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Live set or dj set?

When you are producer, this is a question that often gets asked. Usually in relation to "would a dj set cost less?" Well, it will probably ruffle some feathers, but really, what is the difference? Electronica producers are not live musicians. Their music is already made. Very few people on the dance floor have even the slightest grasp of what goes in to it, but why should they? Event promoters however, should at least have a clue.

There are many kinds of ‘live’ performances. The worst, and certainly the most boring, is when an artist hits the space bar and it all just plays. With Abelton nowadays, everything can be cued and timed perfectly. I do know producers who will mix the tracks individually with a sound card, but still on Abelton. So I ask you, what is the difference between that and CDs they have burned of their music?

Of course, using a touchpad, midi, controller or synth to add sounds makes it more ‘live’, but the backing track is the same, whether coming from a laptop or a CD. Plus, watching a DJ do something is usually more interesting. I can say from experience that it certainly was a hell of a lot more fun watching someone mix on vinyl. Also, mixing CDs means you never need to worry that your laptop will crash. It means that you can mix in a track from an artist that you admire when you see that it is needed on the dance floor.

The rush to put ‘live’ after so many artists is kind of silly, because it’s not really live at all. In fact, often when I see someone open their laptop, and I see that bright white apple logo, I expect something out of a tin.

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