Designed From Scratch – The History of The DJ Mixer

Over the last few years we’ve been seeing some really great exhibitions being curated by those within the scene centered around DJing, art, personal collections and artifacts and other very important things that need to be persevered for the future. It’s amazing to see so much of this effort coming from people who live and breathe what they love and are taking things to the next level instead of waiting for someone from the outside to come in and do it for us. One of those people who has been actively doing their part in connecting the timeline with DJ culture is Dr. Andre’ Sirois aka DJ Food Stamp who is a faculty member at the University of Oregon and authored the 2016 book “Hip Hop DJs and the Evolution of Technology: Cultural Exchange, Innovation and Democratization”

His latest venture is in creating a coffee table book called “Designed From Scratch: A Hip Hop History of The DJ Mixer 1975-2005” and this past week he curated an exhibition of vintage DJ mixers which were on display. The exhibit not only featured culturally and historically important mixers but back stories of their design and how (and who) helped make them iconic. It featured everything from early disco-era/mobile DJ mixers used by pioneering hip hop DJs such as the GLi 3800 or Clubman Two, icons of the 80s like the Gemini MX-2200 or Numark 1150a made famous by Cash Money and Aladdin, and the bi-products of turntablist era of the 90s (i.e. Vestax 05 Pro, Melos PMX-2, and Rane 54 to name a few). There were also plenty of other rare and obscure mixers that DJs may have used, owned, or just seen in media, or,well, never knew existed. Everything here was part of the DJpedia Archive, and this is just a portion of that collection.

All images of VHS, records, and other art are all scans of pieces that are in the Archive (minus a few images used without permission). Also included were needles, crossfaders (including a rare, original modded Focus Fader that changed the industry/culture), marketing materials, and other memorabilia that centers largely on the hip hop DJ. You will also find a pair of original Technics 1200 turntables that belonged to Bronx DJ, Disco King Mario, which he loaned to Afrika Bambaataa in 1976 for Bam’s first battle (against Mario) at New York Junior High School 123.

Although the exhibition was on display for a short 3 hours, the goal is to present it as a traveling exhibit across the globe.  Check out the photos to some of what you can expect to see when it comes to your area.