Not often in dance music do we see live instrumentation incorporated into a DJ set. Well this is what Bristol based DJ and producer Cansen Yilmaz, or better known as Be Like Butter, decided to experiment with during lockdown.
Like other quarantined DJs across the globe, Cansen was forced to broadcast his sets online, however, he, Matt Saxx and percussionist Monka caught the attention of social media platforms with their unique streams. What made their live-streams stand out so much is something known as “participatory discrepancies”. During a typical DJ set, the audience experiences a pre-produced record being mixed in with other tracks. Historically, DJs such as Ron Hardy used bass and drum sequencing to create edits of a track live within the club. This is what made him stand out, taking disco grooves and adding harder house percussion and bass lines.
In a similar way, the combination of a DJ with live saxophone and percussion added a sense of intrigue to Cansen’s streams. As viewers, the minor improvisations which were added to the overall sound were key in stimulating our sense of engagement and how we perceived the set. Many DJs are like a roller-coaster. As soon as you are going up towards the drop you have a sense of what is coming. With a stream like this, I felt that by adding a sense of musicality, more twists and turns were added to the ride which made it more exciting.
Despite the addition of instrumentation, credit must be given to Cansen for his DJing skills. Often artists will be deterred from having live instrumentation in their sets. However, there is a technique to playing a record that will cater to extra sounds being played over the top. Selecting a track which has enough space in the mix for these elements is a key part of DJing with session musicians. This is something that Cansen has been doing on his livestreams and when he has played in the UK at events such as Tekno Disco and in Ibiza at venues such as O Beach.
Over the course of lockdown, Cansen and his team reached over one million views across all streams and even had themselves plastered across the Manchester tower for the entire city center to see. If you like the sound of what Cansen has been doing, then check out his Facebook and Instagram pages, Be Like Butter, where you can watch back previous streams. He also releases music on Spotify under the same name and has releases on labels Strictly Rhythm and Below the Belt.