. Sure I could only buy one record for the price of four downloads, but I would make sure that that track is essential.

Could this idea work, unfortunately probably not, but a boy can always dream...

-Charles Cushman

Monday, December 10, 2007

Mel Cheren

I learned today that Mel Cheren had passed away due to HIV. If you have not heard of Mel, he was one of the founders of West End Records label and was heavily involved with the Paradise Garage, a venue that has defined most of New York City's Disc Jockeys.

He is also known as the Godfather of Disco, so I must say thank you to him for being part of starting a movement that drives my life.

If you would like to know more about him check out his book "Keep on Dancing, my Life and the Paradise Garage." To learn more about his record label check out the excellent record compilation that Masters of Work did for West End's 25th anniversary. Several of the records featured on that compilation are in my record box, timeless classics...

Technology in the DJ Booth, Part 2

So how are clubs adapting to the changes in the DJ booth? Most of them, well, are not, but some are. The approach being taken by the forward thinking clubs largely depends on the crowd they are catering to and subsequently, the DJs that they book..

The clubs that cater to the traveling DJ, i.e. superclubs and destination clubs, work around the limitations of having a set DJ booth through several means. Some clubs customize the DJ booths for the headliner and change their setup every night. This can be typically found at clubs that have a stage for the performers and not a set DJ booth. Examples of this set-up would be Ruby Skye in San Francisco and Avalon in Los Angeles. Clubs that have a more traditional DJ set-up, such as 1015 in San Francisco, or Circus in Los Angeles have gone another route. Circus depends on DJs doing a sound check early in the night with the equipment being installed directly into the DJ mixer while 1015 has installed a patch bay accessible from above that lets people easily reroute the audio going into the mixer. These systems work at these clubs primarily due to the star power of the DJs that they bring in and the fact that the equipment is not typically plugged and un-plugged through the course of the night.

Going down a notch to the smaller club, lounge, bar arena it can be seen that a new standard has emerged. Along with the CDJs, and Technics turntables either a Serato box or a Serato certified mixer can be seen more and more often. The multi-format nature of these venues have lead DJs to rely heavily on the Serato system. Venues, tired of having their gear ripped apart night after night are providing the necessary equipment for their DJs and if they don’t want top invest in a box that might walk away they are turning to patch bays specifically setup for the Serato DJ to plug into.

The last arenas we will look at are house parties and underground raves. At these events DJs are lucky to find working mixers much less anything beyond turntables. The only positive is do to the temporary nature of the setup there is typically more than enough room to plug into the mixer prior to a time slot, just be wary of pissing off the vinyl diehards.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Easy Steps for Creating a Strong DJ Mix

Recently a member of the ALDJ forum has been having a hard time creating a DJ mix to share. What follows are the tips that I posted in how to get around the writers block. This is the basic format that I use for making all of my mixes and it helps in creating that organic feel that a Live DJ set has.


Here is what I suggest to do. Go through your tracks and pick three songs that you like that do not start with a 4/4 beat. They can start with a melody, a voice, an odd rhythm, whatever. Just something interesting. One of these songs should be on the slow end, one should be mid-tempo, and one should be a strong upbeat track. These are going to be the seed tracks for three "sketches."

Now take the first song, pick a second song that you feels goes well with it. You now have the first two songs for a mix. After these first two songs you are going to improvise, but you should have enough time with these songs to get into the groove and pick a direction and go.

As you are DJing these sets let the music flow naturally, if you feel like dropping a trance tune after a funky house track go for it. Play whatever at that moment sounds right.

Now as you get close to the end you need to start thinking about the last track. In a 30 minute mix at about 10 minutes out I think about my last song. For an hour mix at 15 minutes out and for an 80 minute mix 20 minutes out. The last track should be a punctuation point.

When you are done, listen to the mix. You might find that these are good enough to share (mine typically are and that is why I mix my podcast live). If not, critique them and edit as needed.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Dirty Old Apartments (Cushman's Laundry Mix)

The new podcast focusing on unsigned dance music is up.  In it the metronome project finds those hidden gems and shares them with the world. Here is the info on the first track:

Title : Dirty Old Apartments
Artist : Sean Nash
Remix Title : The Laundry Mix
Remix by : Charles Cushman
Label : none

I heard the original track on the ALDJ forum. A couple days later I realized that I was humming the melody, so I asked if i could mess with it. the result is a nice little house track. Additionally, Sean and I have been sharing a ton of ideas back and forth, so look forward to some great tracks.

You can download the mix here or subscribe to the podcast (manually) by copying this URL

and clicking "subscribe to podcast" under the advance tab in iTunes.

Technology in the DJ Booth, Part 1

It used to be easy.  If you owned a club and wanted to have DJ perform you only had to provide two turntables and a mixer.  To make it even easier there really were no choices.  The turntables were technics, and depending on the era the mixer was Rane, Pioneer, or Xone.  as time progressed the only new choice was cd players, and once again a dominant player came in to being, the Pioneer CDJ-1000.

As a bedroom DJ, if you had dreams of playing in the clubs you bought what they had.  If you did not have the money you might go cheap on the mixer, but in the end we all wanted to have what would be in the club so that there would be no surprises.  Some of us who were a little crazy would buy accessories, such as samplers, drum machines, or effects boxes.  But the people that used those in the DJ booth were so few and far between no special allowances have been made for them.

Now days things are different.  While there are still DJs that use only vinyl or CDs, there is a growing number of users who use alternate systems such as serato, final scratch, traktor, or Abelton Live.  To go with these programs are specialized hardware, soundcards, DJ mixers, and controllers.  

How is this advanced in technology, coupled with the multiplicity of choices going to effect the DJ booth, and conversely the bedroom DJs choices?  In part two of this blog I will examine how clubs, bars, and Rave owners / promoters are addressing (or ignoring) the situation and in part three buying options for the bedroom DJ will be looked at.

Monday, December 3, 2007

IDJ2 v. Pacemaker

Last year, in 2006, my wife pre-ordered me an iDJ2 for my birthday. It had only been recently announced and appeared to be a great device for those events where you want to DJ, but don’t want to bring turntables or CDJs. After waiting several months I soon grew tired of the delays and started focusing my attention on Ableton Live.

Now, over a year later, the iDJ2 has been released. However this release has been completely overshadowed by the Pacemaker, a device that has been labeled as the ultimate portable mixer. What affect will these two devices have?

Although I have not had an opportunity to play with either one of these, I do have some first impressions that can be summed up as: Pocket DJ, why? iDJ2, I want.

The pacemaker in its simplest sense is an iPod with DJ controls. It is ultra portable and battery powered. Unfortunately, to make a device so small the users had to compromise on the ability to control the parameters. The user is left with a screen to monitor what is going on and a circular input device to control pitch, EQ, song selection, etc. While this appears to complicated, I am hoping that in practice it is easier than it sounds.

However, no matter how easy it is I don’t think it will be able to compare with the iDJ2’s ease of use. It is based around the concept of combining the controls of a 2-channel DJ mixer and two CDJs into one small package. The parameters are controlled by physical knobs that people are used to and it has a color LCD for song selection. The biggest thing that the iDJ2 has going against it is the iDJ (a device that was really a toy) and the lost of positive hype due to the delays in its release.

So why would you buy a pacemaker? Well, as the ads say, you can DJ on the bus! Although I am not sure when I would be interested in doing that. What does the iDJ2 have going for it? It is an entire DJ package based around the device everyone has, an iPod (with all the ease of use that that device entails).

At roughly the same price which device will be more successful?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

metronome podcast 003

This podcast was supposed to be seeded by a progressive house track, but looking through my recent records I saw that I am lacking on that end.  I was going to buy some new tracks (and will) but I was inspired by the rain and went into the studio at midnight.  The end result is a dark and dirty late night techno mix.

You can download this mix here or subscribe to the podcast (manually) by copying this URL 

and clicking "subscribe to podcast" under the advance tab in iTunes.

Track : Artist : Album
Sexy Fuck (Steve Angello Edit) : Who's Who : Sexy Fuck
Uptown (Original Mix) : Daniel Steinberg : Don't Be Leftout Sampler One
Superlicious : Swoop : Afterhours 3
Spastik (Dubfire Rework) : Plastikman : Nostalgik 3
Blacklight Sleaze (Radio Slave Vocal Mix) : Peace Division : NRK: 10
Let No Man Jack (Abe Duque Mix) : DJ Hell : Monotonie Durch Automation (NY Muscle Interpretation)
Here (Original Mix) : Raudive : Here
shift_it : Squatter : cdr
Refill (Original Mix) : Scandall : Beatport 3 Year Anniversary
Rollin' & Scratchin' : Daft Punk : Musique Vol.1 1993-2005
R U OK (A Cappella) : Ambivalent : R U OK
Quibble (Original Mix) : Staffan Linzatti : The Timber Owls EP
Air Conditionne (Original Mix) : Julian Jeweil : Air Conditionne EP

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A New Direction for the Metronome Project

Originally I had created the metronome project based on two ideas.

1) to promote myself as a DJ

2) to create a web page that emulates Rolling Stone, but instead of focussing on rock music, look at the world through electronic music.

Lately I have been re-examining the intent and I am dropping number one to focus on number two. To go along with the course correction the following items will be added. Hopefully most of these will be up after this weekend!

ALDJ Mix Club - A weekly mix chosen by the folks over at ALDJ. This podcast will not only focus on the great mixes that the users post on the site, but also ones that need help. Along with each mix there will be links included in the podcast to get more information on the tracks and to comment on it.

ALDJ Classic Mixes - Over the past past year ALDJ members have created some incredible mixes that not only sound great, but push the boundaries of the mixing tradition. This podcast will also have links for information on each track.

Metronome Approved Tracks - A podcast that will collect all those awesome free tracks on the web and collect them into one place. Along with exclusives from us.

Design - Music is a reflection of what people see, and feel. To expand on that the metronome project will add pages for art and architecture.

Additional contributers - That one is pretty self explanatory.

So there it is. Hopefully in the end a page will be created that not only reflects life, but stimulates it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fizheuer Zieheur

Track : Fizheuer Zieheur
Artist : Villalobos
Label : Playhouse

When I first heard these tracks on the Dance Department podcast I was intrigued, “The longest techno track ever?” Of course they could not play them in their entirety, but the segments that I heard sounded great. Unfortunately it never went for sale on Beatport and I eventually forgot about it.

Recently reading an article on Villalobos I was reminded of the track and did a google search and found the CD at

I have been listening to the EP for the last two days, at over 30 minutes plus each it takes a while to get through them, and I have to say that they are good. The groove, the sound, the mental state that they create is amazing; unfortunately their length bogs them down. Fizheuer Zieheuer has a horn sample that eerily floast over a deep groove while Fizbeat is a hypnotic minimal track that slowly rolls along.

However, do they need to be 30 minutes plus each? No. While the tracks are outstanding, they become monotonous because they lack the internal movement to become a sonata. Instead they feel like really long techno tracks.

The upside though is that there is enough room in the track to layer other songs on top of it, slowly bringing them in and out. Adding that additional drama that the tracks require to be played their full length.

And this is what I intend to do.

Monday, November 26, 2007

David Guetta at On Broadway, San Diego

Two facts:

1) I like David Guetta’s music. Sure it is pop, and I have heard it described as the McDonalds of electronic music, but I like McDonalds. Two double cheeseburgers, a small fry, and a large soda for under $5? Sign me up. Wait, now let me go vomit.
2) I don’t like David Guetta’s mixing style, or at least I thought I didn’t. I used to subscribe to his podcast and the music did not flow, and an hour of straight pop? See above. Plus why was it always two half hour sets? 60 minutes a little too much for ya?

I had needed a good night out dancing though, and Z-Trip in all his glory, was not enough for me to get my full groove on. So I succumbed and went to see Dave. At least I will be on the guest list I thought. Wait, no, the guest list closed 5 minutes ago. Can’t be too expensive. $25?! Screw it I really need to club. Wait, now its $30... This will really affect my drinking…

Once the door drama was over I let my friends know that if they want to find me look on the dance floor and I am off. Entering the main room I could not help but noticed that it was slammed, and it was only 10:45. I took a deep breath and dove in.

As the trunk bar started to catch up with me my ass joined the groove. Time became a blur and the next thing I knew Guetta stepped up. He dropped a vocal intro, smiled, and took control. The floor started to heave. Sweaty bodies gyrating, eyes closed, even some guys with their shirt off. It was enough to make a missionary run. Things then really lost control, and although I can’t remember a single detail (like any good DJ should be able to do) I knew that when the night ended at 2 it was to soon.

F!@& Me I am Famous indeed.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

metronome podcast 002

This mix begins like the girl you met last week, soft and innocent, but wait to you get her home…

You can download this mix here at at mixdepot:

or subscribe to the podcast (manually) by copying this URL and clicking "subscribe to podcast" under the advance tab in iTunes.

Track : Artist
I Gotta Thang, Uh Huh : Cass & Mangan
The Screetch (Original Mix) : The Screetch
Pulling Me Under : Richard Dinsdale Ft Wray
Swimming Places - Sebastian Ingrosso Re-Edit : Julien Jabre
Fucking In Heaven (Accapella): Fatboy Slim
Swimming Places - Sebastian Ingrosso Re-Edit : Julien Jabre
Most Precious Love feat. Barbara Tucker (DF's Future 3000 Mix) : Blaze, UDAUFL
Stoopit (Original Mix) : The Martin Brothers
Jack U (Original Mix) : Felix Da Housecat, Diddy
African People (Original Mix) : Trentemoller
Spastik (Dubfire Rework) : Plastikman
My Black Sheep (Radio Slave Remix) : Len Faki
Sexy Fuck (Steve Angello Edit) : Who's Who
Silmarions (Claude VonStroke Bavarian Ferrari Mix) : Mikael Weill

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Z-Trip at On Broadway

I came to the realization recently that I needed a vacation. My stress levels and the thought time off after a year of no vacation sounded great. Looking at the calendar I decided to take the two days off prior to my gig at Faces Nightclub. Unfortunately the promoter canceled his event and I was stuck with two days and no plans.

Luckily I saw that Z-Trip was going to be playing at On Broadway for their 7-year anniversary. I have been a huge fan of Z-Trip since listening to his Live at the Future Primitive Sound Sessions CD. I was even lucky enough to see him at the 10 year anniversary of that event.

Arriving at the club I entered upon what appeared to be the remnants of a shareholders meeting. A mixture of clubbers, businessman with trophy wives, and guys in zoot suits. To deal with this odd mixture the opening DJ was playing a mix of music that at best could be described as Top 40, worst wedding.

As Z-Trip took control of the decks he faced an impassive crowd and immediately moved to take control. Starting out with some classic hip-hop he slowly started building the energy. Every cut / scratch / record had a point. And once things started moving the mash-ups began. I am not the biggest fan of mash-ups, to many SD lounges based on them. But Z-Trip’s are so unique and expressive I go a little crazy. From their the night became a little of a blur, sweet beats mixed with vodka tonics begat a dancing frenzy which peaked with Z-Trip being joined be a live drummer on the stage.

When Z-Trip returns, the : metronome : project will be there.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Chris Galvin - the : metronome : interview

With a new successful club night in San Francisco (Dirty Dirty Techno) and a new wife, the : metronome : project catches up with Chris Galvin.

You have been a DJ for quite some time, how did you initially get into the music and what has influenced you to develop you current electro / tech house sound?

Oh man, that’s a tough one because there have been a lot of variables that have influenced my sound. I guess It really goes back to what I was listening to when I was a kid.

When I was a punk little kid in the 'burbs of Orange County, a good friend of mine's (Chris Grim) sister would collect these really obscure underground records from the UK. He would sneak a few select records out of her room a week, bring them over to my house and then we would record them to cassette tape. There was also this movement of megamixes that were floating around at the time from producers like Cameron Paul and Shep Pettibone. I would save all of my money from doing chores and just order these subscription services from DMC and Mixx-It. I was also really into the electro hip-hop records of the 80s too, like: Pretty Tony, Freestyle, Egyptian Lover, World Class Wrekin’ Cru, Megggatron, etc. That’s really where my love of the 808 for me began. You can still here that in my sets today. I really like to lean towards that 808 kick sound.

I think I was 17 when a CD shop opened up near my house. The guy who ran the place was also into obscure English records. He had crates and crates of these records all in the back room. It was like a gold mine for me. Mind you, this was all pre-rave in the US. I would go down there after school and just listen to all of these records from like Mr. Lee, Todd Terrry (Royal House), Ralphi Rosario DJ Pierre, Frankie Knuckles, and the Fingers Inc.. I had no idea who these guys were, but I really got into those records. Eventually, he started to order the more raver stuff from the likes of Stakker Humaniod and A Guy Called Gerald’s “Voodoo Ray.”

Ultimately, this all came together at around the age of 18 when I met Aldo Bender. He was running and DJ’ing this club in Laguna Beach called Club Post Nuclear. I called down to the club and asked if they were hiring DJs. Aldo, laughed at me on the phone, and told me to come down an audition. The audition went well and I became Aldo’s protégé. I would roll down to the club on Friday and Saturday nights and stand in the booth just listening to Aldo drop mix after mix after mix until finally I was allowed to throw down a half an hours set. He would hand me the records to play, from his kit, and then I would mix away. Finally, I was free to start playing my own records and sets.

It must have been around 1989-1990 when I started going to underground parties in Los Angeles that were put on by Gary Blitz, Steve Kool-aid, and a couple of other promoters. My first rave was in downtown Los Angeles in some rickety old meat wearhouse with no lights and a sound system just blaring acid house, techno and rave tunes galore. I remember specifically the moment I walked in the door that this is what I wanted to play.

From there it has morphed into what I play today.

It seems like in the early days of DJing, equipment choices were made for you, Technics turntables and a DJ mixer, now days the choices are not so obvious. DJs can use turntables, CDJs, or be laptop based. What are the primary factors for you in choosing to use Serato? Is there a missing piece of kit that would lead you away from your current setup?

Back in the day there weren’t that may options to choose from when buying DJ gear. There wasn’t really a DJ supply stores within a 20 mile radius of my house, so when I first started out DJ’ing, I would use a dual cassette tape deck and an old Hitachi belt-drive turntable that my Dad had given to me. I would fade a song out, press the “Turntable” option on my amp to play the next song. Right around my 14th birthday, I had saved enough money to buy an audio mixer from Radio Shack. My friend, Chris Grim, and I would get together once or twice a week after school and we would set up all of our gear and just play for hours. We both had a set of these old belt-drive turntables, a couple cassette decks and this crappy little Casio sampling keyboard going through our rickety Radio Shack mixers. We would mix two copies of some crappy 80s records and try to beat match them with electro hip-hop tracks. We were trying to extend the track for as long as we could. Making each extension sound different. It’s insane how many options DJ’s have nowadays. I mean, seriously, look at James Zabiella he has been weaned on technology and the things he can do with two CDJs, a 600 and EFX are insane. Imagine what is going to be available in a couple of years and the kids coming up are going to be able to do.

There are many reasons why I latched onto Serato and that was for the flexibility of carrying around thousands of tracks in my laptop, I’m able to download tracks at any given time and play them and I don’t need to carry around a big ass box of records.

I think if there was a way for me to plug my iPod directly into a mixer, like you do with the Wii remote for Guitar Hero, I would ditch my laptop and Serato.

What gear are you currently using in your studio?

For production, what I use Ableton, Reason, Absynth, and a couple of other plug-ins for creating loops and writing music. Once I’ve come up with a few elements for a track, then I’ll team up with my production partner, Marcosis, and we will export the loops into a super “special” piece of equipment and then sequence. We also use a plethora of obscure and vintage rack effects.

For DJ’ing I use two Technics 1200s, two CDJ1000s and Serato Scratch. Call me old-school, but I still like the interaction with vinyl. With CDJ’s I can have different beats and elements running while I mix over the top with vinyl.

What are your plans for the future of F4 Music? Any thought of making it a netlabel?

I really like the notion of net labels, but I also really like vinyl still. Ideally, I would like to concentrate on doing a really limited edition of vinyl, say 500 pieces, with some very special mixes and packaging. Then, for the net release, provide another set of mixes.

It seems like traditionally there was a lot more risk in releasing music, how do you think the advent of net labels is affecting that?

It’s not the net labels that are in question here, it’s the archaic licensing and traditional distribution channels of the major labels and the old-guard still in place. Net labels are smart. Distribution across the Internet is much smarter than pressing millions of pieces of CDs or vinyl, shipping them to thousands of stores and then hoping the masses will buy them. Now, I can just go to my favorite online shop and sell them tracks without some tangible return – aside from money. This is amazing. I mean, just five or six years back, the distribution channels were really small and there were just a few buyers who bought records, so getting a record labels tracks into those distribution channels was really tough. I use to go down to the record store every Thursday and wait for the shipment records to arrive so I could be the first one on all of the new releases. I don’t have to do that anymore. Now, I can go to beatport or djdownload and get all of the latest tracks I want in less than 10-15 minutes…and for cheaper than the price of an import piece of vinyl.

Nowadays, I can sell to net distribution channel and the tracks on the label can be in the hands of some kid in Bombay and on the turntables in Prague in just a matter of minutes. I think that is a good thing, not a bad thing.

Has working in Silicon Valley, specifically at Apple Computer affected your view of electronic music?

Not really, if anything, I think it has opened doors to other types of music that I would have never heard of before. There is such a diverse and intelligent group of people working here. And it’s not just working in Silicon Valley either. San Francisco is such a diverse a vibrant city. On any given night I can go out and see amazing live show, DJs, art installation or whatever. You name and San Fran has it.

Dirty Dirty Techno has moved from Anu to The End Up, what are your future plans for the party?

Yeah, Alland Byallo and I have teamed up with DJ Ladyhouse to merge Dirty Dirty Techno into Phonic for a bi-monthly event at The End Up here in San Francisco to continue to showcase quality artists and DJ’s.

New Podcast / Mix

Techno - the: metronome : project : podcast 001 - cwcushman

Welcome to the first metronome podcast. Each podcast will focus on a different aspect of EDM. This week Techno. You can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes by clicking on the advanced tab and add podcast. Enter this URL:

Hopefully it will be listed on iTunes shortly.

To download go to:

Track : Artist
Evil Dub (Original Mix) : Trentemoller
Red Box (Original Mix) : Ludwig Coenen
Less (Original Mix) : Baggy Bukaddor, Tim Fishbeck
Shake The Disease (Tiga Remix) : Depeche Mode
Remember Love (Dop Remix) : Noze
Getts Down : Modeler
Stay Together (Bubble Beats) : Barbara Tucker
The Ultraviolet Catastrophe : The Sky Patrol
Heater (Claude VonStroke Remix) : Samim
A Walk In The Park (Wink's Run Through The Park Interpretation) : DJ Minx
In The Music (Acapella) : Deep Swing
Ride The Pony (Original Mix) : Fuckpony
Tickle (Original Mix) : Booka Shade
Shiny Disco Balls (accapella) : Who Da Funk Feat. Jessica Eve
All About House Music (Noir 2007 Remix) : Noir
Boom Shaka (Boomshakapella) : Andre Basho
Dark Tide Disco (Original Mix) : Alland Byallo

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Top 10 (+1) 11 November 2007

Track : Artist
Dub-H (Real Tone Records) - Original Mix : Alix Alvarez, Franck Roger
What draws me to this track is that it creates nice tight groove that can work either in the middle of a deep house set or early in the evening with some progressive music.

All About House Music (Noir 2007 Remix) : Noir
Pure squelchy madness.

My Bleep (Rekids) (Original Mix) : Radio Slave
A minimal vibe that you can trance out to.

Turn To Me feat. Inda Matrix (Original Mix) : Brian Gionfriddo
Big room tribal progressive with a rocking female vocal.

Cosa Nostra (Original Mix) : Chaim
I like to balance out the deep minimal tracks that I play with more upbeat tracks like this. They still have that techno feel, but are much more upbeat.

Dark Tide Disco (Floppy Funk) - Original Mix : Alland Byallo
A dark techno track by the man I was lucky enough to play with at Dirty Dirty Techno in San Francisco.

Needle Damage (Chriss Ortega & Thomas Gold Dub) : DJ Dan
Banging Electro from DJ Dan, how can it go wrong?

Phunk (Intacto) - Original Mix : Shinedoe
A solid techno track where the melody become is being pounded out so hard that it is more rhythm than notes.

Heater (Claude VonStroke Remix) : Samim
The first time I heard this song I new I had to have it. So different than anything else on the dance floor, sure to bring a smile…

Faxing Berlin (Chris Lake Edit) : Deadmau5
I have to admit that I was very late to the Chris Lake party, but his Essential Mix blew me away. Here is a rising progressive gem from that.

Rollin' & Scratchin' : Daft Punk
I had this track on vinyl had been meaning to record it so that I can use it in Ableton, luckily the local public library had a copy of their greatest hits on CD saving me the trouble. Big room techno that will never go out of style.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dirty Dirty Techno in San Diego?

An opportunity has arisen for the:metronome:project to host a club night in downtown San Diego. With every opportunity like this first comes the excitement. Here is a chance to create a night that I would want to go to, my vibe, my music.

Unfortunately, that is quickly tempered by reality. A $2,500 guarantee, no support from management other than running the venue, and a previous cliental that was hip-hop driven and have refused to even check out previous attempts at electronic music nights (which have failed miserably).

To succeed I need to bring in partners which means watering down the vision. Quickly the night starts loses direction and instead of creating a night like Club Mighty in SF, it devolves into a cheap emulation of Ruby Skye relying on model wannabes and another overpriced DJ in an already saturated market.

Is it worth it, I have until Monday to decide…

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Where do you start?

So here it is, the first blog for the metronome project... Let's just start at the beginning:

The Metronome Project is dedicated to seeing the world through the eyes of the electronic music prisim. Where off notes, the miscellaneous, and rhythm have created a new form of music.