Why do Technics Turntables have such a Cult Following? We ask Aussie DJ Legend DJ KC

Kieran Way also known as DJ KC

DJ KC is one of Australia’s most renowned DJs, having won the country’s largest and most prestigious DJ competition, DMC DJ Championships, 3 times. KC has been at the forefront of the Aussie music scene for more than 25 years, rocking everything from underground hip hop jams to club house and major raves, but his own aesthetic – funky soul paired with massive bass – hasn’t wavered (and neither have his fans).

KC has played alongside pioneers like Jam Master Jay (Run DMC), 3 X World Champ DJ Craze, Kool Herc (Founder of Hip Hop), Ca$h Money and A Track to name a few – all with his trusty Technics DJ Turntable by his side. We sat down with him recently and asked him a few questions:

When did you start DJing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?

 I started DJing at a very early age and was inspired by Grandmaster Flash’s first record “Adventures on the Wheels of Steel”. It was so different to anything I’d ever heard and I just had to find out what this DJing was about. I first started doing house parties in the mid-80’s using belt driven turntables and a small mixer I got for my birthday. I really loved doing gigs, playing music for people and seeing them enjoy themselves. My early passion was just the music and being able to blend my favourite songs together smooth and flawlessly. I did many mix tapes for my friends back then and as they circulated and got popular, I got more and more bookings for parties and found myself working every weekend. I didn’t break into the club circuit until I started entering DMC competitions and got noticed by promoters.

DJ KC experiments with the technics tonearm at the 1996 Australian DMC Finals

Tell us about your relationship with Technics?

I first saw the Technics SL1200s in action when the World DMC DJ Championships arrived in Australia and its video tapes started circulating amongst the local DJs around 1988. After watching the World Champ “Cash Money” and USA Champ “Aladdin” and what they could do with the 1200s I just had to get them!!! So, I sold my car ASAP and got my first pair. The Technics turntable really helped me excel in the art of DJing and within a few years I took out the National DJ Championships Title (92-96). Till this day I still use the same model of the Technics SL1200s and take them wherever I tour!

DJ KC Winning the National Title-1992

What is it about Technics that makes it a cult favourite amongst DJs around the world?

The build is unbeatable! The high torque of the platter and the weight makes it ideal to withstand the bashing that Hip Hop DJs use it for. It’s a tough beast that doesn’t break down under any circumstance. I once dropped my turntable on a concrete footpath ‘tone arm first’, next day it was still working like new! The heavy thick insulating rubber under the deck absorbs all shocks / bass in loud club environments. I think this made it ideal for night club installations back in the day and probably why it became the industry standard. You will still find the SL1200 in most hip hop clubs around the world!

3 Technics turntable features which are game-changing according to you?

The High Torque Solid Platter, the weight and the base design to absorb low frequencies in clubs. Solid build on tonearm assembly combined with high torque platter makes it ideal for scratching / spinbacks without skipping the groove.

Let’s say you have a gig coming up. What are the important pieces of gear you will take with you?

I always take my Technics headphones, loved them since they were launched in the 90’s. Love the fact that you can swivel them into any shape and expect durability and amazing sound quality. But recently they got lost on tour in Burma and I couldn’t buy another as Technics was not making them anymore. So I started using other brands. BUT now that Technics is back, I would like a pair please. Other tools I take to a gig are Ortofon carts, butter rugs and my DVS setup.

What are some crowd-favourite DJ sound tricks that get people hyped?

Extending breakdowns with loops + effects, and juggles on build-ups for Electronic music. For hip hop – doubling up snares, juggling beats, breaks and of course scratching!

Teach us one interesting DJ terminology. (E.g. drop, stutter, beat match, etc.)

BEAT JUGGLING: Taking 2 copies of the same track and manipulating the original drum pattern to make your own with the use of cross fader and backspins on the record. This combined with quick eye / hand co-ordination and use of markers on the spinning deck you can create new drum rhythms and sounds that a traditional drummer can’t.
Wanna see it in action? Come to a DMC Battle. 

Has this got you interested in DJing?

You can now learn from DJ KC himself. KC is a passionate advocate for the live music scene and teaches the art of DJing to upcoming DJs at United DJ Mixing School.  He also appears as a special guest at clubs and parties across Australia.

Stay tuned for DJ KC’s review of the SL-1210MK7!

WHATS NEXT?

DJ KC along with some of Australia’s hottest DJs will be reviewing our latest and highly anticipated, DJ Turntable – the SL-1210MK7 in the coming weeks. Follow KC on Facebook to watch him jam out and rediscover music with our legendary new turntable.