Musicians Laud New Technology

Samuel “DJ Shiftee” M. Zornow ’08—considered by many to be one of the best disc jockeys in the world—and bass player and music producer Daniel F. Freeman ’05 argued that new digital music technology has revolutionized what it means to be a DJ and created a new DJ culture.

The two music professionals hosted a talk as well as a DJing and production workshop at the Science Center on Thursday sponsored by Quad Sound Studios, a Harvard student group dedicated to music recording and production of which Freeman is an alumnus.

Zornow said that new music technology has allowed DJs to “interact with music in a way we were never able to do before.”

“We can push our music further now,” Zornow said. “We can really push what it means to be a DJ and play with that definition a lot more than we could before.”

Zornow rejected suggestions that technology has taken the “skill out of DJing.”

“Sure, it does make things easier, but you still have to know how to use these tools, how to read the crowd, how to produce the energy,” Zornow said. “It’s not cheating, because you’re doing a bunch of crazy stuff on top that would be impossible otherwise. And with new technology, DJs have way more authorship over their own tracks.”

Freeman said that new technology has made music production more accessible to a wide range of people.

“People around the world now have access to the same musical tools,” Freeman said. “What separates them is knowledge and dedication.”

Arnold “Chip” B. Peinado ’12, a co-president of Quad Sound Studios who organized the event, praised the fact that students like himself who are considering a career in music had the chance to meet major figures in the realm of DJing and electronic music production.

“I think this is a really exciting opportunity, especially for students who are interested in entering the music business,” Peinado said. “It’s really important to hear from people who are doing well in the industry.”

Students who attended the event said that they found the workshop informative.

“I really came because I wanted to learn more about the technological side of music production,” said Ashley D. Jamerson ’15, a songwriter who is contemplating a career in the music business. “I feel like I know a lot more about the technology that goes into music to make it sound like it sounds.”

Benjamin L. Sobel ’15, who said he came primarily to learn more about how new technology affects live performances, said that he was impressed by the speakers’ presentations.

“I thought what they said about the technology was really cool,” Sobel said.

—Staff writer Mercer R. Cook can be reached at mcook@college.harvard.edu.

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