Earlier this week a big controversy burst out as Kenny Summit, DJ, Producer and owner of LA club Cure and the Cause explained his “no laptop & controllers in the DJ  booth” DJ policy. The statement that started it all can be found here, but for future reference, I reproduce it below:

No more laptops in the DJ booth.
Unless you’re using it to control VINYL to do a turntablist type of set, a’la Jazzy Jeff type shit, or if you’re doing a LIVE thing where you’re actually programming shit on the fly. Keep your controller in your crib, dont come to work with training wheels. LEARN THE TOOLS OF THE TRADE already. Pioneer isn’t going anywhere any time soon, they ARE the industry standard, so brush up on how to use the CDJs already, get Rekordbox (its FREE) and buy a good USB stick for $40 that will store THOUSANDS of hours of music on it.
We opened this place to showcase talent. So, show us your talent. 🙂

Ouch. As expected, the online DJ community exploded and reactions, both negative as positive, erupted everywhere. Even Richie Hawtin felt he needed to react, opposing the ban has he feels it limits an artists personal approach.

On thursday then, Kenny Summit himself gave an interview to Magnetic Magazine explaining in more detail why he wants to ban laptops from the dj booth. Turns out his main motivation is to promote professionalism and avoid noobs walking in his club with basic controllers that mess up the gear setup and disturb the flow of the evening.

So what about controllers and laptops then?

My take? Much ado about nothing. So if Mr. Summit wants a controller/laptop free DJ booth, it’s his right to ask for it, since it is his club. if you as a DJ want to play there, make sure you can use the gear that is available to you. CDJ’s don’t take much effort to learn if you are a seasoned controller DJ, and preparing tracks to use them properly AND have things such as waveforms and BPM counter at your disposal just require you to use Rekordbox to prepare your tracks. Nothing much there.

There are thousands of clubs out there that will have absolutely NO problem with you showing up with your controller, and I do agree that if you bring a controller to the club, at least follow a few simple rules:

  • Know what you are doing. Be aware, in front, of the clubs installation, and know exactly how to plugin prior to starting your gig.
  • Don’t bring a 200 dollar controller to a club with a professional sound system. Bring quality gear, with a professional sound card and enough professional in & outputs so you can adapt to the clubs sound system. At the same time, avoid big controllers, because typically there will be no room for it in the average DJ booth.
  • Don’t use a 200 dollar PC either. If you machine dies while you are playing, not only you will look like an amateur, the clubs promoter/owner will as well. Act as a pro, use professional material. There is a reason why 99% of DJs use Macbook Pro.

So in short, be a professional and act as a professional, be ready to handle any situation, know your gear, learn as much as you can about industry standard gear such as Pioneer CDJ & DJM setups. A DJ is supposed to know all that, apart from being an artist.