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Bad Boy Bill & Richard Vission Team Up For All-Vinyl Tour, Release Commemorative Vinyl 'Everybody Jumpin'
When house legends Bad Boy Bill and Richard Vission decided to hit the road on a back-to-back all-vinyl North American tour, it sounded like a great idea. They were in need of a challenge, a little excitement, and the fact was most EDM fans 25 and younger had never even seen a vinyl DJ set before.
Together, they could hit the road, breathe excitement into the genre, and reclaim some of the respect and glory of the old days. There was just one problem – where the hell had their turntables gone?
“I lent one out to somebody, and I had no idea where it was,” Vission laughs. “I never thought I was going to be bringing turntables back in the house, setting them up – and there was a learning curve. When I got on the turntables and started practicing, that first half hour was the roughest half hour you will ever have heard.”
“Let's be honest, Richard,” Bill teases, “there's still a learning curve.”
With five shows below the belts, the guys have worked out the kinks, or at least most of them.
“There's still mistakes, and that's the fun of it,” Vission says. “You cold go see the best band in the world, but that drummer is not going to be on perfect time if you put on a metronome, but that's what makes that band breathe. When we play, the music is breathing differently.”
To err is human and to remix records on the fly is divine. As it turned out, relearning how to analog beat match and pitch control was the least of their worries. It's not just DJs who have unlearned the craft. Clubs, too, have shifted their set-ups to meet the demands of technology, and that presented Bill and Richard with a new set of problems they never could have imagined.
DJ booths have become smaller and more cramped. Most nightclubs have even outfitted the booth with noisy bass speakers, which is great if you're using Serato, but not so great for sensitive wax and needle rigs. Bill spent two days experimenting with a booming system to find the right combination of vibration cancelling techniques. He settled on the very advanced combination of squash balls underneath a two-inch slab of concrete.
Once they know the tables will stay solid, they have to test out a variety of tables with each individual sound system. Analog tables are a lot more sensitive and aren't all tuned in exactly the same way. They've got to go through six or more turntables a night just to find four that will sound great on the particular club's system. Sound checks can take as long as five to six hours. It's a real process.
“A lot of times we can't set up in the booth because four turntables won't fit, so we like to set up as close to the crowd as we can,” Vission says. “We want them to see wires coming out. We want them to really be right there, really be able to say 'wow, they're really doing it. What I'm seeing, they're doing. That's very important for us.”
It was also important that they play new music instead of just delivering the same sets from 10 or 20 years ago. Even with vinyl's recent resurgence, that meant personal appeals to friendly labels and producers they respect and asking permission to have their records pressed for the tour. Again it was time consuming, but it was well worth the wait, and it inspired the friends to have their own commemorative records pressed.
Everybody Jumpin' features five original tunes from Bill and Vission separately, as well as a revamped collaborative title track that takes one of their favorite '90s tunes from the Lisa Marie Experience (which samples an original tune by Musique from 1977) and re-imagines it for the modern dance floor. It's bouncy, energetic, and highly danceable, a real feel-good song to get crowds in the mood for a night full of fun. It's going over really well in the sets so far, and fans can order the limited release record via the tour website.
The pair are now five shows into a 20-date tour that will hit Washington, D.C. on Wednesday and Brooklyn the next night, with upcoming stops in Orlando, Atlanta and Los Angeles and more dates to be announced soon. That's a lot more than they had originally anticipated. The guy's figured they'd do six or so shows and call it a rest, but people are really embracing the idea. It's like the fans were thirsty for something they didn't know they wanted.
“This guy came up to us (at the first show in Cincinnati, Ohio),” Vission remembers. “He had tears in his eyes, and he was like 'I'm sorry if I'm so emotional, but I didn't think I'd ever see this in my lifetime again. I didn't think I'd see DJs playing vinyl, and you guys are playing new music. This is jus one of the most amazing nights of my life.' It's heavy. We told him too, we didn't think we'd be doing this two years ago either."