Today we are celebrating School of Scratch Student DJ Eric Spindler from the USA, who has recently completed the 100 Days of Scratching challenge! ??❤️
Here is Eric’s 100th day post:
Huge congrats Eric!
I asked Eric some questions to help those of you who are considering doing the 100 Days of Scratching Project.
Welcome Eric! Can you give us some background on your interest in music, DJing and scratching?
I was born in 1975 so by the time I’m 7 I’m listening to Run DMC and The Fat Boys. My house was always a music house. My parents would always let us pick music and my uncle was a disco DJ circa 78-83 in the clubs of NYC and Washington DC.
In some ways it’s hearing and seeing Rockit by Herbie Handcock or Jam On It by Newcleus or Pump Up The Volume by M|A|R|R|S. In other ways it’s my Uncles influence (at that time just seeing him play and his decks).
At 16 I started to Dj (without my uncles influence) collecting music and making mixtapes. It wasn’t until I was 20 something that my uncle showed me what he knew and helped me make it my profession. I guess in all this scratching was just part of it. I love hip hop, am a child of it. I think for me hip hop was not just music but culture and scratching was just part of that.
What made you decide to undertake the 100 day challenge?
I thrive with daily work. I like things that I can plug at every day. Scratching has always been something I wanted to be better at. Sure I can mix and pick music, in fact I do it well enough to be paid to do it but I wanted to up my skills. Not for work or a client, but for me. Because I adore the path and the work.
What was your approach?
At first it was about creating a space where I could work and practice daily. I found setting up a spare set of decks and separating everything from gigging worked well for me. I just set out to hit the challenge. So 15 minutes practices at first, but as I developed my space and saw improvement over the first few days, it encouraged me to spend more time. Now I’m in that room 2-4 hours a day.
What is your recording and posting workflow like?
At first I just used my phone. I bought a crane stand so I could pose the phone and as soon as I did the exercise I’d chop it up and post. Success with that made me want to fill my practice with different challenges. So I sought out BPM Supreme challenges and Beat Junkie challenges, especially those that reflected what I was working on in School of Scratch (SoS).
What are your top tools / apps / software / equipment to capture and edit?
Getting used to video taping myself everyday had its challenges and learning curves. It wasn’t something I did before I joined SoS. Lately, I use a GoPro 8 and chop up video in iMovie and Adobe. It is one of many things I learned in the process of being an SoS student.
What did you learn?
A lot of what I learned was discipline. Deliberate practice and how to practice.
I feel this was probably the best lesson in SoS. How to practice.
When my uncle taught me he did a similar thing. Before I learned from him I had no idea how to beat match or pick music for a party. He showed me how to beat match, how to count beats and measures and how to apply and practice it. SoS did the same. Through lessons and drills and the challenge, I learned to discipline my practice and direct it.
What were some of the highlights of the 100 day project for you?
The video and posting process helped me to see my progress. Having a community that encourages and is listening helped a lot too. Highlights for me were using SoS with other trainings from the web (YouTube etc) to kinda cross train. For example. I would practice with SoS my crabs. I’d do the lesson QnA. Then I’d watch Angelo or Skratch Bastid on YouTube and see how they teach it. Then I’d go back to SoS and do my crabs but with a speed booster or another QnA.
I guess using all the resources at SoS and sorta building a syllabus that I could put to work daily.
What helped you on your way?
What has really helped is having such a supportive team. The School of Scratch crew, as well as social media. I’m always hearing from friends that they are watching me through this process. It’s great that I don’t feel judged or embarrassed. In reality, a good student has to know that you are probably not going to sound good for a long time. The student must accept this and be comfortable in being uncomfortable.
What didn’t work?
Forcing it. This pandemic really put a pause on my DJ career. Honestly it’s been scary. There were a few times that the very real fear prevented me from wanting to practice. This happened a few times but as I pushed forward I found ways to motivate beyond what I was feeling. When I did I noticed I felt better. So when that feeling came up and I lost my inspiration I’d push through or I’d spend time on the site and look to be inspired.
What was the most challenging part and how did you deal with that?
I think I kinda answered this in one of the other questions but a lot of it is about attitude. I don’t know if I’ve ever thought of myself as talented. I really like the idea that hard work is the solution. I can accept that. Hard work has always been ok with me. So just accepting that I might not get it but through hard work I will.
What are your top tips for anyone who wants to undertake this challenge?
Fec perfection. Just do it, show up and do the work don’t think about getting good or when (if) it’ll happen. Just do it. Be in love with the work.
If you were to do this challenge again, what, if anything would you do differently?
This challenge has showed me how poor my right hand is. So I’ve already started 100 days on my right.
You are a School of Scratch student. What has your school and learning experience been like?
It’s been amazing. I tried to do it a few years back. But I didn’t have a practice space. Like many gigging DJs, I got my practice in when I played becuase I played every week. The problem of course is that you don’t really do deliberate practice. You’re just treading water. When I decided to get back to class in the new year. I committed to creating a practice space and decided I needed a Lifetime Membership. For me, that kind of commitment was necessary to help push me toward daily practice. It’s one of the best decisions of my career. And one of the best I’ve made for me.
How do you approach ongoing learning and staying fresh?
Even before SoS, DJing was my life. I work for a Party productions outfit in Boston as their DJ and as the music coordinator for about 500-750 parties and events a year. I have a huge record collection and I mod and repair turntables as a side business. So staying committed is easy because it’s threaded into my life. But making the effort to update music crates. New beats, new scratch sounds or records. I always try to look outside as well as inside the school for inspiration from other DJs, or lessons from other DJs too.
Do you have any wisdom on learning that you can share with our students?
I know it ain’t easy in 2020 but focus on enjoying the work. Fame and attention are powerful drugs in 2020, but they are fleeting. The work, enjoying the culture. Ground yourself in these things.
What is your favourite scratch sound / tool / record?
I love Dirtstyle’s Backsliding Turkey Cuts. Or Beats for Jugglers by Roc Raida.
I love to scratch with real records. Serato is cool and all but real records are the best imo.
What is your favorite scratch technique?
Of what I know: The Crab Scratch.
Of what I’m learning: The Boomerang.
Who is your favorite DJ?
RIP: Roc Raida / Jam Master Jay / Larry Levan
Do you have a favorite track by another artist which features scratching?
Public Enemy Shut em Down. That scratch solo is so fun. Also Beats to the Rhyme by Run DMC – Jam Master Jay is all over that track.
What is next for you?
More practice!!! I’ve taken on 100 days on my weak side. I continue to learn my scratches and apply. I’m also training at Manual Mix and one on one lessons with Rob Swift. I want to be able to scratch and juggle as well as I can pick music or run through styles and genres.
Where can we find you online?
I run a DJ Crew called the Klick.
klicktapes.com is where we showcase our mixtapes.
email@example.com is how to find most if not all my social media.
Spindler is my real name so if u google me I’m sure you’ll find me.
Anything else you want to add?
Just how happy I am to have found my place here. SoS is special and I’m so grateful to be part of the team
That’s a wrap!
Thanks Eric! Thank you for sharing your experience and process with us. There is so much wisdom and inspiration in here for anyone who is learning and establishing a practice routine. You really are a great learner! Stoked that you are continuing the challenge.
Thank you for being part of our Supa Scratch Crew. Looking forward to seeing your continued progress and videos on Instagram and inside our School.
About 100 Days of Scratching
100 Days of Scratching is a project I started and completed (see here) and have been encouraging my students to do the same – as a way to get in the habit of daily practice, documenting progress and connecting with others.
Eric joins fellow School of Scratch Students aka the Supa Scratch Crew: Roli Rho, Andrei, Jaden, Molino, Jamie, Jerry, Alina, Toby, Jay Rakim, Vanessa, Julian, Crystal, Smallimus, Allexia, Thomas, Ashley, Adam, Erick, Magnus, Roly G and Denise who have all completed the 100 Days of Scratching project. What an amazing crew of creators!
Wanna take part in the 100 Days of Scratching Project?
You can take part in the 100 Days of Scratching project and join our group of supportive DJs here:
Happy Scratching! 😀
– Emma Short-E