The Avalanches’ Robbie Chater chats slipmats and turntables ahead of the release of the internationally celebrated electronic duo’s upcoming studio album, We Will Always Love You. Be sure to check out JB Hi-Fi’s splendiferous vinyl pre-order slipmat bonus, and major Audio-Technica turntable competition, to celebrate the release!
Let’s start with the bleedingly obvious question for anyone who doesn’t know anything about DJing: What in hell is a slipmat? “It’s for the platter of your turntable, and the vinyl record is placed on top of it,” Chater patiently explains. The point of it – as opposed to your regular rubber mat, which holds an LP securely in place as the platter turns – is that a DJ can guide the record’s spin with their hands, so that it ‘slips’ over the platter. And that’s how you scratch.
Chater has an extra wee trick up his sleeve to make record manipulation more manageable: “Under each of my slipmats I have a plastic inner sleeve from an old record, cut into a circle, to make my records spin and cue easier.” Genius.
But a slipmat isn’t necessarily just for function. Take the We Will Always Love You vinyl pre-order bonus slipmat, which sports a stunning, kaleidoscopic, celestial design – the perfect addition to (or first acquisition for) your slipmat stockpile. “I have quite a collection,” Chater says. “Some just look beautiful, some are practical. They are real pieces of art in their own right. I have a Grand Royal one I got in 1997, when we toured with the Beastie Boys, that I still have to this day. I have a few that were gifts from different clubs we played in, all over the world.”
Keeping your slipmats clean is important, but moreso is taking care of your actual turntable. Chater admits he and The Avalanches bandmate Tony Di Blasi haven’t always been vigilant in this respect, particularly when a show hits its frenzied stride. “At festivals, we’ve knocked [turntables] off the DJ table when jumping around, and destroyed a few,” he confesses. “I’ve accidentally broken one by jumping on it, too, at a club show.”
Ok, so no jumping on your turntable – well-noted. Aside from this recommendation, Chater offers one other golden rule for turntable care: “Don’t put your cat on it, no matter how cute you think it might be.”
We Will Always Love You by The Avalanches is out December 11 – on black vinyl, JB-exclusive deluxe doublemint/electric blue vinyl, and CD – via Modular/EMI.
Keep up with the latest Australian release dates for music.