Introducing “younity presents…”
“younity presents…” is a series aimed at highlighting the various artists, content creators, and experience makers that use the younity app. These are some incredibly talented and unique humans that we felt compelled to spotlight. They’re a diverse group of experts and enthusiasts and we’re grateful to have had the chance to speak with them. So without further ado, here is “younity presents…”
younity presents… DJ Chris Karns
DJ Chris Karns is an award winning “mix master” with over twenty years of DJing experience. Originally from Denver, CO, Karns has since traveled all over, mastering and fine-tuning his mixing technique. He’s the 2011 DMC World DJ Champion and was named VH1’s Master of the Mix. We sat down with Karns at the Hip Hop School of Arts in Pomona, CA to discuss his DJing style and his thoughts on younity.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I’ve been DJing since 1996.
How did you start DJing?
I was introduced to DMC battles, immediately knew that’s what i wanted to do, tracked down some cheap turntables and made my way up from there.
What kind of music do you DJ/ What’s your typical style?
My style is scratch based – I don’t limit myself to one particular type of music – if I hear something that inspires me to come up with different ideas whether it be a juggle or a scratch, I kind of just mix and match and try and put things together and blend multiple genres together into one set.
Do you use Vinyl or Digital mostly?
I started off on vinyl. There wasn’t any digital options when I started. I worked at a record store in Boulder for about 6 years. I was a purist, I probably would have been the last person to switch from vinyl to digital. I was lucky enough to meet some of the guys from Rane and Serato when that was a new thing. They showed me how to use everything and made me realize it was pretty close to being the same as vinyl except you could do a lot more and not have to carry heavy crates around.
I ended up switching reluctantly – now I would never go back to vinyl. I still have my vinyl collection at home but as far as playing out, using Serato and Scratch Live is the way to go.
How would you compare your vinyl collection to your digital?
I have a room at my house where I keep all my vinyl and CDs and I still have a bunch of old cassette tapes. I probably only have about 5,000 pieces of vinyl. Not sure how many tracks that is total. I only have about 38,000 songs on my computer – in my music library.
Would you consider yourself a music hoarder?
I used to be kind of a music hoarder and had to start paring it down. I would trade whole hard drives with people.
I would delete stuff because, in my computer i have 2 five hundred gig hard drives, just trying to make sure I keep some empty space on there so everything will run properly and there won’t be any file corruption of any sort.
How would you use younity?
younity sounds like a great idea as far as being able to access files I have at home. There are files I don’t keep on my laptop. I have a desktop computer that I use for my business stuff and photoshop and artwork and video – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out and someone tells me “send me this, send me that”. And I have to wait till i get home to do it. It would be really nice to be able to access this stuff. That’s what younity allows you to do.
Do you worry about copyright issues?
I don’t really worry about it too much. I put out a lot of mixes and do remixes and mashups and things like that using other people’s music.
I’m not directly making money from this. I’m not selling it. I’m using this stuff in a creative way and then giving it away.
When it comes to my own original work, I’d like to be compensated if somebody uses it for something, but you can’t really control that all the time.
Also a lot of artists don’t understand that if somebody samples your song and their song becomes a hit, people will want to look up that sample. They might track it down or go buy it on Amazon or iTunes. When somebody does that it helps the person’s career who’s song got sampled because all of a sudden everybody wants to check out their song too.
Do you mostly buy music or do you share/trade with others?
I’ll trade music with people sometimes, but for the most part if I find a song that I like and there’s an option to buy it, I’m always buying everything first before I rip it. I’ll only rip it if there’s no other option.
I definitely believe in karma, as an artist myself, I want to support other artists as much as possible.
Not only buying people’s music is a good thing to do for the artist in general, but when I put out mixtapes, I’m exposing people who may not have ever heard of it before. So it’s kind of like one hand washes the other.
Check out Karns in action below.