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  • Writer's pictureNathan Winter


Around 2007 I had managed to get my hands on a piece of gear that would change how I looked at DJing, and introduced me to the world of the digital DJ. I purchased a scratch amp, and some control vinyl on Ebay for Stantons FinalScratch system. This gear would allow me to play and manipulate music in real time from my hard drive. MY HARD DRIVE. I could download the song on Limewire, and try out my idea right away without needing to wait for my vinyl order to come in the mail. As an early 20-something, I could only admire Serato from afar because, well, being an electrical apprentice doesn’t pay that well.

This was a total game changer for my house parties.

When my package arrived, I was amped to try it out as soon as I got home. I tore into the box, made sure everything was there, and went ahead setting it up with my mixer and desktop PC. Low and behold, there was no software included with the winning bid. Luckily, I used to be fairly adept at finding what I needed online, legal or otherwise shaded in grey (I mean, I did buy the gear for it, right?). With the cracked version of the program installed, I was ready to rock. I couldn’t believe it worked so well. I must have tried out 100 songs that first night, and the icing on top of the cake? I no longer had to manually figure out the BPM for each individual track beforehand.

Hey Scott? Get in touch with the guys and let them know we’re having a party at my house this weekend.

I wasted no time setting up a party for the upcoming weekend. Every night leading up to Friday was filled with me scouring the internet for some good songs to play, and filling up the programs library to the bursting point. Somehow, word got spread around that my place was the party spot that Friday, and my poor rental house on the corner lot was so full, we had to walk sideways to get anywhere inside, and my yard was filling up outside. Needless to say, the police showed up around 11 or so, which was fine because I didn’t know where all these people came from. The system worked like a charm, everyone had a great time, and it was awesome.

You have never heard a more unanimous boo before in your life

Fast forward a few weeks, and a friend of mine needs someone to play music at his stag and doe party (a fundraiser for a couples wedding) so naturally he gets me to do it. We rent out some speakers, I borrow some lights and then proceed to ROCK THE HOUSE. For a total of 2.5 hours, then, when I was loading up the next track onto the empty deck, my whole system crashed. I went from the middle of a Pitbull song to silence in half a second flat. You have never heard a more unanimous boo before in your life. I thought they were going to drag me outside and string me up from my thumbs. I’ve never cued up a record that fast before in my life. Thus I learnt about the hazards of pirated DJ software.

Aside from the ulcer I gave myself, it went well.

The rest of the night went without major incidents. A few more total system crashes, but waiting for the track to almost be finished before loading the next one, and having a record on one table ready to go in case, saved me. Aside from the ulcer I gave myself, it went well. Hell, I even got compliments. That was the last event I did with FinalScratch. The software was awesome, but ultimately too unstable for me to do anything proper with, so it got retired to small house parties. Eventually I went completely digital, and got absorbed into the NI ecosystem, but back when I needed to wait for my record order to come in, this piece of kit was AWESOME and I will forever love the added freedom it gave an already free art.

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