Hey folks I thought I would provide an overview, recap and review / wrap-up of 30 Days of Scratching.
Before we dive in, I just wanted to say a BIG thanks to everyone who followed 30 Days of Scratching, commented, encouraged and shared. I really appreciate it! THANK YOU!
Now, onto the overview:
30 Days Of Scratching Complete Video Playlist
Overview – The Stats
- 30 videos
- 3 hours, 58 minutes
- 3,527 views
- 11 Scratch Records
- Too many scratch samples to count!
- 8 different different coloured Serato Control Records.
Complete List of Video Posts
- Day 1 – Take Back The Night Cuts
- Day 2 – Give It Up Cuts
- Day 3 – In The House Cuts
- Day 4 – Waves Cuts
- Day 5 – Sometimes Remix Cuts
- Day 6 – Tokyo Black Star Remix Cuts
- Day 7 – New Year’s Resolution Cuts
- Day 8 – Holiday Cuts
- Day 9 – Magrouni Cuts
- Day 10 – Mellow Forever Cuts
- Day 11 – Me Or The Papes Cuts
- Day 12 – Allow me Too Cuts
- Day 13 – Trippin’ At The Disco Cuts
- Day 14 – Flyin’ Cuts
- Day 15 – Funk 13 Cuts
- Day 16 – Mirrors Cuts
- Day 17 – ScratchStep2 Cuts
- Day 18 – Beef Patty Cuts
- Day 19 – Greatest Dancer Cuts
- Day 20 – Modern Thug Cuts
- Day 21 – Pushed Princes Cuts
- Day 22 – So Groovy Cuts
- Day 23 – Lorde Royals Cuts
- Day 24 – Axel F Cuts
- Day 25 – Gato Cuts
- Day 26 – Flava In Ya Ear Cuts
- Day 27 – Optimist Cuts
- Day 28 – Brick House Cuts
- Day 29 – What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 2) Cuts
- Day 30 – Funky Hip Hop Mix Cuts
I’ve provided official / above board links to the beats where possible. If there is no link, it means it came from vinyl or maybe even a somewhat *ahem* underground source and you will have to use the power of the internet (google, soundcloud, youtube) to search and find your own copy 😉 I believe in supporting artists work by paying wherever there is an option.
- Justin Timberlake – Take Back The Night
- KC and the Sunshine Band – Give it Up
- Pete Rock and C.L Smooth – In The House instrumental
- Freddie Joachim Waves instrumental
- J Dilla Sometimes (Remix) [Instrumental]
- Tokyo [Tokyo Black Star Remix] – DJ Mitsu The Beats
- Madlib – New Year’s Resolution Instrumental
- Dizzee Rascal – Holiday Instrumental
- Erik Truffaz – Magrouni (Imhotep Remix)
- Studio Scratches – Mellow Forever 97 BPM from Sunshine Breaks – Beats For Scratch Practice Volume 5
- Jeru The Damaja (produced by DJ Premier) – Me Or The Papes Instrumental
- DJ Jazzy Jeff – Allow me Too
- People Under The Stairs – Trippin’ At The Disco Instrumental
- Studio Scratches – Flyin’ Instrumental
- Studio Scratches – Funk 13
- Justin Timberlake – Mirrors Instrumental
- Studio Scratches – ScratchStep2
- Paul Nice & DJ Wisdom – A track from Beef Patty Breaks. I am not sure of the name of the exact track
- Sister Sledge – He’s The Greatest Dancer –From Nile Rodgers presents: The Chic Organization: Up All Night (The Greatest Hits)
- DJ Brace – Modern Thug
- BassVader & Studio Scratches – Pushed Princes and Four & Low
- Jocelyn Alice & Right The Stars – So Groovy (Reach out of the Darkness)
- Lorde – Royals Instrumental
- Harold Faltermeyer – Axel F
- Mark Rae – Gato
- Craig Mack – Flava In Ya Ear Instrumental
- Opensouls – Optimist Instrumental
- The Commodores / Unknown Producer Brick House Edit
- DJ Shadow – What Does Your Soul Look Like? (Part 2)
- Naughty by Nature – Hip Hop Hooray & Uptown Anthem, Mister K – Crazy In Love edit, Q-Tip – Vivrant Thing, Amerie – 1 Thing Instrumental, ???? – Puerto Rico White Label.
Scratch Records Used
- DJ Vajra Cuts n Drums.
- Super Seal 3D – Qbert
- Best Of Skratchy Seal: 10 Years Of Superseal- Qbert
- Digital Skipless Scratch Record #27
- Digital Skipless Scratch Record #28
- Digital Skipless Scratch Record Volume 1
- Super Seal in the 4th Dimension. Glow in the dark! – Qbert
- Super Seal – Qbert
- Muscle Skip Proof #14 by Le Jad.
- Symatic Scratch Samples
- Enter the Scratch Game 2 by DJ Hertz
Exact Scratch Samples Used
I think I have covered off most of the samples I used here, but there were so many and they are kinda weird to write out!
DJ Vajra Cuts n Drums
- say yeh, yeh, yeh
- yo, yo, yo, yo, yo, yo
- ahh, fresh
- 1 2 3 4 5 breakdown
- check it out
- yeh we give you much more
- so fresh
- cutting up my record like come on, huh
- uh uh
- every record i’ll be cuttin
- ahh beep
- ahh yeh, funky fresh
- it’s fresh
- get ready, good –
- ahh beep-
- cshhhh, say what-
- gotta stay fresh ma x
- here’s what we do, scratchin
- here we go, ha, here we go-
- hey, hey, hey –
- Ey what’s happening? How you all doin’
- ah, huh, uh
- ahh yeh (echo)
- ahh yeh (group)
- alright, here we go
- ahhhh, fresh
- all that scratchin’s making you itch
Super Seal in the 4th Dimension
- hey, wahhhht
- hey (crowd), whuuu
- ahhhhhhhhhhhhh (whisper), uh, ah, uh
- break down
- get back
- come on, yeh
- 1, 2, 3, uh, oh
- uh, go
- say whut, hah, what say what
- ah yeh, funky fresh
- cut, say what, what, yo, yo
- 1,2,3,4, hit
- it’s freeeeeeesh
- fresh fresh fresh fresh
- it’s drop woooo
Best of Super Seal
- get down, go, huh, yo,
- say whut, what, yo,
- ah yeh, funky fresh
- makin me itch, arh
- yes, no, yep
- yeh, yeh, yeh, yehhhhh, ye, cshhhhh, ye, ah, uh, eh, yeh
- yeh, check it out, what,
- say what?
- it’s fresh
- cut it up fresh
- uh, ah
- ahh, ahhhh (whisper)
- yeh, uh
- 1, 2, 3, 2, 1
- what you wanna do
- holla back
- and you don’t stop
- like this, like that
Colours of records
Not an essential piece of information but one you might find interesting all the same!
- Neon Pink
- Kitty Pink
- Glow in the Dark / Minty Green
- Butter Rugs
- D-Styles Tablecloths
My favourite videos / memorable moments / mishaps / highlights
- My Favourite video that was the most enjoyable and fun to make – Day 19 – Greatest Dancer. The track is just so funky and I absolutely loved scratching over it. Folami from Chic / Nile Rogers saw my video and thought it was HOT! That made my day of course! (We all need a little love!)
- Video that was the most challenging – Day 30 – Funky Hip Hop Mix – lots of mixing and then editing!
- Playing with cutting up Lorde’s vocals at the start of Day 23.
- Day 17 – playing with scratch sentences that were in time with the dubstep beat.
- Discovering how to properly use the cue function on my mixer which meant I could load up samples instantly.
- Coming up with a new scratch combo pattern.
- Someone thinking I was disrespectful for throwing my Butter Rug slip mat in this video – it was all for laughs! No Butter Rugs were harmed!
- Forgetting to record the audio!
- Running out of battery!
- Running out of space on the memory stick and cutting off the end of the video!
- Getting interrupted by the doorbell!
- Your positive comments and encouragement.
- You posting your own videos.
- What were the highlights for you?
How I Did It – My Process
I took a considered approach, it was waaaaay more than just simply putting on a beat and scratching. The time that went into making the videos was significant.
Here is an overview of my process and the work that goes into making the videos:
- Choosing a good beat.
- Finding the right samples to scratch with.
- Practicing my scratching and experimenting to see if the beat and scratch samples work together.
- Setting up the camera / recording equipment and getting the best angle.
- Recording the video (sometimes more than once if i messed up royally!)
- Transferring the video and audio files onto the computer.
- Editing the video in Final Cut Pro.
- Uploading to YouTube.
- Setting the video info and any annotations in YouTube.
- Writing the blog post.
- Publishing the video and blog post.
- Posting to Facebook and social media networks.
- Saving the videos to my iPhone.
- Picking a section to post on Instagram.
- Clearing up and preparing for the next day.
You can see that it’s a full time job!
Why Did I Take On This Challenge?
Good question! I asked myself the same thing on the tough days.
Seriously though, too often I wait around to “feel” inspired to create scratch videos. I wanted to challenge the notion of needing to wait to be inspired, be motivated or feel like doing something before you can do it.
I haven’t released many videos in the last year so I wanted to see what was possible and give you all some new videos. It was my hope that these videos would inspire and encourage you to practice, have fun on the decks and maybe even record your own videos so you can look back and see how far you progress in 30 days.
I honestly didn’t think too much about this challenge before hand. It was a concept of an idea. Actually on October 1st, I noticed the date and just got going! it was probably good that I didn’t think too much about the work involved or I might not have ever got started! Sometimes its good to just throw yourself into things. I was curious to see what would happen in the 30 days and beyond.
Here are all the quotes that inspired and encouraged me to start this project:
“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.” – Chuck Close
“When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.” – Steven Pressfield
“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.” – Steven Pressfield
“Someone once asked Somerset Maughham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. “I write only when inspiration strikes,” he replied. “Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”” – Steven Pressfield
“Start your journey before you see the end” – Seth Godin
“Do you think we don’t need your art, or are you afraid to produce it?” – Seth Godin
When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly – Gretchen Rubin
My Thoughts / Reflection
I am glad that I undertook this challenge and even more so that I completed it!
I enjoyed using a range of different beats. In my videos I usually use my own beats to avoid any copyright issues and to make sure that I maintain complete ownership. That said, scratching is part of hip hop and there are so many classic beats out there that I love to scratch over and I wanted to get into that a bit more.
The videos were maybe a little long. With so much information out there on the internet it is very easy to get overwhelmed. That said, I think people did watch them and got something from them. Sometimes our attention lacks – many of us simply do not have 10 minutes to watch a YouTube video. I think the people that did though really got into them.
People seemed to really like the Instagram clips. 15 seconds isn’t too much time and you can showcase a really good pattern or two. A short sharp shot of scratch inspiration.
I did honestly find this 30 day challenge hard! I needed focus and discipline and sometimes I really didn’t feel like scratching. I also felt pressure to put out really good scratching and not make too many mistakes. This mindset doesn’t make for free and easy self expression! Try recording if you haven’t, when you hit the red button sometimes your cuts will magically get harder to do! I wanted to push through this and overcome.
At times I felt that my cuts got really repetitive and I felt like I need to work on new patterns and to further develop my flow.
It was great to learn and discover new things along the way. I definitely know more than when I started.
I got more comfortable just setting up and recording even if I didn’t feel like it. I got to work and found that the inspiration showed up as I got in motion.
The videos are effectively live performances. They were not really practice cuts. If I were to show you my actual practice sessions, it would be really hard to watch and kinda disjointed as I make mistakes and stop and start and experiment. Perhaps insightful but boring! These are more Scratch Freestyle videos. It is basically one take and go! Unlike working on a project where you get to draft say an article or a drawing and refine it until you are happy with it, this is a one shot event. I did occasionally cut mistakes out to keep things tight, but most of the videos were one take. I had to record a few takes somedays when my cuts were not flowing properly.
It was so awesome to see a few of you join in and record videos. To me this was massive. I realised it takes a huge amount of energy and commitment to do the 30 days, but I has some space and time in which I could do this, not everyone can to the same level. So the fact that people recorded even 1 video was great. I love to know that what I am doing makes a difference and the videos people made and even the people that did not make videos but left comments to say they were inspired to practice as a result really encouraged me on this 30 day journey.
- Have fun.
- We are our own worst critics.
- Aim for progress not perfection.
- Never stop learning.
- Experiment and make mistakes.
- Don’t take it too seriously.
- Know your equipment.
- Make sure everything is charged up!
- Carve out time for deliberate creation – schedule it in your calendar if possible,
- Don’t worry about being inspired or motivated, just show up and get going, magic things will happen!
- Plan for interruptions and work to avoid – let others know that you are working /creating and not to disturb you.
- Persevere, persever, persevere!
- Reach out to others for encouragement and perspective.
- Be Brave + Be Brilliant!
- Put your work out there and be vulnerable. Haters gonna hate, ignore them.
- Take away all barriers to creation.
- Keep things tidy and organised so you can act and create without hassle.
- Eliminate distractions when creating – turn off your phone, computer, email and social networks.
- If you want to learn, create or achieve something new, consider making it a priority and moving it to first thing in the morning before you do anything else (checking email, instagram, twitter, facebook, browsing the web, etc.). Watch what happens. OR, find the best time of day for you to create. Some people like to create late at night. There is something peaceful about this when everyone else is sleeping.
- Embrace imperfection and smile.
- Warm up, relax, believe and persevere!
- Try something different and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
- Learn more about what your equipment can do and use it creatively to have some fun and do things not traditionally possible with conventional vinyl.
- Stay relaxed but focused when you have limited time to complete a task.
- Inspiration is everywhere – keep your eyes and ears open.
- Ask others for help when you need it – e.g finding new tracks – thanks Amy! Also DJ Jeff. Fresh perspectives really help
Some thoughts on YouTube
As you may already know, YouTube recently changed the comments system to be linked in with Google Plus. I am still getting used to the new comments system – bear with me and if I don’t reply to your questions immediately, hang in there whilst I figure it out! I am embracing the change! I have noticed the comments have gone down, maybe others are having similar struggles with the new system.
I honestly been finding YouTube kinda distracting lately. I cannot control what information and videos show up on my page and I all too often find myself clicking on unrelated videos and wasting the time that I could spend making new tutorials and beats for you all.
I really like the idea of a focused “Zen” type space dedicated to learning to scratch – this is where the School of Scratch comes in featuring soley my tutorial videos. Of course it will be totally ad free. Once you are in you are there to learn, get inspired and make connections with other like minded scratch DJs.
Of course, the positive side of YouTube is that it has let me reach so many people and connect with you all.
Some of you have been asking me to carry on making more of these practice videos. So far I’ve been asked for:
- 30 Days of Scratching Part 2
- “Shortember” and “Shortanuary”! (A December or January series)
- A “12 Days of Christmas” series
It is fantastic that you like them and I am touched that you want me to carry on!
Whilst the videos are entertaining and hopefully inspiring, you can see the work that went into making them. I feel like I can give more and better value to you all in the form of tutorials and explanation of techniques and combos. I really love to do this. I truly desire to make something really useful that makes an impact. To me the scratch freestyle videos are more of a showcase / icing on the cake / end result, with the how to instruction more the meat and bulk that help you create your own scratch freestyles.
So, at the moment I am focusing on:
- Recharging, resting and embracing the winter season here in the UK (brrrrrr) 🙂
- Planning and building the School of Scratch including video lessons, courses and a possible forum.
- Learning new scratches.
- Experimenting with recording 15 second technique mini demo videos to put out on Instagram.
- Collaboration with others to produce new Beats for Scratch Practice.
- Writing a DJ Equipment Guide – I get many, many questions on what equipment to buy and use, so I hope to take the hard work out of the research and create this guide to get you going and help you make good equipment decisions.
What could you do next?
Record your own series of videos and share them with the Studio Scratches Community. 30 days too much? Make it a week, or even 5 days!
Sign up to be notified when my School of Scratch opens.
Over to you
I would love it if you could answer some or all of these questions for me in the comments:
- What do you want to see next from me?
- What do you need the most help with?
Until next time…
Happy Scratching! 😀
– Emma Short-E