Today we are celebrating School of Scratch Student Jaden Darchon from the USA, who has recently completed the 100 Days of Scratching challenge! ??❤️
Here is his 100th day post:
Huge congrats Jaden! You showed up consistently and made such great progress, even in the midst of challenges! What great energy!
I asked Jaden some questions to help those of you who are considering doing the 100 Days of Scratching Project.
Hey Jaden! Can you give us some background on your interest in music and scratching?
When I was young my folks bought me a standard Baldwin piano and signed me up for piano lessons for about half a year. That’s what sparked my interest in music; I never took it very far beyond a beginner level, but that early experience sparked my interest in producing music (at least attempting to!) across a variety of platforms. Mostly old tracker programs 99% of people have no idea about (ImpulseTracker, XM, ModPlugTracker, ScreamTracker). Don’t get me wrong though, what I produced back then was not great 🙂
As far as scratching goes, I took an interest in it about two years ago. I got into it by watching a few of my favorite local DJs work and branched out into learning about redbull3style, big name scratch DJs and the whole culture around turntablism. For a good year I contemplated doing it, but was too scared to hop in and give it a shot. Then, one day.. I just did!
What made you decide to undertake the 100 day challenge?
Pretty simple answer, but I decided to face my fear of failure / imperfection and just give it a go. Perfectionism is my main roadblock when it comes to progressing and I’m working on tearing that mentality down. 🙂
What was your approach?
Initially, it was just to just get on the decks. There’s something to be said about mentally prepping yourself by making that commitment – no matter how small – daily. Eventually I started to embrace the concept of deliberate practice and that’s where things actually started to improve.
What is your recording and posting workflow like?
I have a post on Instagram about it with more detail, but the high level flow is pretty straightforward.
- Record with DLSR camera.
- Simultaneously record with audio interface on Audacity (be sure to set proper sample rate.)
- Use LightWorks to synchronize the audio from the camera w/ the Audacity stream.
- Touch up with effects, watermark export video file.
- Transfer the video file to my phone and post it on Instagram.
What are your top tools / apps / software / equipment to capture and edit?
- Nikon 3400 DLSR for recording video
- Audacity for recording audio (using a Focusrite 2×2 3rd gen interface) to a PC, Windows 10
- LightWorks for video editing
- Telegram to transfer video files between my devices
- Instagram to post 😉
What did you learn?
Everything. All the basics, at least. Record control, hand positioning, timing. There’s still a lot of work to do, but School of Scratch (SoS) gave me a great foundation to build upon. This is both because of the high quality content produced by Emma Short-E & the positive, cultivating School of Scratch community.
What were some of the highlights for you?
Well, not many people know this outright, but the first time I tried the challenge medical issues came up. Severe ones. My life was blindsided and flipped upside down and a lot of things had to change immediately. My health both mental and physical greatly suffered, especially for the first month, and I took a hiatus from the challenge until I was in a better state. It wasn’t until I started coming to terms with my new reality that I decided to take my happiness into my own hands and engage the Challenge once again. It was a monumental wake up call as to how fragile and unpredictable life is. Don’t take it for granted, trust me!
What helped you on your way?
My extremely supportive partner, Jay (yep, we’re Jay and Jaden). God knows how many late nights he heard the same failed 1-click flare scratch over and over. I would have ripped my hair out if I were him.
Also, I have to give it up to a few of my biggest role models. My personal trainer Marcus Abraham (DJINNFIT) who listened to me go on endlessly about my personal and DJ related gripes. I couldn’t tell you how many times he whipped my mentality back into shape!
DJ Yodah – my sensei, instructor and friend, owner of GlobalBPM, saw my work and encouraged me throughout the process. DJ K-Swift, also based in San Diego, sent me positive energy on the regular to keep going.
And OF COURSE the endless stream of positivity in human form known as Emma ^_^ There were many days that needed a bright spot and the SoS crew served as a reliable source of inspiration every single time. I am thankful every day for the bright north stars of human beings I am blessed to know!
What didn’t work?
From a life perspective – taking work mentality home. I work a full-time (stressful) engineering job. It pays the bills, but it’s got its baggage. Taking that baggage home was a game killer. Check your baggage at the door.
More DJ specific – freestyling all the time didn’t work. Deliberate practice is key. Since one of my big goals is to DJ with a fullsuit on (read: fursuit) optics are basically a no-go. This means mixing and scratching blind. Staring at the record or staring at the laptop (God forbid) does not work.
What was the most challenging part and how did you deal with that?
Regarding work/life (or in my case, work/work) balance means checking your baggage at the door. I learned this through my role models & several books that I read (Atomic Habits is a great one!). Make small changes to your life. Carve out a space for positivity and you. Own your future by changing your environment. On that note, change your environment – don’t let your environment change you. And if it is changing you, select a better environment. For me, that means getting out into clubs more, forcing myself to (shudder) socialize and just cut loose.
What are your top tips for anyone who wants to undertake this challenge?
Roll with it. It’s OK if you miss a day. Or two. Or like me, a month. Life happens. But never let the flame of your passion and dream be extinguished. Pick yourself up when you need to. Check in with your SoS brothers and sisters – we are always there for you. When it comes to practice, be deliberate. That means performing the same (expletive) technique over.. and over.. and over. But do so deliberately! You are most effective when you push yourself 10% above your comfort zone. That’s a level where you’re both growing (the goal) and succeeding at a high enough rate to psychologically keep yourself in the game.
If you were to do this challenge again, what, if anything would you do differently?
A lot of things went right, honestly. I would do most of it the same way. The only thing I’d change would be switching over to Deliberate mode earlier. I recall spending a few weeks in freestyle land – but hey, in retrospect, I’d never scratched a beat in my life so who cares. Just roll with it.
You are a School of Scratch student. What has your school experience been like?
Top tier. I really can’t be more thankful for my experience.
What is your favourite scratch sound / tool / record?
Scratching with my friend Lorenso’s (hilarious) voice clips is always a great break from reality. And sanity.
Who is your favorite DJ?
Tough question. So many DJs are producers. Then you have Turntablists. Then you have Selectors, mixers. Very tough to choose a one-size fits all. Here’s my list of favorites; DJ Yodah, DJ K-Swift, DJ Lancia, DJ Lycan Leopard, DJ Mustard and DJ Snake.
What is your favourite song that features scratching?
The Breaks by Kurtis Blow.
What is your favorite scratch technique?
What is next for you?
In the spirit of still being alive, it’s time to overhaul and realize my dreams. There is no time like the present. I am doing anything and everything to be an authentic, humble and versatile DJ that honors the artform and advances the craft. To that end, my biggest hurdle is socializing. This cat’s going to have to get used to working out from beneath the moon’s shadow. 🙂
Where can we find you online?
I can be found on a variety of platforms – all use the handle “djdarchon” and are accessible from my website djdarchon.com
Anything else you want to add?
Thank you Emma and thank you my SoS brothers and sisters for helping me take the next step in my life. Let’s keep the positive energy going– each and every one of us. 🙂
That’s a wrap!
Thanks Jaden! You are an inspiration! Loving your enthusiasm for life and scratching! So much wisdom in there to help people really start creating and living fully. Thank you for sharing with us. Thank you for being part of our Supa Scratch Crew and for all that you contribute. 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.
Molino joins fellow School of Scratch Students aka the Supa Scratch Crew: 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