From humble beginnings as a party DJ in downtown New York, Paul D. Miller (a.k.a. DJ Spooky) is today a formidable force in hip hop. But he’s also an acclaimed multimedia artist who’s written on the subject of the history of hip hop and the aesthetics and art of the genre, and has criss-crossed the globe on the search for art and music. His latest Album, The Secret Song, is a fusion of hip hop, dub, rock, house and breakbeat, with snippets of the numerous genres moulded together to form what reviewers have said “may be the only concept recording of the 21st century that can be considered crucial listening”.
His forthcoming tour will see him using Novation’s Launchpad alongside turntables when he takes the album on the road. DJ Spooky: “The thing with my music is that everything is made from bits and pieces, there’s nothing that’s a whole chunk of something. What you’re doing these days is finding edit points. So when I’m touring with the album, I’ll bounce all the pieces into the Live interface, set up Launchpad to my liking, then show up with my laptop and sequence things for my scratch routines.”
“The way I see Launchpad is as a live instrument that I can incorporate in my DJ set for making music on the fly.“
But it’s not just on the road where DJ Spooky will be using Launchpad. In the studio, it will save him hours of programming time, thanks to its immensely tight integration with Ableton. “In the past, it would have taken a lot of time to programme all the edits, but with this, you can set up stutters and glitches in Live then trigger them on the fly with Launchpad. The software has changed the game but so far the interfaces haven’t kept up. This is something that finally feels as flexible as what you were able to acheive back in the day.” You can catch DJ Spooky on tour in an exotic location near you. His new CD, The Secret Song, is out now, and can be downloaded from iTunes.