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Into another Relm

More than an interactive iPod, DJ, director and producer Mike Relm creates audiovisual extravaganzas to enthrall the audience



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He was hooked. By the time he'd reached college Relm had decided that he wanted to make a career out of this passion for music. He began playing weddings and other club gigs. By 2001 he had committed to DJing full-time. But about a year later he had already grown bored. Then he discovered Pioneer's DVJ.

"To me, that was like a huge eureka moment... that moment changed my life, it changed everything. I was like, 'OK, now this offers me something new!"

That tool that allowed him to blur the lines between visual and audio by creating a comprehensive audiovisual show, rather than the traditional on-the-fly DJ set. (Do a quick YouTube search of "Mike Relm live show" - you won't be disappointed.)

"I treat the visuals with as much thought as the audio in my sets, so it's another way to interact," he explained.

"I look at it as, I want to be able to play a show or a festival alongside bands, I don't want to be in the DJ room! It wouldn't make sense - it's a totally different thing!"

Relm took it (literally - he borrowed the prototype DVJ from Pioneer and never returned it) and ran with the concept, building an entire set around the new equipment.

"From there, in the same way that I said no more DJ booths, I said no more audio sets. So for years it was all video stuff! And it was tough because some people still weren't sold on it - it was just me doing it and it's hard to get people to notice it when it's just you doing it."

While the cutting-edge concept was a bit of a tough sell to club managers and promoters, as soon as Relm had a chance to show the clubbing crowd, he knew he was onto something big.

Of course, his technique of synching video clips with specific tunes takes away a bit of the spontaneity of a live DJ set, but now, a few years after pioneering the concept, Relm has managed to unearth so much material - both audio and visual - that his shows are becoming more and more off-the-cuff.

And he's also discovered another new piece of technology that has reinvigorated the concept: an all-in-one system that allows him to scratch on the turntable while controlling the visual components at the same time.

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