July 12, 2014

Technics SL-1200 "Coffin Report": Wolfgang Gartner & Cut Chemist

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wolfgang gartner sitton a sidewalk in front of modern building
Wolfgang’s Technics memories…

As part of our ongoing series about the demise of the Technics SL-1200, “The Coffin Report,” we asked Wolfgang Gartner and Cut Chemist to wax sentimental.

Wolfgang Gartner

Do you have a memory of the first time you were impressed by another DJ playing on the Technics 1200s? My first experience with turntables was at warehouse raves back in California in the mid 90′s, but at the time I didn’t know the difference between the brands or types, I was just fascinated with the whole idea of vinyl and turntables in general.  I remember buying records before I even owned decks. I didn’t have a way to play them, I would just bring them home, smell the vinyl, look at them, and fantasize about being able to mix them.

Any memories of getting your first set of 1200s? Most of my early years as a DJ were spent using friends’ 1200s because I was too broke to afford them.  I had a pair of Numark belt drives that I could just mess around with at home, but had to go to friends’ houses to play on the real deal.  It wasn’t until 2003 that I actually got my own, and I bought them off a friend, stands, mixer and all.  They are still sitting here in the record room with thousands of records, gathering dust.

Anything you miss about that approach to DJing? The thing I miss most is probably the artwork and jackets as a way of picking out music when playing live.  Being able to associate the artwork and that visual element was a huge part of DJing for me.  I made labels for all my CD’s for a while when I switched over to digital, but that was obviously very time consuming and didn’t last long!

DJ cut chemist behind the decks
Cut Chemist, still crazy after 26 years

Cut Chemist

OK, hit us: Your first time seeing the 1200. I think the first time I saw the Technics 1200 was at a 6th grade dance. The DJ was using them. I remember because it was the same turntable on the back of the Malcolm McLaren “D’ya Like Scratchin” album cover. They impressed me because they looked so sturdy and industrial. I think it was the “S” arm that made me think it was special and not for regular consumers.

And how about your first purchase. I remember, in 1984, searching all over town with my father for this turntable without knowing what model or make it was. I took the “Dy’a Like Scratchin” LP cover to the Federated Group, a chain of electronic store outlets here in L.A. They coudn’t help me but told me about a place on Beverly Blvd called ABC Premium. It was a higher end retail outlet for pro-sumer electronics. They told me it was a Technics SL1200 and they sold em for $300. A year later I got another one there for the same price.

Where are those Technics now? I still have them to this day and they have been used all over the world with Ozomatli, Jurassic 5, and DJ Shadow. 26 years later I still use them. I was right when I thought they looked sturdy. I hope they continue production on the Technics. There has never been another turntable that even comes close.

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