The DJ Aesthetic

A Look into the Philosophy and Technology That Enable the Disc Jockey

by Zack Hellman


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This thesis provides an examination of Disc Jockey (DJ) technology, technique, and aesthetics. The history of popular dance music is explored in an attempt to demonstrate the role that technology has played in the development and future of the DJ aesthetic. Criteria for evaluating and producing Disc Jockey Music Technology is pursued in order to define the fundamentals of dance music and the essence of an authentic DJ performance.

About the Author

Zack Hellman received his Bachelors of Music from New York University, where he specialized in Music Technology. There he studied under the guidance of Dr. Robert Rowe, Dr. Juan Bello, Joel Chadabe, and Paul Geluso. He learned music theory from Dr. Thomas MacFarlane and studied music history with the acclaimed Walter Reinhardt. Mr. Hellman also worked as a recording engineer at Carnegie Hall under the tutelage of Leszek Wojcik. He also received his Masters of Music from NYU, where he wrote the thesis titled "A Look into the Philosophy and Technology That Enable the Disc Jockey," one of the first extensive works on such matters. Mr. Hellman has worked extensively with Pro Tools, Logic, Ableton Live, Max/MSP, and is an expert in Serato Scratch Live. He has experience in audio mastering, acoustics and sound reinforcement, live concert and studio recording, and music synthesis. He plays piano and bass, and has performed as a club disc jockey for over ten years.