Vellu Maurola is a very cool man indeed. Not just because he has cool hair, calls himself DJ Slow, and is DJing at the Nokia World conference using two N91 mobile phones connected up to a set of decks. Although that is pretty cool. But because he made them himself. I caught up with the Finnish DJ as he dropped (is that the right word?) Peggy Lee’s ‘Fever’, to find out more.
“It’s a mobile setup that I invented a couple of years ago,” he says. “You have these MP3 controllers in the software, and the phone is connected via USB as an external hard drive, so you can browse the songs. I only need one device to play the songs, but there are two reasons why I have two. First, if one crashes, I can use the other one. And second, it looks much better!”
Vellu actually had to hotfoot it from Amsterdam Airport this morning to make it to Nokia World on time, which he says shows one of the benefits of using mobile phones to DJ – they were stashed in his hand luggage, so no risk of losing precious records that are travelling in the hold. “Size matters, as it always does!” he chuckles.
“One thing that’s different is that you’re browsing through file names, which is weird for me, because I like to see things, y’know, colours and shapes. Maybe one corner of a record sleeve is broken, for example, and I will remember that it’s good. It’s confusing when you only see file names. Maybe the answer will be to have a small picture on the screen of the cover like iTunes does.”
Besides the N91s, Vellu uses the XP10 digital DJ player, and its Bison software to control the MP3s. He says it’s solid and reliable, even if it hasn’t got loads of flashy bells and whistles. Besides roaming the world as DJ Slow, Vellu records his own stuff, and runs his own company called Slow Music Design, which produces music for films, adverts, events and parties. So is Nokia along the right lines with the stuff it’s doing in the music field?
“Yeah, it’s very interesting,” he says. “Music moves your feelings very much, so now that we have these kinds of devices which can play music, why shouldn’t we push it? I feel it’s very nice.”
Find out more about DJ Slow here. As I write this, the crowd’s not quite warmed up – most of them are still swapping cards and gabbing about ‘value propositions’. But don’t worry. “They’ll be dancing within 30 minutes,” says Vellu. “Don’t you worry about that…”