In this video, Grand Wizard Theodore demos the Scratchophone.
The Scratchophone is a cool portable DJ instrument created by Thierry Alari. Here’s Alari’s answers to common questions about the Scratchophone:
What is your background, how did you become a turntable innovator?
I’m coming from no where, I mean, I’m just an unsatisfied scratch intrumentist. I’ve been playing (and tweaking) guitar for a long time until I discover the “scratch art”. Everybody knows this “wiki wiki” sound, it’s common in many musical styles now… but almost no one knows HOW to do that sound. How can you play a turntable ? The answer is sad for a lot of classical instruments players, but, yes, scratching is a new (about 20 years) “instrumental practice”. For instance, there’s about 30+ differents “scratch routines” to combine in rythm, a system for a musical notation (turntablist transcription method TTM) and of course an infinity of audio samples possibilities (voices, drums, etc.) to play with. Plus new gears, new vinyl skip proof records, scratch lessons DVD, etc…
So, scratching is maybe an instrumental practice but where is the instrument ?
The scratch “instrumental unity” does not exist. The classic setup for a scratcher is a turntable, a mixer (with a proper scratch Xfader) and amplification. It costs too much, especially for the youth … All this gear’s chain can easily be designed in an “all in one” concept, autonomous and portable. With a scratchophone you can play standing up and front stage, while eventually even singing …
This scratch instrument should create new usage’s situations (and then new users) because it offers a kind of new found freedom : we are not constraint anymore in a given space.
This is the kind of idea that some people might have but never see it through, what made you pursue it as strongly as you have ?
Beyond this simple market observation, I’ve got the “very shellfish” plan to work everyday with a big banana on my face, that means I’ve got an personnal entreprise project and I’ve just found my “passion sector of activity”: Scratch instrument maker.
I like the idea to bring something new to the community of instrumentists. Remenber that, this is not like selling toothpaste, this is a musical instrument, it requires endless passion for a product of quality.
At least, even with no economic success, I’m trying to do what I really like, everyday. Project management, business plan, PR, technical R/D, etc.. For 2 years now, I’m making prototypes (version 0.5 soon) while preparing the classic entrepreneur formation. I just hope to gently shift one day from my basic day to day work to this not so exotic professionnal activity.
Do you plan to manufacture these for full distribution, if so how much would you expect it would cost ?
If one day I succeed to deliver a quality prototype, I plan to manufacture and distribute it like a small handcraftman. I’m not a big fan of those chinese mass product visions. It can be Hand made, one by one, custom etc… and why not selling them on an auction site ? New distributions channels should be quite effective to warm this niche market. Price must be competitive wich means that a basic version should cost less than 250 Â£. Then, we may imagine all kind of options like autosampler, fx, fm transmetter, more speakers power etc.