- Top 100
March 26, 2012
Written by DJ Si Edwards
Destination/Location: Miami, U.S.
If you’ve never heard of Miami, where have you been all your life? Like Vegas, it needs no introductions. From the NFL’s Dolphins to the NBA’s Heat and for the Canadian hockey fans reading this, its home to the Florida Panthers too, so whether your into your music or not, Miami is a place most have heard of. So what is it actually like? Well, this place is as cool as it gets with the beach on Ocean Drive and the shopping on Rodeo. Hit up the uber cool bars on Washington and lounge in a restaurant on Collins, oh, and lets not forget to party at some of the best clubs in the world that have a music scene as vibrant and comparable to the best in Europe.
Venue/Club: Miami Winter Music Conference Beachplex Arena
The WMC Beachplex as always was a great setup, each day hosting different events. On my first day, it was home to industry related exhibitors like Pioneer DJ showcasing new equipment and on my second day the arena was geared up for the VJ Challenge and Visual Beats events, for which I was an Official WMC Judge and the headlining act. The setup was superb. Two giant projector screens and a stage layout ready for battle with two DJ booths so the contestants could go head to head. Finally, on the Thursday it was the big one as the whole arena emptied and prepped for the IDMAs (International Dance Music Awards) hosting guests such as Deadmau5, Carl Cox, Swedish House Mafia and more.
Night/Event: Miami WMC - VJ Challenge & Visual Beats
The finest VJs and Video DJs from around the world gathered to battle it out in the fifth annual VJ Challenge. This event is split into two parts, the first part is for VJs who mix visuals to a DJ spinning on stage. This gives you an idea of how VJs create and manipulate live visuals to fit in with the DJs music, a feature you see for most big events these days, not just in clubs but mainly in the large festivals. VJing has been an art form for many years on the club circuit and these days, with new LED technology, they are now a major part of any show. The second part of the VJ Challenge is for Video DJs, a true old school battle on the decks as DJs mix up music videos and all sorts of crazy footage to create an insane mashup on the big screen. This year we saw some of the best in the world turn up and battle it out, it was awesome to see. After the VJ Challenge, it was time for myself and the rest of the judges to perform for the ‘Visual Beats’ showcase, mixing videos and visuals on the main stage, a grand finale to an epic day of visual-based events.
Judges/Acts:. Psyberpixie / Fade In, Fade Out / VJ Nova / T-Bot / Infinight / Visual Jedi / Keisuke Shingu / Justin Kent
Wow, if you could compare the quality of VJs to superstar DJs, then this lineup would be the equivalent of Tiësto, Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia and Afrojack, just to give you an idea of the level and calibre here. Simply the best VJs in the world under one roof and ready to showcase what they do best, create the finest visuals live on a main stage. After we all discussed the ins and outs of VJing on the WMC Visual Awareness panel, judged the fifth annual VJ Challenge, it was time to take the arena stage for the first ever Visual Beats showcase, with all VJs rotating and each dropping their unique style onto the giant projectors. It was great to see the VJs from North America, Asia and Europe come together to deliver an audio visual mix for this special event.
Spotlight: A special thank you has to go out to the lady who not only organized the whole VJ event for the WMC, but also pioneered and brought together the first ever Visual Beats event. Her name, Psyberpixie! The leading female VJ in the world needs no introductions to us visual industry peeps, but to the outside world, ladies and gentlemen, watch this space as her Psybervision empire continues to grow as fast as the VJ scene itself. Respected by musicians, artists and DJs from around the world, creating custom live video mixes on the most prestige of main stages, Psyberpixie is way out in front, she’s not just at the top of her game, she’s shaping the entire scene and for me, to be working alongside her, I’m excited about the future projects we’re already working on. Stop. Look. Listen to the difference.
Music/Genres: For part one of the VJ Challenge, the DJ provided a cool house mix for VJs to showcase their skills to. He dropped a few cheeky remixes of Chemical Brothers and the Prodigy and the set was pretty laid-back, after all, it was more about what was happening on screen as opposed to whats being played. The second part of the VJ Challenge was all about Video DJs controlling both the music and visuals during a six-minute battle mix. I have to say, most competitors were from the Urban background, so it was plenty of hip hop and scratching and many dropped the usual house beats like Rihanna remixes and David Guetta, which I found slightly disappointing. None of the contestants really hit the boundaries of music, it was very ‘top 40′ Mashup but in their defense, you could say they only had six minutes to mix so it was difficult to showcase music when it really was about videos being packed into a short space of time. The Visual Beats showcase, had myself dropping the latest selection of house tracks fit for any Main Room, which can be found in the podcast link below. The VJs performing with me made some wicked visuals too.
Tune of the Day: Swedish House Mafia – Greyhound
Stand Out Moment: Two big stand out moments for me had to be firstly, seeing a 15-year-old kid take to the stage for the VJ Challenge and battle it out with the big boys. His set was superb, and remember, this is the Miami WMC and this is the biggest VJ competition in the world. He handled himself great and dropped everything from house to R&B and used some wicked acapella samples for good measure and although he didn’t win, the respect and knowledge he gained was priceless. Secondly, was meeting and watching the incredible VJs that I performed with. These days, the art of VJing is being recognised around the world at the biggest festivals and events and working with these people was an honor. I’ve made some great new friends on this trip and together we are united in working to make the world know about this art form, one event at a time!
Final Thought: For any DJ or VJ in the industry, going to the WMC is a must if you can. Yes, you can see the parties and superstar DJs anywhere else in the world, but the actual WMC event during the day is a hotbed of new technology, an insight into the industry and a chance to meet and discuss the future of what we do. For networking, it is incredible. Remember to take your business cards and demos as everyone is on the lookout for that next big thing and the new info on the hottest talent. As a DJ, it is much more than just wild parties, it is the chance to meet the who’s who at the top of the industry and if that is still not enough, then you also have the sun drenched beaches, coolest night clubs and, of course, the spectacular shows at the Ultra Music Festival.
Shout Outs: Bill Kelly, Psyberpixie, VJ Nova, Fade In Fade Out, Kent and DJ Destiny.
Podcast: As the Miami trip was a Visual show, the music I played was very similar to my latest podcast, so here it is again for your listening pleasure. This mix fully captures the vibe that I was playing on the main stage at the WMC Beachplex Arena, so I hope you enjoy!
Until next week, stay safe and I’ll see you soon in another ‘Main Room’ from round the world.
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DJ Si Edward’s visionary approach to creating shows that go beyond the norm has him admired today as a leading Audio & Video DJ/Producer/Writer and Creative Entertainer. Ask Si Edwards about his success and he will credit it to the many clubs, promoters and artists who have supported and inspired him throughout the years. ”I have a backbone made of friends and a heart that beats to family.”
His advice in life? “Our mind is like a parachute. It functions better when open”. One vision. One love.