Easy as 1, 2, Thre3style A DJ showdown primer
After starting out as a Canada-only contest in 2007, Red Bull Thre3style has grown into the largest DJ competition on the planet. This year the world finals are in Toronto – DJs from 21 countries battle it out all week in clubs around town.
The concept is simple but challenging, even for experienced mixers. Each DJ has only 15 minutes to impress judges, and must span at least three genres of music within that time. While competitors can use laptops, they aren’t allowed to use that handy sync button to cheat and must use the supplied turntables or CD decks to beat-match.
The format forces DJs out of their musical comfort zones, which could make for some unexpected juxtapositions of genres and rhythms. And the short sets mean competitors must cram a lot of exciting moments and tricks into a barrage of beats.
In addition to being scored on their mixing technique, DJs are also awarded points for the originality of their track selections, the creativity of their mixes, crowd response and stage presence. Custom edits, remixes and dubplates are encouraged, which can definitely help DJs stand out.
Playing alongside the competitors and closing out the nights is a who’s who of international DJ talent, many of whom will appear on panels and participate in daytime Q&A sessions at the Thompson Hotel (550 Wellington). That means the public gets to pick the brains of big-name talents like A-Trak (pictured) and DJ Jazzy Jeff, and also watch turntablists like Kid Koala rock the decks up close.