If you’ve ever watched a DJ scratching in a video and wondered how they could even begin to learn where to start, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s such a complex art form that even A-Trak had to come up with his own elaborate notation system just to learn the ropes.
In a lengthy Instagram post, he took fans behind the scenes of his early career “wins,” and in the process shared images of his personal notes and frameworks for developing the combos he came up with over 20 years ago. One of the music industry’s most renowned DJs, A-Trak shared a photo of his combo titles, stating they were a product of how he “visualized” the art form. “It’s like calculus for the ears,” one fan commented.
While the system earned him the well-deserved title of DMC Champion at just 15 years of age, A-Trak admits that fellow artists were critical of his methodical and “dorky” approach. During his presentation at the Skratchcon2000 conference, A-Trak says he was heckled by DJs, who claimed that scratching should be based on a feeling rather than a formula.
Despite differing artistic thoughts on the matter, it’s intriguing to see the logic that propelled one of the world’s greatest turntablists to such great heights.