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Kevin Saunderson

international news _ 10th May, 2007

Kevin Saunderson's Beat-Matching Method

Text by Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

Detroit house and techno pioneer Kevin Saunderson chatted to Skrufff this week about his upcoming compilation 'Ekspozicija 07: The Detroit Connection' and revealed that when he started DJing in the 80s he was embarrassingly bad at mixing.

"I couldn't figure out how to make the records beat match, I'd be watching Juan (Atkins) and Derrick (May) mixing and they'd be laughing at me saying 'man, you'd better go back to sports' so I said to myself "I'm going to show them," he chuckled.

"Then I saw an advert on this flyer saying 'learn how to beatmatch' at a two week seminar, and I drove down there in my car from university and took the course," he recalled.

"The way they taught you back then was to count the beats, then you'd put your records in bpm order and play them in that order. That way, you're already close and I sequenced all my sets like that in the beginning, I had no choice. I couldn't mix."

Soon after, he became one of dance culture's first superstar DJs, off the back of worldwide hits including Big Fun with his band Inner City, learning, and applying important lessons along the way.

"You've got to have a vision though of what you want. That's the most important thing- having a vision and visualising it. See it in front of you and go get it. And don't let it stop- think about it," he mused.

"I had that vision when I started out, I thought about it a lot and my imagination is strong so I would imagine myself in certain situations; I can't say I imagined the hits I ended up making but I imagined myself behind the decks," he said.

"I remember going to Paradise Garage once and seeing Larry Levan playing and being so amazed. All I could think about was 'I want to be like that, I wanna' be able to take two records and mix them together and play in front of a big crowd, And I never stopped living that thought."

He also stressed that vision alone is not enough, with practise and persistence equally necessary qualities for achieving serious success.

"I always tell my kids to do what you want to do in life and don't let anyone tell you what you can't do, Go with your dreams and keep pushing. And remember that sometimes your dreams change," he advised.

"And you've got to have a work ethic too. You can't say you want to be the best then not practise. Visualising isn't enough, you need to practise and put yourself in situations where things can happen."

Kevin Saunderson: "Ekspozicija 07: The Detroit Connection mix" is out shortly on Explicit Records

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