DJs Not DJing: 9 Producer Streams You Need To Follow
DJ/producer/writer/host Dani Deahl has one of the funkiest streams on Twitch, and she’s giving away free demo advice every Wednesday.
Photo by Spencer Bagley
Before shelter in place orders, the divide between dance music artists and their fans was wider than ever. Livestreams narrow the chasm and offer an opportunity for DJs and producers to connect with their communities in new ways. Your favorite artists are at home, just like you are, while live chats act as a great equalizer, where fellow artists and fans come together in one active community.
With all this extra time off tour, many top-tier producers have welcomed the world into their studios for a peek under the hood. Before quarantine, you could send your demo into your favorite label and never hear back. Now, you have the opportunity to watch as your favorite producers react to your banger in real time.
As far as DJs not DJing is concerned, here are our favorite streamers.
Canadian born, LA-based Pat Lok’s disco-tinged beats have made him a sought-after producer. He’s collaborated with and remixed for a laundry list of incredible artists, including Martin Garrix, Party Pupils, Robotaki and more. Every Friday on “Fone a Friend,” he pulls a name from his contacts and has an hour-long chat. Past guests include A-Trak, Oliver, Moon Boots and others. The organic feel of each conversation allows the artist to share great unheard stories, like how Dances With White Girls had already written his version of “Operator” before he passed the vocal along to Chris Lake.
Getting a weekly invite to Disclosure’s studio isn’t something I would have had on my 2020 bingo card. Legendary producers Guy and Howard Lawrence have led a varied set of studio sessions, whether that’s creating beats from scratch or breaking down the process behind iconic track “F For You.” Not only are these streams brimming with valuable tips for musicians, but they also pull back the veil on how spartan some of their now-iconic tunes were.
The DSquared Demo Drop is one-part feedback session and one-part artist interview. Dani invites a new guest each week to help her give detailed and constructive feedback on tunes. If you submit music that gets picked, you will always walk away with something valuable to think about. Guests have included Subset, Party Pupils, Monstercat Radio Lead Conor Systrom, and Festival Advisor editor Kat Bein. The conversations are honest, engaging, and funny, often leading to their own tangential musical journeys.
Treasure Fingers & Henny Shot
Treasure Fingers dove headfirst into streaming the instant quarantine hit. It wasn’t long before his wife Henny Shot joined. “So So Fed” is her take on the cooking show. Every Saturday night, you can find the dance music power couple on the Dirtybird network whipping up delicious dishes and taking momentary karaoke breaks. With Henny in the kitchen and Ash manning the stream controls, their chemistry is incredible. Their conversations and the active chat lead to lots of laughs. You’re invited to cook along with her and of course join in on the Karaoke breaks.
Full disclosure: I didn’t come up with the phrase “DJs Not DJing.” I stole it (with permission) from Billy Lane’s Wednesday round table show. Every week, he dives deep into topics important to the DJ community. He pulls in guest experts that talk viewers through complicated topics, such as licensing and record label ownership. In a time when the future of the music industry is so unclear, this kind of education is more than necessary. They also jump into gear discussions and host product giveaways. Since it’s run by Sacramento’s premier D&B crew, every episode ends with a listen to the top Drum and Bass bangers of the week.
The man with the most spectacular beard in dance music ran a DJ mix show for several years. His favorite part were the interviews, so he ditched the pre-canned DJ sets and went straight to the chat. This is a great watch for DJs and producers as Will guides his subjects into nuanced conversations about the ups and downs of life as an artist. With recent guests like Gene Farris, Mickey Lion, Chip-E, Rebuke, VNSSA and BOT, every episode is full of stories you’ll only hear between two intimate friends.
The process behind selecting new tunes for a record label is one that’s generally veiled in mystery. Sometimes, you won’t know if a track ever got listened to all the way through, if at all. Once a week, Chris lifts the veil and opens up the Black Book Records demo email box for live feedback. He’s frank and direct. You can tell when he truly vibes. Some of the best moments come from his gentle ribbing of people’s Soundcloud pictures. Tuning in feels like hanging out and listening to tunes.
AC Slater claims he’s teaching his wife Soozie how to DJ so he can take a break from touring once things open back up. Watching someone who’s spent over a decade in clubs teach the very basics of DJing is refreshing and fun. If you’re a DJ, it takes you back to when you first learned how to do it. If you aren’t, you might learn a thing or two. Since learning how to DJ, Soozie has become a fixture on AC’s streams, and she’s getting quite good! Maybe the first post-quarantine Night Bass club night will include a b2b.
Four Color Zack
Interview shows are always great. They’re even more fun when the questions are absurd. Four Color Zack takes a break from chopping up beats to ask his fellow DJ friends completely ridiculous questions. More like an Adult Swim show than a Twitch stream, Four Color Zack is doing it bigger than anybody else. That’s why Festival Advisor named him the King of Streams.