Danny Rampling Interview – Digital DJ & Native Instruments Traktor


As we’re sure you know Danny Rampling needs no introduction. Danny made his name back in the 80′s as a revolutionary dance music pioneer and is now affectionately known as the Godfather of the British House Music scene.

From his ground breaking club night ‘Shroom’ through to his legendary radio shows Danny has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in DJing, promoting, event management and brand creation over the past 20 years. Which he recently collated into the international selling book “Everything You Need To Know About DJing and Success”.

In the first in a series of interviews FunkNaughty caught up with Danny to talk about digital DJing and his preferred weapon of choice Native Instruments Traktor.

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Tom Budden – Alive Recordings Interview

Continuing our series of interviews with top DJs and producers FunkNaughty caught up with Alive Recordings head-honcho Tom Budden.

Tom has been a leading force at the forefront of the UK’s south coast  house & techno scene for a number of years now.  First applying his DJ skills with his residency at the infamous High Tide parties, and swiftly moving onto even bigger heights with high profile gigs at many of the  UK’s top clubs, such as Ministry Of Sound, Sankeys, Shindig, and The End. His International career took of as well with trips all around the globe and tours with the likes of James Zabiela and Nic Fanciulli.

In 2008 Tom took another leap in his career by launching Alive Recordings. A deep/tech house label dedicated to producing music with ‘that’ groove. The groove that keeps people moving; on dance floors all a cross the globe; every Saturday night.

In the past two years Alive Recordings  has grown into a very respectable label within the industry with artists  from around the globe producing tracks played by the likes of Richie Hawtin, Danny Howells, Milton Jackson and Steve Angello.

Taking some time out of his busy schedule FunkNaughty were able to catch up with Tom and put a number of questions to him about digital DJing, producing and much more.

It’s over to Tom….

What’s does your DJing set up consist of at the moment?

At the moment it depends on what’s available at the club. Since the new Pioneer CDJ2000’s have become more widely available I’ve been playing from a USB stick with my music organized in to different playlists, via the rekordbox software, according to the time of night or gig. If somewhere doesn’t have the new CDJ’s I’m using Traktor with the time coded cd’s and a X1 controller for loops and effects. I sometimes use a Korg koassilator for extra effects.

How has digital technology changed your DJ sets?

It has changed it completely. I’ve come from playing vinyl to cd’s, then to traktor and now to the new CDJ2000’s. I now do a lot of looping whilst mixing, which I think has changed the way I play, for example looping the end of a track with some fx in the mix to build in to the next track.

Which midi controller do you use when DJing?

I only use the Native Instruments X1 for Traktor, it is set up really well to use straight out of the box and the build quality is great. I was using a Korg Nano Pad as a controller for Traktor which I really liked but I went through a few of them within a year as they weren’t strong enough to be chucked in the bag every week.

Do you have a piece of DJ kit that you can’t live without?

Nothing out of the ordinary! The laptop is the most obvious thing, for getting new tracks while on the road and being able to go through music before a gig.

You’ve been producing and releasing tracks quite frequently over the past two years, how would you describe your sound at the moment?

Groovy tech house really. I get a bit bored making the same sort of thing every time, so some tracks might be on a bit more of a deep house tip and some might be a bit tougher or more melodic, just depends how I’m feeling on the day really.

Alive Recordings has grown into a very respectable label in a short time with many international DJs playing Alive’s releases. How have you gone about building and crafting the label and the productions being released on it?

I suppose it’s just a representation of the sort of stuff I would play out. Again, some of the music might be the sort of thing I’ll play early on in the evening and some might be more like the stuff I’ll play in a peak time set. But then it also has to have the ‘ALiVE’ sound. There are a few key newcomers that have become regulars like Teva and Pedramovich. I’ve also drafted in some artists that I’ve been supporting or look up to like Jet Project, Milton Jackson, Acumen, Arnaud Le Texier and Onno.

Can you give any advice to any up and coming producers on how to get their music heard and signed to a successful label like Alive?

The main thing is to make sure you’re 100% happy with your production before you send it to labels. I don’t think many labels would listen if they get sent something that is ‘almost ready’. Then it’s important to make sure you’re sending the music to the right labels that suit your music. I often get demos from people who obviously don’t know what sort of label ALiVE is, and send their Psy Trance Folk Jazz or whatever. Also get as much information about yourself across too.

What’s your DAW of choice?

Mainly Reason but sometimes a bit of Ableton Live as well.

What are your other key bits of studio kit?

Because I use Reason I don’t have much in the way of hardware. I have a pair of Adam-A7 monitors at home, which I’ve been really happy with. I’ll go to my friend Dave (Reset Robot) Robertson’s studio to finish up my tracks. He also has Adam Monitors and a good, dead sounding room which is important for the mixdown.

How do you work in the studio?

Generally I’ll start with a kick and build things from there. Sometimes I’ll have a loop that I’ll want to work around, just depends on the track really. I’ll build the groove until I’m completely happy with it before arranging.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’ve just finished some tracks that are coming out on Time Has Changed Records and a track for Danny Howells’ Dig Deeper label. Also a remix for my label of a Sender & Pavloff track that is a bit deeper than usual. There are a few more original tracks on the boil as well.

What’s your top tip for anyone getting in to digital DJing and music production?

Develop your own sound and get heard by as many people as possible. Nowadays you have to be promoting yourself from all angles.. Soundcloud, Facebook, Myspace etc.

Musically who has inspired you the most and why?

I think when Craig Richards and Lee Burridge used to play regularly together as Tyrant in the early Fabric days gave me the most influence musically. I used to make the trip up to London every month when they played. Also Danny Howells when I’ve heard him play all night, the way he’ll go from really chilled out stuff right up to gnarly techno and then mellows things out towards the end.

Your favorite DJ at the moment?

Will Saul was great when I saw him play a few weeks ago at East Village in London.

Your favorite producer at the moment?

On the deeper side of things I’ve been picking up a lot of bits by Zev from Wolf & Lamb recently. Then for the chunkier stuff I’ve been really into ONNO from Amsterdam, he did a remix for our 20th release this year.

Do you have a pre – DJ gig superstition?

No not really! I just try and be as organized as possible, well at least I try to anyway!

Which is you’re worst and best DJ moments?

I have had a few bad situations, which have always been my own fault, where I’ve set Traktor up wrong, things aren’t working and you end up getting a bit stressed out. The best moments are every now and then when you get a really good one where the crowd will take anything you throw at them, those are always the best!
You can check out all off Alive Recording’s releases and latest news at

For Alive Recording’s podcasts click here

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Kicking off the first in a series of interviews with top DJ’s and producers, it’s the main man Carl Cox.

Carl Cox has been one of the DJ’s at the forefront of digital DJing, in the following interview, we find out how it got in to using Traktor, what MIDI controller is key to his DJ set and what he’s up to in 2011.

So as promised, it’s over to Carl………..

We understand your current djing software of choice is Traktor, how did you get in to using Traktor?

It was a natural progression, vinyl was getting harder to find.  New music is coming so fast and the CD era was upon us and before soon it was downloading. I found Traktor allows me to still be active and creative.

Traktor is a great piece of software, 4 decks, 20+ effects, what’s your favourite thing about the system?

Having my whole library with me.

The S4, how good a product does that look?  Have you had chance to use it yet?  What’s your verdict?

I have tried it, not sure if it’s for me, I like the feel of the CD players still and like to play external with Traktor.

Has your dj style changed now you’re using Traktor and if so how?

I’m still busy behind the decks, whatever they may be.  I still want to be active and need to be doing something whilst I’m djing up there, I can’t stand still……

What midi controller/s do you use?

Native Instruments MASCHINE.

What’s your DAW of choice?

I use Ableton and Pro Tools when I’m in the studio.

What projects are you currently working on?

I have just finished my 4th Artist Album, due to be released in the spring of 2011.

What’s your top tip for anyone getting in to digital djing?

Believe in yourself and don’t be complacent.

Once again extend there sincere gratitude to Carl Cox for answering our questions.

To keep up with everything that’s going on with Carl Cox, you can download his app, which we’re pleased to announce is currently free, just click here.

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