Category: A day in the Life

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DJ Blaze vs Halo

My gamer tag is actually DJ Rufio, add me on Xbox Live

So with the launch of the Halo Master Chief Collection coming soon, I started looking back at some of my old Halo stat lists, a little bit hard to find since Bungie is obviously no longer in control of the Halo franchise now that it has moved to 343 Studios, but a lot of the content for Halo 3, Halo 2 and ODST is still located on the Bungie servers and websites so took a trip down memory lane digging thru all the stuff there and managed to find stats for all the games, was a bit to go thru. But with Halo waypoint, the summaries are at least easy to find.

I also got out my old Xbox 360 and found some gameplay videos I had saved so did a short compilation of them which you can see below. Most of them are from me being a cheap ass and using the gravity hammer to send fools flying in the warthog off the cliff… It was a great way to stop the flag and also it just looks funny as hell and it really was a lot of fun but it did piss some players off… meh too bad! Makes for some great game play footage!

So here is some recaps on how I use to fare playing Halo. It was especially hard playing in NZ where our internet speeds basically put anyone in NZ playing in overseas match making at a decent disadvantage. You wouldn’t notice it during mid to long range combat, but up close, esp sword exchanges, you basically had to anticipate and guess rather than move and react which ended up becoming a skill on its own. It wasn’t until Halo Reach that I moved to Korea, and oh my god, did it make a difference!

Halo: Combat Evolved

Well there are no stats to show for this which is a shame given it is where it all started and I didn’t get the anniversary edition (I knew the MC collection would eventual come so waited for that lol) It was on the original Xbox, but it reall did pave the way for todays FPS genre on consoles. We use to play via split screen above the Last Moa back in my uni days with 2 xbox’s linked up so had some epic 4v4 games… Oh how I miss beaver creek!!

Halo 2

Games: 1022 Kills: 7362 Deaths: 10584

Rufio, Blaze, Halo 2 Stats

I use to love playing Halo 2 online, but there was always a lot of match making issues which didn’t help the old KD ratio, but it was very enjoyable, but mostly enjoyed the close combat maps

Halo 3

Games 2202 Kills: 23811 Deaths: 23706

Rufio, Blaze, Halo 3 Stats

Halo 3 was awesome, I loved playing this online and had most of my favourite maps and the gameplay just felt right for both short-mid range and mid-long-range combat, it was well balanced and really was the best of the series so far

Halo 4

Games: 218 Kills: 2821 Deaths: 2469

Rufio, Blaze, Halo 4 Stats

While the graphics and matching making are a jump forward, some of the balancing and the whole loadout thing doesnt quite suit what Halo is, this aside thou it is a lot of fun with some epic maps and some good recreations of old favourites, the graphics and just overall upgrading and balancing of weapons as well as the addition of the new Promethean weapons still make this epic

Halo Reach

Games: 415 Kills: 5642 Deaths: 4065

Rufio, Blaze, Halo Reach Stats

Reach killed it for a lot of fans, thou it was hard to follow on from Halo 3 but the multiplayer just wasn’t up to scratch… at all, the new editions really missed the mark

Halo ODST

ODST Stats, Blaze, Rufio

This was only firefight, which was a lot of fun when you could find other people to play with who were serious, but wasn’t really my thing. Still had some epic battles thou

Halo Wars

Rufio, Blaze, Halo Wars Stats

This really was an unsung hero for the RTS genre. RTS games have always struggled on console, but Halo Wars really did nail it with their interface to make what was a really great game. However online was never that easy, finding a team of 3v3 players who were serious wasn’t easy, but when you did get 6 players who could throw down it made for some long ass epic struggles!

So thats it for the games, there is that top down game but I never played it, looked ok thou. Once I play thru the campaigns again I will add some more gameplay footage as well as some campaign recaps. But interesting looking thru the stats, I really did play a LOT of Halo 3, and since then, well just haven’t really had the same time to play as much as I would have liked to. Least my K/D ratios are pretty good considering the game modes I like to play, e.g. mainly big team battles! I like the mix of chaos with having to actually work together, so CTF is usually my favourite game mode, however an 8vs8 on a smaller map slayer can be just as fun too! Speaking of maps…

My Top/Favourite multiplayer Maps

1. Beaver Creek (close range hectic combat, so much fun)

Halo Beaver Creek

2. Blood Gulch/Coagulation/Hemorrhage (mid-lone range with vehicles, great for team battles)

Blood Gulch Halo

3. Stand Off (close-mid range, great for flag games)

Stand Off Halo

4. Rats Nest (I only love this map because gravity hammer vs warthog = angry warthog passengers)

Rats Nest Halo

5. Valhalla/Ragnarok (mid range combat, just a great map)

Valhalla Ragnarok Halo

6. Lockout/Black Out (close range chaos)

Black Out Halo

7. Sidewinder/Avalanche (mid-long range combat, great for flag games, epic size)

Avalanche Halo

8. Sandtrap (mid-long range, vehicle fun and lots of variants)

Sand trap Halo

9. Midship (close range chaos)

Midship Halo

10. Exile (close-mid range madness with vehicles)

Exile Halo

I am definitely looking forward to going thru Halo from start to finish with the remastered graphics and also hoping they bring back some of my old time favorite maps. While some have obviously been remade and tweaked, there is still a couple of classics missing which I am hoping might make a return. I will have the Xbox One soon so will be eagerly waiting to stick my teeth into the story line again and also the new online playlists!

Every DJ has their own Obsession

So if you have ever met a DJ, you know they tend to be a ‘special’ kind of person or at least a little different (then again these days everyone is a dam DJ so that statement tends to loose its power) Anyways, you will probably find most DJs have obsessions, hobbies or other quirky things they do outside of DJn and music. A popular one is often video games which is definitely one of mine, others can range from strange collections to shoes or anything you can imagine really. Thou a lot of the time you will find they are based on technology and DJs tend to have more than just a little inner nerd/geek about them which is something you really need if you are to keep up with the new technology! As for myself I have a few things I am in to, but a big one has always been anime and since moving to Korea it is much easier to find things related to anime especially figures and toys. One of my favourite anime programs was Gundam Wing (the older one with the 5 Gundams etc) and since moving to Korea its been really easy to find Gundams to build, so this post is actually directed towards building one of my Gundams. I have been working on the main gun dams from the Endless Waltz Series and finally have them all, just need to build one more and put stickers on 2 more but for now here is my recent build (yeah this is about toys, get over it lol)

So this Gundam is Zero One piloted by Hiro Yui, its slightly different from the original Zero One from the original series with its colours and some slightly different structure of the wings, buster rifle and shield but overall its still pretty cool

1. Building the Head
1. Building the Head

First up is the head, a little annoying with the eye stickers

2. Building the Body
2. Building the Body

The body can be a little tricky depending on the Gundam

3. Head and Body
3. Head and Body
4. Arms
4. Arms
5. SHoulders
5. Shoulders
6. Upper Body
6. Upper Body

The shoulders can be a pain in the ass as well as the arms, not to build but being the more mobile of joints they often fall off the easiest

7. Wings
7. Wings
8. Full Upper Body
8. Full Upper Body
8. Upper Body
8. Upper Body

The wings are usually easily movable and can be used to counter balance nicely

9. Lower Body
9. Lower Body
10. Legs
10. Legs

The legs are usually the easiest part to build and the most sturdy

11. Legs and Lower Body
11. Legs and Lower Body
12. Full Body
12. Full Body

And here is the body assembled, but still need to add in the weapons

13. Weapons (Shield and Sword)
13. Weapons (Shield and Sword)
13. Weapons (Buster Rifle)
13. Weapons (Buster Rifle)

And finally here is the full assembly with weapons

Final Assembly
Final Assembly
Final Assembly with Stickers
Final Assembly with Stickers
Flight mode
Flight mode
IMG_1840
With Busta Rifle
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Rifle (Wing Zeros) and Energy Sword

Shout Out Time

Well its been a crazy weekend and had a couple of good shows but there was also a lot of other things going on around Seoul as well. I will post up a review etc about them later on once I track down the videos but for now I got a couple of mentions I want to make

First up need to give a shout out to the bro CJ Gardner aka CJ Infinite and for dropping his new tracks, if you want to peep them and you def should check out his sound cloud here

CJ’s Sound Cloud

The beats are really nice (I’m a big fan of old school sounding beats or beats with an older more natural sound to them) and CJs flow over them has its own uniqueness about it that makes the tracks nice to listen to and a nice break from a lot of the rubbish thats gets constant airplay these days. There is a lot of really good hip hop out there, you just need to go and find it but you should always support local artists as they always need plenty of support and most of them really deserve

Speaking of supporting local artists, the Seoul expat scene has been getting a much needed injection of support recently. Its a hard scene thou because expats are usually only here short term, very rarely long term so it makes maintaing a community very difficulty. So when artists start thinking of strengthening the community then they deserve mention and support. There are a lot of people here who have been putting in hard work who deserve mention but will save that for another time, for now this post shout out goes to Part Time Cooks, a group of 3 dope expat MC’s who have come together to form what should be an exciting crew. Now I don’t know much of their back ground but I have heard some of their stuff and it is def worth checking out, but the reason for the shout out is their willingness to get out and support other artists and also what will hopefully be a weekly or very regular web series from them interviewing and showcasing the local expat talent in and around Korea. Its this support and giving back to the community that will help keep it strong here in Korea and I applaud their efforts to do so. Check out the video below for their first instalment video. The editing could use a little work but as far as content goes and being the first instalment, its very good and has me looking forward to more! A scene is only as good as its support so again I urge you to get out there and support local artists

Also make sure you go check out their show coming up in conjunction with Show Kings on the 29th of March

Click here for the event page

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See you there! Chur!

How I got my DJ name

So short post today, just a quick story about how I got my DJ Name. Those who know me, know I’ve gone by many aliases over the years that have been attempted to be placed on me by others, some good, some ok, others just dumb but the one that has stuck is Blaze and that is also the one I have had the longest. But the thing that does confuse people when they first meet me is they assume being from NZ and having the name Blaze means I smoke weed etc, the whole Blaze it up thing but I actually don’t smoke weed and have never smoked it. The worst thing is the name is pretty popular and there are a lot of Blaze’s around, the most famous one being Just Blaze (who is the man) but the thing is I have been using my name (at least the origin of it) since the early 90’s when I first hit high school, Blaze is short for Blazing_187 which was my first gaming tag I used to always use when playing video games and it was also my first email address which I still have to this day!

So Blazing, kinda of self explanatory when it comes to video games, I love FPS games so blazing guns etc is where that comes from, now as for 187, remember this movie?

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Well this is where the 187 part comes from, watched this and was like ah, 187 is the code for murder, so decided my gamer tag should be blazing murder shortened down to blazing_187. And of course when I started DJn it was easier to shorten it down again to Blaze and thus you have DJ Blaze!

Now as for the aka part that I have used in all of my social media, well given that DJ Blaze is a popular name I needed something easy to distinguish the name from other DJ Blazes out there. I settled on aka (also known as) because I did go thru a period trying to figure out a better alias and also having various others ones used on me by people from different areas in my life there was a lot to choose from, so in the end it would be what ever some one called me and aka DJ Blaze (Hey its Dragon aka DJ Blaze) so I decided to stick with akadjblaze since not only does it have some history to it, its also easy to remember and unique enough for me to have it as my user name across all social media sites I use

So there it is, the history of my name and how it came about. Chur!

The Madness that is Bar Fly

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So welcome to my residency, Bar Fly in Sinchon, a long time student favourite and one of the only clubs in the Sinchon area. Home of craziness, scandals, cheap drinks, helpful regulars, good bar staff and good people, can’t ask for much more from a local bar (well you can but thats another issue) So lets have a quick look around with what Im working with

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So the DJ Booth, DJM 800 (in desperate need of new faders and a service, same with the CDJs…), CDJ 2000’s, SL4, my laptop, iPad (touchOSC) and dicers. Out putting video to a projector and 4 screens around the bar. Not a bad set up for a mid level club.

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View looking next to the DJ Booth, there is space upstairs and this is looking down to the floor level tables and bar, screen and projector as well as your useless advertising sign board posted pointlessly in the corner lol oh yeah, and top stage with stripper poles!

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Looking at the bar from up top, its a nicely enough set out bar with plenty of room, as you can see a lot of junk hanging from the ceiling…

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Looking down at the dance floor, it is a decent size club, you wouldn’t think so from the outside but that is always the surprising things with clubs here, most are built in the basements of buildings and can be very deceiving from the outside

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Looking out on the club…

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And lastly a look at the crowd, this was a student party, as you can see a lot of foreign students that night, usually its mostly Koreans but still a lot of foreign students come here to party and there is a strong crowd of foreign regulars who come as well, not to mention that a lot of the Koreans there are Korean/Russians, Korean/Spanish etc, it really is a diverse range of people which adds to the place

Its open during the week but not many people come through, Friday nights are usually the one, also a good vibe with people hitting it hard after work or a week of studying, Saturday is hit and miss depending on the week, the crowd fluctuates depending on parties and University schedules. Being in a University area it really dictates the mood of the area as you would expect. So there it is, a quick run down on the place, I might post up more about it later on, introduce the staff and regulars, drinks etc but thats for later on.

(just a note, when I say crazy, I don’t mean it in a bad way, for some reason over here people associate the word crazy with meaning bad, but I mean it in a good way)

And just for good measure, here is some fun with fire

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Home Studio

So one of the projects I am working on this year is learning how to basically run my own home recording studio so I can record vocals for some things I have in the works. Sounds difficult at first but the setting up and getting it running isn’t actually that hard, the difficulty really lies in first, reading through as many reviews as possible so you can decide which piece of equipment you wish to use and then, secondly, learning about recording and mastering of tracks (the second part I’ll cover in another post). So, for the mean time I’m going to quickly run over the gear I am using and also the price I paid just in case your interested in costing out your own set up

So first up lets start with the Microphone, after some exhaustive research I settled on the reasonably priced Rode NT1-A

nt1-a_shockmount

In the box it also comes with shock mount, xlr, mic bag and pop filter all for 266,500won. I settled on this mic after reading reviews and its recommendation as a good mic to capture ‘Hip Hop’ vocals well. I will be looking at adding a second microphone soon, geared more towards female singers, and after reading reviews it will probably be the Audio Technica AT-2020

audio-technica-at2020-348433

Cost is 145,000won so very reasonable (yes I am sticking to the budget end of the scale for now since I am only starting out)

Next along the chain from the microphones is the USB/Recording interface. At first I was going to go with an M-box of some design, but after talking to a friend I found something else that could turn out to be alot better and so I settled on a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Focusrite.FocusriteScarlett2i217631

2 Channel with phantom power, audio and headphone outs, this tight little unit will set you back 189,500won

Next along the chain is the DAW program. This was kind of a no brain-er since I’m using a mac so the obvious choice was Logic Pro. I have already had experience using this program in the past and find the interface pretty intuitive and easy to use

Logic

You can get Logic Pro from the Mac store for around 199.99$ (USD I think) and is worth the investment if you own a mac since it is very easily integrated into other mac features (one of the bonuses of using all apple based hardware and software)

The last main component is monitor speakers, again another long research process trying to find speakers with as flat as possible sound for a reasonable price, again after all most going back to M-Audio, I ended up settling on a pair of Alesis M1 Active 520 Studio Monitors

Alesis

Still waiting for these to arrive, but should be here later this week and cost me 347,200won

Other bits and pieces I also picked up were a couple of mic stands (28,400won each), a mic thing to reduce ambient sound (75,000won) and adjustable speaker stands to make sure the monitor speakers are the right height (50,000won each)

The only thing I’m left to decide on is headphones (a pair for the artists to use as reference and maybe a pair for myself to use as second monitors) But I have a couple of pairs that will do in the mean time.

Since I am just starting out I didn’t want to break the bank with the best of the best gear so I did my research to try and find quality gear at a budget price that would hopefully meet my requirements and ended up with a full working set up for around 1,200,000won (1,400,000won if you include the second mic and a standard pair of headphones)

For those of  you who are also thinking of making your own home studio, the most important piece of advice I can give you is to first decide just what exactly it is you are wanting to achieve and from there you can start doing you research into what you will need so you can start researching he right gear in your price range. Make sure you do you research and read reviews and if you know people who work in the industry, ask them!!

Chur!

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Serato + ME = Winning!

Since my long overdue upgrade to using ME as my video plugin, I have now been using it for a few months and I thought it would be prudent to post up a quick overview of the program, what I like about it and also my screen layout for people (mostly DJs) to look over and get an idea of the work flow, so here is the basic layout

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 9.59.30 pm

So, ignoring the Latest Import Folder being completely un-organised, this is my basic screen, Serato in the back ground, and ME on top. As you can see it is relatively easy to make ME fit over top of a normal Serato Layout since everything can be freely moved around the screen

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 9.59.19 pm

This one shows the Sequencer options which is one of the best things ever! I really wish Serato would make a built in Sequencer to use with like cue points and samples etc… But the sequencer in ME is very powerful, allowing you to use multiple fx to trigger on beat (similar layout to fruity loops) and to create different sequences you can save and trigger at will

For control of everything within Serato I use dicers, for ME I use a midi/usb connector to the mixer and I also use TouchOSC on my iPad to control both Serato and ME

IMG_0009

Here is my TouchOSC layout, its a work in progress as I am adjusting it to suit my play style but its almost finished!

So, since switching to ME instead of using Serato Video for my video DJn (mostly at Bar Fly) there is some noticeable differences that I like and loving

1. ME outputs videos at a much higher higher quality

2. ME is adjustable so you can move it around and show or hide windows and is still fully integrated with Serato

3. The Sequencer! This just kicks serious ass! And really allows you to focus on other things rather than trying to mess around with fx etc

That about sums it up, there is differences with fx and transitions but thats not really a big issue since they both come stocked with a lot of options, some different, some the same. There wasn’t much of a learning curve as its pretty simple to use, just a little messing around at first while you get use to it but thats to be expected and once I upgraded to Mavericks OS it has been running very smoothly with no problems. Overall ME is a great product, I just wish Serato would either merge ME fully into their system or sort their shit out and put some more development work into their own Serato Video Program as it has had very little change since its original release, so ME is just really blowing them out of the water.

Chur.