Andy Van talks iPro.DJSampler
When Australian DJ/music executive Andy Van was looking for a tech wizard to help make his sampling app jump from concept to the iPad, he negotiated with companies across the world from France to Germany to the United States. But when he contacted the creator of a synth app he started playing around with one day, he knew he’d finally found the right programmer.
“I looked up who made the app, and it turned out they were in Australia. Even funnier, when I called to find out where they were from, they were only three kilometers away from my house,” says Van with a laugh. “So I searched all around the world only to find someone right around the corner.”
And now, after almost a year and a half in development, Van’s iPro.DJSampler app is finally available, offering a music tool that DJs from across the world are already starting to incorporate into their routines thanks to the ease of use and intuitive design that helps add everything from robot voices to drum loops to the sounds already booming inside the club.
“When I’m DJing, I always want tricks to jazz up my set, so I really developed the app out of desire, because I just couldn’t find any DJ apps that did what I wanted them to do,” says Van. “I want to trigger samples and I want the ability to trigger them in tricky ways with rolls and reverb and effects like that.
“I looked around for quite a while, and I bought ever sampler app that was available, but nothing had that authentic sampler look I wanted, and none of them had all the functionality I was after. There was only one other app that was even close, and that’s the one DJ Chuckie worked on (Noisepad), but even that one doesn’t have the fast loading I wanted, or the X/Y pad that I use to trick things up. Noisepad just doesn’t tickle the right buttons for me, so I was keen to build my own sampler.”And to Van, sampling (the ability to take a portion of one recording and reuse it in a different song or arrangement) is a key component to not only DJing, but to the future sound of the music he is trying to create.
“From the early days of hip hop to the beginnings of synthesizers and electronic music, it’s about touching something and creating sound,” says Van. “I developed an artist named Madison Avenue in the year 2000, and Madison Avenue had a worldwide hit that sold a million singles, and it was all based on sampling, so sampling has always been there for me.
“We used to sample old disco records and cut them up and create dance tracks out of disco loops, which is exactly what hip hop did with the old Sly & the Family Stone loops and funk loops. So it has always been there, and I think it will always be around because there is just something special about creating a rhythm and a loop from an old sample.”
And even though Van’s app has only been available for a couple of weeks, he’s been floored by the response of his fellow DJs.
Says Van: “I’ve been DJing for quite a long time, and every time someone sees me using it now, the other DJs are like, I have to get that. People are buying a $500 iPad just to get my app, and that blows me away. In creating this, I just really wanted to make it fun so all you do is touch it, and you’re making music in one second. It’s just so positive when I see all of these DJs freaking out when they see what we’re doing with the app.”
What he didn’t expect was the response from the educational community, as schools from as close as Melbourne and as far away as the U.K. have already inquired about using the app in music classes.
“This is a great thing, and something I never even thought about when creating the app,” says Van. “Schools want to introduce it to kids interested in music and DJing, and now, instead of buying all of the equipment for a class, they don’t need to buy 20 samplers. Since they all already have iPads in the school, they’re basically getting a $500 sampler for $5. For a school, this is awesome, as it’s giving kids an entry-level step into sampling and tricking up things and production. You can work with loops and baselines and lead sounds. So this is for anybody from the novice to the semi-professional to the professional as well.”
And with the addition of a new Melbourne Sound audio pack, not to mention the implementation of Audiobus in a couple of weeks, look for Van’s app to gain even more and more ground in the DJing scene, a scene Van sees with less and less hardware in the coming years.
“I think hardware is pretty much on the way out,” says Van. “Over half the DJs I know use some sort of app to trigger their samples, and the others are using USB sticks, and a lot of them now are looking at my app. It’s a bit of a game-changer in regards to professional DJs triggering samples over the top of their sets.
“I’m hoping this app opens up sampling to more and more people. We’ve already had over 10,000 downloads, and that’s a pretty exciting start. It will be interesting to see if some big name DJs will start using the app. We’ve already had some interest from the labels, so it will be fascinating to see how much further we can take it.”