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06 October 2011

Mixing It Up With DJ Miagi

DJ Miagi, aka Daniel W. DeRossett is an electronic musician currently living in New York City's borough of Brooklyn. Miagi started DJ'ing under obscure pseudonyms in the 1990's at warehouse raves, outdoor festivals, and club events across the United States. It was in the early 2000's that Daniel accepted his stage name DJ Miagi, which spawns from a childhood nickname, at the advice of peers to keep track of his career.
Miagi is a turntablist at heart. In his earlier days of electronic music culture Miagi mixed a collection of house music on top of jungle and drum & bass tracks. The sound evolved into Miagi's signature sound of serialism and it's interwoven chemistry with traditional beat matching. He has described this as finding rhythm within and embracing the greatest fear of DJ's, the “trainwreck”. Live turntablism performances feature a mixture of progressive house, jungle, and electro house music mixed between up to three turntables.

As a remixer, Miagi began editing the order and layout of artist's tracks. Notable edits include tracks from Blood on the Dancefloor and Fischerspooner. Other edits include tracks from Marilyn Manson and a vast array of artists within the electronic music community. Many of Miagi's songs have been edited beyond casual recognition of their original composition and become staples of his digital mixing style.

Original work of DJ Miagi includes many downtempo and minimal progressive music. Miagi has utilized the vocal talents of Juke Setizen who provides vocals to some of his music. The duo is releasing an album of their original works through an independent label that they founded called Demoniquin Records which also features hip hop and rock artists.

DJ Miagi has performed alongside many top acts at a variety of venues. In 2001 Miagi played with DJ Polywog following her exposure in the feature film “Groove.” Polywog had great influence on Miagi's original productions following the release of her debut original album, Sonichameleon. DJ Miagi has also appeared on billings alongside artists such as Coolio at music festivals. Currently DJ Miagi has a growing online following and multiple locations online that feature his music, both original compositions and mixes. DJ Miagi's mixes that can be found online are compilations exploring the combination of serialism, beat matching, and feature the inclusion of sampling over edited tracks.

DJ Miagi's music mixes are enchanting and energetic. I talked to him about his music about the copyright issues that DJs encounter when creating their music mixes.

How did you first become interested in mixing and resampling music?

When I first heard the music coming out of Twilo in New York in 1995. The transitions of tracks coming from those artists were brilliant.

What type of equipment do you use?

I still love my turntables and mixer. I like to have a mic input on my mixer so that I can mix in vocals. Lately I've been running this through a sound editor in my computer to record and master songs. I try to stay away from the cheats of sound editors that are designed to help with the ability to DJ, such as having a track beat matched for you.

Where was your first performance?

It was a small youth performing arts and activism venue. Very politically motivated crowd.

Without revealing any proprietary secrets, how do you create your mixes and do you have favorite artists to use?

I don't have favorite artists, I love to find obscure artists and watch them turn into successful musicians. It's always a surprise to find a track on a compilation that I have been peddling the vinyl of for a couple years. 

Some people feel that transforming another artist's music to create a new sound or dance mix is copyright infringement. How do you feel about the issue of DJ mixes and copyright?

The laws should definitely be edited. Transitions of music are in their own respect an original creation. A live mix of a song can be the most memorable interaction of a DJ with his audience. The order of the track being played can also create an entirely different emotion and experience from what was intended in the original recording. Creating different interactions with music is an art form.. hand's down. Some copyright laws restrict artists ability to promote what they create from other artists interpretations.

Do you have any advice for someone who would like to get started making their own dance mixes?

Enjoy what you do!

You can find DJ Miagi on the web at and on Facebook, Twitter. You can listen to his music on Mixcloud.


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