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When reaching out to DJs Enferno and Shiftee regarding their latest E.A.S.Y (Enferno and Shiftee, Yo) project, you have to understand one thing first. The DMC-level turntablists were literally sitting next to each other engaged in a "Twitter beef," that was to be settled in a live Ustream turntablism competition. Shiftee was helping Enferno better utilize his Twitter app in order to handle the deluge of insults every 140 characters."We're in a Twitter beef, and a lot of our fans are getting angry. I hope they're not mad when they realize we're actually not," Enferno says. He continues, "[Shiftee and I] practice [turntablism for the live show for eight hours] and for 30 minutes we talk shit on each other on Twitter. We go back and forth." Yes, while the idea that the top-tier live disc jockeys and rising producers can balance the appearance of hate with so much love and comedy is what makes the E.A.S.Y. tandem so special. As well, in digging deeper into understanding their shared feelings about the future of EDM and dance culture overall, this is a necessary pairing with an ambitious and applause-worthy goal.
Brick Bandits captain (and fellow Moodswing Management client) Dirty South Joe connected Shiftee and Enferno for the project, stating that the duo (who have known each other since 2002) should work together. Shiftee says, "[E.A.S.Y] is in response to the rise of "push button" DJs. I was sitting at home watching that "Davincii sketch" [on Saturday Night Live] and I thought, 'this is funny because this is real.' I told Enferno that we should do a live remix of "When Will The Bass Drop," and instead of dropping the bass, drop skills instead, making a crazy routine and performance. [We did that], and even took selfies while scratching and drumming. [Needless to say] when we got together in the studio, it worked well."
Enferno continues, "We gained each others' respect as performers, but we never got together to work. [Working with the E.A.S.Y. project], when we make a track, we make the studio version first, then cut it apart to play live. We have complementing attributes as DJs, and in studio, we clicked, too, making dope music in the process."
E.A.S.Y.'s debut track is "Fly Away," which seamlessly shifts energies between underground dance, top-40, and EDM, blending production know how with a DJs sense of records. Club music's think break, trap's clapping 808s, progressive house's massive builds and a swagger that comes from being birthed as artists by hip-hop culture informs the production. How did it come together so well? Shiftee explains, "Enferno gets ideas out really quickly and is great at keys. He develops great melodic lines and drum patterns." As well, Enferno's background with having learned the piano at the age of seven is important here, as Shiftee says that "[Enferno's] traditional musicianship was really helpful." Regarding his collaborator, Enferno says, "[Shiftee] has a great A&R ear. He has a what do you call it, an ear to the streets. [Our collaboaration] works out really well. There's musicality, and the ideas and execution are flowing. Shiftee jokingly agrees saying, "A&R? I'm just here for the swag control."
Regarding thoughts on "push button DJs," Dubspot instructor DJ Shiftee has an intriguing set of opinions, as does Enferno. "I teach at Dubspot, and I get turntablist students all of the time." He continues, "I teach them how to take those skills, combine them with the new tools, and take their skills to the next level." Regarding DJs who push buttons and lack traditional DJing skills, Enferno breaks it down simply. "Beatmatching is cool. Scratching is cool. Holding down a room by programming music is cool, too. These were skills that were ingrained in us coming up as DJs, and are skills that can't be learned overnight. You have to build to that [level of] experience."
Obviously, given the level of talent of the duo, and the existing renown both have for their live DJ/turntablism sets, the E.A.S.Y. live performance should be a sight to behold. What can we expect? Enferno chimes in, "we want a good performance with good sound, including something happening in real time. We're both doing things on the musician side with keys and percussion live, too. We both can do everything."
Reciting a list that sounds like it's from the "12 Days of Christmas," Shiftee continues, "we'll have four turntables, two mixers, a Maschine, I'm bringing a castanet for fun, and there's an ethernet cable connecting my laptop with Enferno's. DJ nerds will feel really good about [the live performance]. On the visual side, things will really make sense. We're providing a skillset for turntablists and using new technology. We're also going to wave our hands, twist knobs and get on the microphone, too (laughs). This will be a band meets DJ set that will be live and party rocking. It's the full experience."
When contemplating the question of what he does like about an EDM scene and dance culture filled with DJs who are largely hit-making producers who lack significant time and experience playing in front of live crowds, he answers the question simply. "I like hearing DJs who are good at DJing.You can tell the ones who are veterans. It's really hard to be really good [at DJing] after a year. You're really bad after a year. To be good as a DJ, you have to DJ for like, 10 years." Enferno continues the thought by saying, "interest in DJing is good. Very few DJs are going to get in though the most obscure [part of dance culture]. [Thus, it's] good to have pop and at the surface." Regarding what may happen if those involved in the EDM explosion do continue to DJ for a decade, Enferno is optimistic. "If everyone works hard, in 10 years, things are going to be awesome."
In an environment where Traktor releases controllers and Davincii makes the bass drop, Enferno's final advice is impressive, and possibly daunting. "Practice skills at the same time, and make improving a priority. It's a whole other thing to produce versus perform." As far as the goal for E.A.S.Y.? Well, in line with the tandem's name, it's quite simple. Shiftee and Enferno agree. "We're in line with A-Trak's #realDJing movement." Continuing, they say, "we want to inspire people. People need role models to emulate."