And for balance — Qbert at the DMC regionals

Last week, we posted Ko-Matsushima’s innovative Hot Hand demo, something that ruffled more than a few feathers with the rather more purist element of our readership. So this morning, I present for you DJ Qbert‘s recent showcase performance from the DMC USA regional in New York City.

One guy, 2 turntables, and a mixer… oh and a laptop and timecode vinyl of course as Q has seemingly hung his baseball cap on the Traktor hook. You’ll have to forgive him of course — he does press a few buttons along the way, but I suspect this is more along the lines of what the nay-sayers call keeping it real.


Qbert’s performance over, he pops on his imaginary bike, while the legend that is Joe Conzo captures the audience’s reaction.

Happy now guys? Personally speaking, every type of DJing is valid. As long as the crowd is happy, entertained, and dancing, then they’re doing their job right. Feel free to argue with me as much as you like, but DJs get validated by their audience and the dance floor, not other DJs.

  • The_KLH

    Lol! Real DJs use music.

  • loop skywalker

    Just amazing.

  • kebzer

    Gotta be kidding me! No disrespect, but comparing a “performance” where somebody is just waving his hand back and forth to Q-Bert is blasphemy, the least.

    That Matsushima video was BS, period. Nothing radical, nothing musical and nothing technical.

    • I didn’t compare, I contrasted. They are entirely different but still equally valid performances.

      • kebzer

        I wouldn’t describe Matsushima’s performance as valid. It looked to me more like a demo by some tech guy in an expo stand.

    • Paco Loco

      I wasn’t such a big fan of the ko-Matsushima mix either, but at least you could dance to it…

      • kebzer

        Last time somebody could dance to a DMC showcase must have been around 1988…

        • Your comment explains the difference. Qbert’s performance is on the whole for the scratch guys – nobody is dancing, therefore is he a DJ? I guarantee however that Ko-Matsushima’s performance in front of a crowd would have a lot of people dancing.

          Different strokes for different folks. Both are DJs with different audiences.

          • kebzer

            Indeed I must agree. But, we all know that Q-Bert can also make people dance, can though a performance like Matsushima’s make an impact on turntablists or controllerists? Judging from the flames, I don’t think so.

            • But do Djs do their thing to get the approval of other DJs? We all know that DJs are the worst critics of their peers. DJ or performer? Rocking a dance floor or doing a showcase for non-dancing chin rubbing DJs? The line is blurred even more these days.

              • kebzer

                Unless you work a residency on a Pub, you are a Performer that chose the role of the DJ. People pay to see you do something different and on top of everybody else who plays the same Bilboard / Beatport top 100 every weekend – on exactly the same cue points. On the contrary, see A-trak and Craze. These 2 have successfully erased the line you refer to.

                • Djs of the round table

                  So as performer how long is he or she expected to work?

                  1 hour, or two, three, four, five, six, seven or even eight hours on one shift?

                  try to do all that fancy shit for six hours, i DARE you, you cant, youd pass out.

                  So the showcases that Atrak, Craze, Switch, Kutski does, for 6 minutes, are vapor, its fun to watch, but toally useless in a real live situation, as many real djs actually has to work for a living,

              • Djs of the round table

                Djs are mostley male so its a bonding thing and a club of interrelated admiration.

                “And most of us are EXPERTS and there is no way in hell that anyone is better then me” thats the common notion of it all.

                If you have all this fancy equipment and really work it, then by all means use it.

                But dont buy a Pioneer SZ or Nexus, or any other controller just to use it plain to weld two tracks together with SYNC, or Slipmode cause you cant scratch for shit.

                I respect people that really know what they are doing, that have gone the milage to get there.

                Not the asswipes that just rushed in with the shrimp and luxuryjet to be waited on, and that expects everything and nothing in return.

          • Djs of the round table

            Well i stroke my dick different also, but the aim and end result however is to orgasm, not jerk off and then put it away.

            Qberts earlier work are golden, really golden, but with todays constant bombardment how cool it is to be a dj, and videos posted on youtube with duo jerking wackjobs, a braindead twat, a pair of juicy tits, stupid richass white slut, and a nogood asswpie that think that scratching is just rubbing a vinylrecord and making a cool stance and flexing my muscles.

            There is not much hope for guys or gals that want to really know and learn deejaying from the ground up.

            I rest my case

        • Paco Loco

          Lol! Probably true. It’s been going downhill ever since 🙂

      • Djs of the round table


        If you were to do this on a “Sober” club, i mean a club that only serve alcohol and not ganja or coke, well youd be out on your ASS in five seconds.

        But if you were high on drugs, you might appreciate it all.

    • Djs of the round table

      This claim i can support!

  • Andre Djfoodstamp Sirois

    rock the beat with your hands!

  • Mick Jabber

    what Qbert does takes years of practice, you can’t do that stuff when you’re a beginner, however what ko-Matsushima did is take advantage of technology and let technology do the most work. ko-Matsushima cannot cut scratch and mix like Q-bert, however Q-bert can do the same what ko-Matsushima did if he wanted. See the difference? one can do it all, the other limits himself and lets technology do the job. Also what he did had no soul, no funk, no feeling. It was a empty world of nothing. nuff said.

    • You make a huge assumption that Ko-Matsushima can’t scratch, and frankly it really doesn’t matter if he can or not. His chosen discipline and skills suit his particular audience.

      • Djs of the round table

        Well you say one thing other say different, here is the problem.

        1.No discipline’
        2. no Skills, just fast hands thats all.
        Heck its not even djn as we know it, its Monofucking a single CDJ!

    • RBX

      Do you know what else takes practice… beat matching using only your ears! If you can point me to a single video where Qbert actually beat matches two tracks together and makes a flawless gradual transition between them I’d love to see it! And no, using battle records which have the bpms pre-locked do not count. The thing is that everyone ASSUMES that he can beat match because of the rest of his skill-set. For a while there all he was doing was turn up at gigs and plug his MiniDisk player in and scratch to it, then skip to the next track and do the same, that was it. Just becasue someone is great on drums doesn’t mean they can shred on lead guitar… People need to stop using Qbert as an example like this, he is a legend in a very niche corner of DJing however I’m getting rather sick of everyone saying “Qbert could do it better coz he can scratch”when it comes to EVERYTHING!

      • mick jabber

        i can beatmatch, its not as difficult as pulling off some of the cuts he did..matter of fact its imopossible for me to do the black moon scratch routine he did..i just cannot do it..but i can beatmatch and im sure Q can beat match as well..high level scratching takes more skills..yes much more skills and much more practice. Qcan juggle as well wich is also much more difficult than beatmatching..i leave the beatmatching at the house/techno CDJ DJs who frankly do NOT impress me one bit

        • RBX

          *sigh* I really can’t be bothered with the same played-out argument spearheaded by another armchair expert. Just as Mark Settle pointed out and what should really be self-evident, it depends on the crowd and venue you can be the most technically perfect DJ in your field but if the crowd doesn’t feel it what’s the point?

        • Djs of the round table

          DMC WAS a Beatmatching competition in the early years, then the bodytricks, scratches, profane language and tracks entered the scene.

          However, if you look at ealry clips on the guys trying to match two tracks you sure understand why they changed the playingfield, it was BOOORING as hell.

          • Angling your equipment

            DJ Cheese won the 1986 DMC. The runner-up (Chad Jackson) said “I didn’t know this was a scratching-competition” or something like that. Then came the first DMC (1987) which was available to the masses. On this tape I see bodytricks, scratches, disses etc. Which DMC are you refering???

      • kebzer

        No offence, but if you’re actually a DJ then you should know by yourself that learning to beatmatch can take max. 2 months. Learning to scratch though takes min. 2 years. There will never be any point of comparison between these 2. Beatmatching represents just 1% of scratching and that’s no small corner. If you still think the opposite, search the term “trick mixing” as invented by the Beat Junkies.

        Q not mixing is his choice. I don’t like it either because he looks too bothered to bother with it, but at his age and skill level it is acceptable because of the actual content of his shows.

        You can argue that as a selector he sucks, I would agree. But questioning his technical skills is plain dumb.

        • Djs of the round table

          With a computer or Nexus i would say it y´takes a week, but then again you cant cope without it.

          To learn real beatmatching takes alot more then two months i can tell you, but i guess you no dj either, just a cool guy that suppose to know things. I personally when i started out practiced for over a year, 1-4 hours a day. and i can say im pretty good at beatmatching and finding the right keys without a software or piano. and not one soul showed me how to do it.

          the problem with todays younger generations is that everything is expected to be offered on a silverplatter.

          Music, Movies, Games, free, free, free, free
          you cant read or understand a manual, so you hassle the guys at the forums, just look at Pioneer, i really feel sorry for them.

          :- I want to be a dj, tell me what i can get for $50

          Then theres guys with tooo much fucking money, they buy 4 CJs, a bigass DJM 2000, 2 RMX 1000, then they push some buttons, get some support on facebook ,as most of those supporting asses cant seperate a good dj from a bad buttonpusher. and then the $ 10 000 question, do they relly BUY their music?

          No of course not, they just grab Beatport top 100 from some blogpage or whatnot, and maybe they also start to “produce”

          But not music as we know the term, no the make “Smashups”

          Mashup to me is two or more tunes that seamlessly work really well together.

          Smashups however have bad keys, lag in tempo, cutups nd rearanged parts, sounds like shit.

          And when they have played in their “boys” room for a week or maybe a month, they expect respect, VIP treatment and a coushy dj assignment several times a week.

          ive been there, ive seen it and its not pretty.

          And then many of you say that some of us are negative, well i for one respect the ARTS of djn, i also understand that nothing good can come from FREE, someone has to pay in the longrun.

          The same with DMC, if you take out the roots of the equation, there is just some noisy efx left.

          And while were at it, if you wanna change DMC, why not SCRATCH T1200 / 1210 as well, just implement Rane / Pioneer all to gether, just call it PMC or RMC.

      • Djs of the round table

        @ You guys who say its so fkking easy to beatmatch or scratch, well get of your high “computer / Controller” horse, and turn of or even cover the screen close you eyes and use the FORCE

        Think up an routine, choose some tracks, and start to practice.

        Maybe then youd see its not as easy as many people claim.

        That is whats challenging, thats is what battles are all about.

        And to you guys who analyze every bit of music that you spin.

        Stop it, cover up the CDJs displays, use an untouched track, and try to do the same, use beatport top 10 if you will, most of those tracks are so poorley produced anyway so they will drift you to Hawaii

        If you get seduced by good looking girls like Juicy and think that is djn, well think again.

        Pushing buttons can take effort i grant you that, but to me everything is about the pure skills of djn and a clear signal or wave!

        LESS IS MORE!

    • ProDJ

      Why do things like this always degenerate into a pissing contest? What do you have to prove? Why do you feel so threatened?

    • Djs of the round table

      Eeeeh i beg to differ.
      I myself are an A$$ when it comes to scratching, im right hand dominant, so i dont even bother. but with the new toys from Pioneer and Serato, i actually sound pretty good, and that to me is CHEATING.

      Even if i tried to practice scratching on both Vinyl and CDJs, it never went really well.

      But with slip or fluxmode, guys like me can actually fake scratching, and not many can tell the difference.

      Thats is not djn with skill and effort, that is making it work without any hassle.

      What gripes me, is this, people have no stamina or will to go the distance, no patience, its like guys that start practicing self defence, 1,2,3 times goes without any problems, then they seem to slip, and dont really understand that getting that “black belt” means EFFORT, POISE, RESPECT, WILL, PAIN, SUFFERING and SACRIFICE!

      The same can be implemented with Djn, Skills and Competitions.

      Sorry 2014 is a DMC gonner, its burned to the ground like most guys that “play” djs.

      To a serious person its a religion, its not something you do to look cool or get laid.

  • dj mindless

    i appreciate both realms of djing; controllerism and turntablism.. i find inspiration in guys like zabiela, dj enferno, hawtin et al but i became a right handed scratcher solely due to my countless hours of watching and practicing alongside djqbert’s videos.. just appreciate music guys coz we djs are blessed to make, manipulate and touch the music like no other peoples on earth

  • Dj Initial D

    The last dj to have a legitimately danceable set in a dmc competition finished third behind qbert and dj david in the 91 DMC. His name was Dj Reckless and his set is the reason I became a dj…

    • Djs of the round table

      I became a DJ because of Roc Raida R.I.P, MIxmaster Mike, Jazzy Jeff, Ztrip, Cut chemist, you know the guys WHO COULD scratch, and mix without a computer, that made their own effects when Pioneers staff was jerking off in the mensroom and was producing tapedekks!

      Those guys, including Qbert in his early days and Kentaro, do deserve credit and admiration, cause they brought something new and fresh to the table.

      Created new stuff on the fly with two records, not 3 or four layers, samlers, efx and shit, that only cloud and dim their performance.

      What Pioneer and RANE should do next is creating a PLAIN and really good mixer, without efx and other crap that a dj dont really need.

      After the Launch of DJM 500 it went downhill with djs and their horney lust for EFX, not to mention traktor or now serato DJ.

      You are more of a FX guy than a dj, that is SHAME!

  • Angling your equipment

    LOL. Since he mostly doesn’t make real transistions between his mini-sets, it doesn’t matter that much that he uses buttons. In that regard “sloppy is sloppy”. But it’s what happens between the transistions. And in that area CUNTrollerists are galaxies behind. It was the Turntablist skills which made the difference. And it’s much more appealing visually (even though Ean Golden and company uses these angling-your-equipment-towards-the-crowd-so-that-they-can-see-we-are-only-pressing-buttons-devices). Turntablism and Controllerism are not the same. One is having sexual intercourse with a woman, the other is using a plastic-doll. You can cum in both but they are different at the end. But everyone is entitled having his own subjective opinion…

    • Pro DJ

      Nothing you said was positive, constructive or useful. Please take your ignorant, elitist attitude elsewhere.

      • Angling your equipment

        It’s my subjective point-of-view not more not less. And who are you telling me to leave? And I’m the elitist? If you can’t handle someones opinion, then why comment. I dig musicians with skills (be it a drummer, guitarists, DJ or even a Controllerist). So if DJ Enferno is doing Turntablism/Controllerism sets I can appreciate. But if many others still are wack IMO (too much interpretations and not enough real remixing) and want to make a connection with Turntablism, then I don’t need to endorse this (since I don’t see it that way). I mean the 3rd Reich is no longer or is it?
        Ps: So you are using the anglers?

  • cool set bro

    I don’t know what to think about the beginning part of the video.. I Q dissing DVS users here or just going “fuck IDK how to get a DVS set flowing, going into oleskool mode”? In any case, those hands cut like a lawnmower!

    • mick jabber

      Q uses real vinyl to scratch with and DVS to just play the beats with..the reason why he uses real vinyl to cut is cause the company Thud Rumble still sells real wax so its like promoting the product..if Qbert only was using DVS then he wouldnt promote shit..maybe a cheap azz worthless digital download but frankly its the real thing that matters

  • Jared Helfer

    My god these comments are just hilarious. Has the discussion of DJ in general really become “This is legit and that isn’t” because I can guarantee you none of the people involved actually give a damn. The only people who care are the people arguing the point.

    Why don’t we all just go and celebrate our successes and try to be better? I thought ko-Matsushima did was fun, and every time I’ve seen Q-bert perform it’s been amazing. Isn’t there a place for both of them, or are we so myopic that only one is “real” and everything else is “faking”?

    • C0NN1PT10N


    • pickaname

      QBert was talking about “wack controllers” in this interview and kids getting bored with controllers as he wants them to get on a real set, your statement that none of the ppl involved give a damn is entirely based on assumption

      here you go if you dont believe me

      • Jared Helfer

        Disqus ate my damn comment. Here we go again.

        You are reading REALLY deep into what QBert said over the course of 15 seconds in that interview. Within a discussion of people buying a mixer QBert directly benefits from, he says that gear is too expensive and kids get discouraged cause it doesn’t work right and can’t get better. I could talk about the bullshit wrapped up in that statement for days, but it’s irrelevant. QBert is trying to sell a product, and his statements are inherently biased. It’s his opinion, he’s entitled to it, it’s not 100% wrong, but it isn’t coming from some lofty, pure place, it’s coming from the perspective of a guy trying to sell gear. Whether that gear is good or bad doesn’t matter.

        And you’re misunderstanding my point. Why does this thread have to devolve into what “DJing” is, as a comparison between two guys doing their thing? Realistically, both of them are different kinds of DJs, yet we need to get all attack-y because it makes us feel good, or to make someone else feel bad. QBert is an expert at what he does, Matsushima is an expert at what he does, and it’s DIFFERENT. One isn’t more inherently valuable than the other, they are just different.

        And the kids out there who want to learn to DJ? They just want to be cool, or famous, or successful, or something. And these stupid arguments are a waste of our time. We should be fostering talent and helping people get better, because we all succeed if the technology AND users improve.

        • glitch harry

          Qbert runs a DJ school. Where you learn things. By practicing. You know, “old school”.

          • Jared Helfer

            Um… okay?

          • Djs of the round table

            Nooo, Digitool!

        • pickaname

          it were his own words “wack controller”…so that should indicate enough to know that us DJs rather see kids practicing on turntables than controllers. The worst performance i ever saw from D-Styles was on some Vestax controller, then ppl claim: “you see, it can be done on a controller as well” but a pro who understands the culture and craft could easily notice the difference.

          Matsushima is an expert but it doesnt take years of practice to do what he does.however to cut like Unkut or Netik takes years of hard work and dedication.

          Different audiences, most ppl who go out do not understand 1 bit of what is happening in the DJ booth, the one who plays the most popular tunes will get the biggest audience no matter if hes talented or not and no matter what device he plays on, might as well be 2 mini ipads.

          • Making the same point over and over again with different aliases won’t change our mind. Perhaps you should divert your time and energy into DJing instead.

          • Jared Helfer

            Yes, QBert speaks for us all, obviously. Because he says wack then we all believe it because he’s the voice of all DJs… c’mon, for real?

            That’s the worst performance you’ve seen? Like, the WORST ever? It wasn’t showing up to some dive bar and seeing some kid who has NO IDEA what he’s doing try and mix on Window Media Player? Or use CD decks and just train wreck every single transition?

            If the only performances you’ve seen are super professional amazing turntablists trying to “keep it real” or whatever on controllers then I envy you.

            So if Matsushima can put together a really cool set that keeps people dancing without YEARS of effort like the other guys then, well, what does that say about the tools the other guys are using?

            And since you are ready to finish my point for me, your last paragraph is exactly what I’m saying. The crowd doesn’t care as long as they get to dance and have a good experience. WE, as DJs, are the only ones who give a shit about this noise, and like to make a whole lot of it just to keep our own time and energy valid.

            • Djs of the round table

              I dunno whats the worst, a guy trying to act and look cool and make an ass of himself on really expensive hardware like Pauly D

              Or a guy making a trainwreck on some shitty controller.

              Thats one thing.

              DMC however is an INSTITUTION, and the people that enters should know what DJn and everything else comes from and RESPECT that.

              Ive seen most battles that are worth mentioning, and to add a computer / Mixtroller like Sixty One is not evolution, its blasphemy to a whole generation of djs before an comming that love the Old ways and that want to keep it that way.

              if yu want hightech, well start a new battlescene, like threesome or doggystyle!

              • Jared Helfer

                Yes, DMC is an institution, but not every DJ wants to be on the DMC.

                The people who enter need to abide by the rules of DMC. Because those are the rules of the DMC, though, does not make them the rules of all DJs. That’s my only point.

                Because QBert made a comment about “wack” controllers doesn’t make all controllers wack. It doesn’t even mean he thinks they are all wack. All it means is he has an opinion, and we need to look at his opinion outside of the bubble of “OMG QBERT HATES CONTROLLERS” or whatever this has become.

      • Djs of the round table

        People change their mind if the moneys good enough.

        DJ Turncoats

  • Dj L-BIZ (BEAT3)

    wow so much chest beating going on here! scary business!

  • steve brown

    Qbert cant beat juggle
    His style is mad stagnant….some midi might get him feeling more creative

  • nem0nic

    I’m not going to weigh in on the argument about whether DJ x is “real ” or not, because frankly it’s too fucking stupid to dignify with a comment. But this was hands down the most awkward routine I’ve ever seen Q perform.

    It was like watching your grandfather flip a CD over to hear the other side of music. Or seeing someone put a bale of hay in front of their car after they’ve parked it in their garage.

    There is not denying his skill as a turntablist, but he obviously has no idea how to use the equipment in this video. No one told him how to set cue points and edit a track to emulate the experience of a customized battle record. He doesn’t understand that he can create a playlist instead of taking 5 minutes to transition to another piece of music (or edit that music into a single track and see my first point). And for god’s sake stop flipping timecode records over. For that matter, why are you changing records at all?

    Correcting these needless behaviors would not IN ANY WAY diminish him as a turntablist. It would give him a workflow exactly the same as most other competition DJs that create their own battle records for a specific routine.

    I respect Qbert as a DJ and hold him in high regard. But this performance was diminished for me because it’s obvious that he had no idea how to use the tools that were at his disposal. And that’s not a position I’ve ever seen him in before.

    • akswun

      He’s flippin the timecode over because the other side isn’t a control tone, its, you guessed it, a real track.

  • OK people – this is heeding towards a circular flame war populated by multiple aliases from the same IPs. Only comment if you can genuinely offer something constructive rather than calling the next guy names.

  • glitch harry

    WOW qbert using a Z2. ….!!!! what is the world coming to 😉

  • Pingback: And for balance — Qbert at the DMC regionalsUniqueSquared Pro Audio Blog()

  • DJoldschool

    I changed to a Traktor Z2 from Serato and now feel vindicated! I was beginning to think that it wasn’t possible to pull off the same tricks with the Z2 as I could with my old Ecler but Qbert shows that it is… He is a technician amongst technicians. His sets might not be the funkiest (Jazzy Jeff or Angelo for that), he doesn’t have stacks of kit (Shiftee, I’m talking to you) but, goddamit, he can cut up with the best.

    I agree about his lack of prep though – shocking for a DJ of his experience but as for people on this thread calling him out – post your set and we can compare.

  • WMD

    Did the Serato forum’s actually shut down? Seems like all the trolls have crawled out from under their bridges and come over here…

    Seems like a level of respect for the Art of DJing is under attack from DJ’s!

    Never thought I would see DJ’s dissing World leaders in the field of the scene along with people using the scary technology that we are all coming to love/hate.

    Isn’t this DJWORX aka Scratchworx, hence a DJ Technology website where we get to read up on all of the most cool and awesome stuff that the world of DJing can bring to our fingertips… Where’s all the love for technology & music gone ?

    I love my vinyl, cds & midi controllers, it’s all there to be used, so use it and get creative or just enjoy whatever it is you use. Seems like a shame that so many people feel they have to hate on people pushing boundaries or just doing something that they love. Peace

    • Djs of the round table

      “Isn’t this DJWORX aka Scratchworx, hence a DJ Technology website where
      we get to read up on all of the most cool and awesome stuff that the
      world of DJing can bring to our fingertips”

      Nah thats for tools at DJ tech

      • I believe it’s our decision what appears on DJWORX. And as laid out clearly many times over, DJWORX is about ALL DJ technology. We do not limit our attention to one style or one level – DJWORX is for all DJs interested in all DJ technology.

        • WMD

          Thank You Mark, I thought I had gone crazy for a second there!

  • Djs of the round table

    Computers has no place in DMC championships, bring out the vinyl and the SKILL!, god im disapointed!

  • siya

    I think it’s been pointed out several times by others but you can’t do those record manipulation scratches on any DVS, so it’s a bit misleading to suggest he’s using “a laptop and timecode vinyl of course” on the entire set, when he’s actually using real vinyl and a DVS as a backing track particularly on the scratching segments.

    I don’t know what all the fuss is all about, DVS systems are just another tool to use, they are really useful BUT to achieve mastery particularly with advanced scratch technique’s, DVS systems simply cannot yet compare to using vinyl and vinyl still sounds better than any other medium on any decent sound system, if you care about that sort of thing?

    They both have their place.

  • mr brown

    DVS aside, I think this is an extremely shoddy and lazy set. I’ve seen a few recent sets by Q and he just seems to be phoning it in these days.