The DJ Dictionary – definite definitive definitions. Of words.

The world of DJing can be a confusing place, what with having to keep up with which clap sound is in vogue this month, deciding if we’re for or against this week’s Jeremy Underground or Konstantin, and then having to actually go out and play music too.

To help you out, Prinks are going to define every single DJ word ever invented, from A to Z. If ever you’ve been mystified by an industry term but were too afraid to ask, fear no more, for the Prinks DJ Dictionary is here. Part 1  – the Letters A & B!

Analogue
ˈanəlɒɡ/
Adjective
General usage: Relating to or using signals or information represented by a continuously variable physical quantity such as spatial position, voltage, etc.

DJ usage: Good, superior, magical etc.

Bass

bæs/
Noun
Refers to either the low-end output of the sound system or the low pitch part of the song. See also Bass Drop: DJs are forever dropping the bass but don’t worry, it’s not fragile, you can drop that baby all night and it will be fine.

Beat
/biːt/
Noun
The thing that you nod your head to.

Beats by Dre
/biːt/ baɪ/ dre
Noun
A collection of 1980s communist Russia electronics and old casio calculator parts held together with bubble gum and elastic. Extremely high-quality sound.

Beatz
/biːtz/
Noun, plural
What Hip Hop folk call their beats.

Beat Match
/biːt/mætʃ/
Verb
1. A really dull and tiresome technique to get two tunes in time.

2. A skill DJs used to have to be able to to that thank God you don’t really have to worry about so much anymore.

3. Really important and central part of the DJing skill set and a vital part of our tradition that we must protect or we will surely reap the error of our ways. Also, I love rotary mixers, validate me.

BPM
/biː/ pi:/əm/

Acronym
BPM stands for Business Process Management, which is a systematised approach to an organisation’s workflow. Ha, not really, it stands for Beats Per Minute you balloon animal.

Bootleg
/buːtleg/
1. Noun:

A stolen track, pressed up into lovely shiny MP3s and then redistributed as an ‘edit’

2. Verb:
To steal a track, press it up into a lovely shiny MP3 and then redistribute it as an ‘edit’

3. Verb:
Old usage: Knock up a few 100 bootlegs of rare tracks, sell them out of the back of a van, forcing the label to dig out the originals and give them a proper re-release, generating income for the label and often the original artists too.

Current usage: “Check out my bootleg of this rare Italio disco track”
[Translation]: “Check out the kick drum I put under this rare Italio disco track in Ableton.”

Break
/breɪk/
Noun

“Clap your hands everybody, you’ve got what it takes, I’m Kurtis Blow and I want you to know, that these are the breaks”.  Hope that’s clear.

Breakdown
/breɪkdaʊn/

Noun
1. The part of the record where most of the parts drop out leaving just the drums and percussion. Traditionally, this was the part of the record that the dancers waited for and which could really be depended on to send the dance floor wild.

2. The part of the track which lasts several centuries and is intended to build tension by use of ever increasing rising sound fx, snare rolls and general audio mayhem. The breakdown is a signal for everyone to look up from their phones for a minute and whoop a bit when the bass drops.

More next week where we will, perhaps predictably, be looking at the letters ‘C’ and ‘D’.