DJing is 99% preparation. You hear a track separately to the moment you share it with an audience. You call upon the memory of that track and decide whether or not it is correct for that moment. You think ‘oh that one would be good right now’ and then cue it up. Sometimes this is specific and you think of a track name and sometimes more abstract. For me I always think of tracks in terms of colours, I’ll think ‘Ooooh that pinkish green one could work right now!’.
A vinyl turntable has an immediacy in that your heart is contacted to the hand that would cue up the record. It was all happening in one physical realm. Connected. With CDJs there are noughts and ones between your heart and mind and the cueing process and then more noughts and ones between what you play and what comes out of the speakers.
There’s a separation and I believe in some subconscious or perhaps psychoacoustic level that is felt or missed by the listener when it’s not there. Every time I have floated this concept to others DJ they usually get angry.
I think that’s why I find the DJing of Theo Parrish so visceral. His use of a rotary mixer connects his heart directly to your ear drums. His feeling comes from wherever feeling comes from, flows through him and then out through the equipment. It’s one thing all happening at once.