The pair started playing together as Naysayer and Gilsun in 2009, DJing at club nights and putting out mixtapes of sweaty mashup tracks like Girl Talk. As self-described film and television geeks, the inclusion of a video component to their sets was a natural progression. Inspiration came from the video edits of Eclectic Method as well as a 2manydjs video show and the filmic samplings of DJ pioneer Steinski. Since then, they’ve released several installments of their NGTV video mixtape series, and played AV sets at festivals and clubs around Australia. Next month sees them on the festival circuit, playing their audiovisual set through regional Australia with Andrew W.K., Wavves, Public Enemy and Portable.tv favourite Kimbra.
Preparing an AV set goes beyond the traditional crate-digging. For Naysayer and Gilsyn, a video edit starts with sourcing the material — this could be film, TV or found footage from YouTube.
“Once we have it, we cut it down to a few lines or scenes to start playing with, trim it down and essentially go through the stages of reformatting and converting — horrible stuff,” Gill says. “Then we can start editing and syncing it up to audio, seeing how timing and structure work.”
Neher describes a painstaking process of putting together a set to the highest technical standards of 1080p high resolution.
“It’s brought up so many issues in terms of getting our computers optimized getting projectors, getting a workflow where we can edit in 1080p,” he says. “Luckily, we’re sort of there now.”
Technical requirements aside, AV DJing also requires a certain stylistic approach. Reconciling the silent cinema viewer with the fist-pumping raver is a delicate balancing act. Over time, Naysayer and Gilsun have developed their own method for satisfying the full sensory spectrum.
“The general philosophy I take is when playing dance music the edits should be intense, colourful, dreamy and hypnotic during the build up, and when the beat does kick in it should allow people to spend half their attention on the screen and half dancing,” Neher explains, referring to this approach tongue-in-cheek as “trance-and-dance”.