Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Some Populist Thoughts Encompassing DJing And Performing

Just something that's on my mind a little as I take the plunge into production. Actually, let me rephrase that; think about taking the plunge into production. If I don't do it now I ever will and I think I've got it in me. Not like a contestant from Masterchef who declares their winning ability in the first episode only to be ejected at the end f it. Speaking as somebody who has paid their dues in full and knows what they're talking about. Primarily an ideas man at the outset, now's the time to try and put those thoughts into practice.

Direction is a difficult one though, as is the necessity to be thought of as a serious artist, without coming off all po-faced. I'm trading in cliches here, but the dichotomy between the two is often small to non-existent. I don't know why by the idea of DJ as educator has always been a difficult one for me. Nothing wrong with picking up on new tunes when witnessing a set, or being inspired by what a certain selector does. It's the idea of playing records with the persuasive, educational aspect uppermost on one's mid that has always had me nonplussed. Play your music, let others listen, don't be too active in coercion. Maybe that's what's held me back all these years. I guess I'm just too lazy. Having said that, the art and craft of DJing fascinates me greatly. "What art, what craft?" I hear you say. Well, it doesn't happen overnight. Let's be clear. whatever comes from the turntables, CDJs, Traktor, Serato, or Abletion has to mean something. It's also necessary to know that any selector worth their salt knows their stuff. They've got a body of experience handed down congenitally from within their own timeline that is pretty much incorruptible. With this knowledge comes confidence borne of implicit preparation. Each gig has been meticulously rehearsed, both actively and passively, throughout life. "Great DJs are born, not made."

"I asked for a wolf and they got me a table lamp . . ." so said Rafa Benitez when questioned about Valencia's transfer policy before his move to Liverpool in 2004, (well not exactly. I can't remember the precise words). The fact is DJs should play what they like, if they don't then they're drones. I don't think that shite behemoths like Judge Jules (it could be anyone within reason) have these wonderful musical heritages to start with. They're just opportunist chancers (worse than opportunists), who play to those less fortunate than themselves. Less fortunate because they treat a night out under forced circumstances as something special when it's not. It's bowel-curdling, cacophonous, arpeggiated shite. 

The value of the resident DJ here can't be understated. Often the saviour of the night, it's him or her who rarely puts a foot wrong due to the advanced level of rapport already built up with the sweaty mob. It's difficult to imagine many of todays A-list giving time to such a concept. They do, of course, but only transiently . . . for a few months of the year on Ibiza, or somewhere similar. It's not something that lends itself very well to anyone unless they have a real love of the music and contact. Luke and Kenny were great at Space, Harri and Domenic continue to rule the roost at Subculture . . . and you've got Ralph Lawson still pulling them in alongside Buckley and Tristan da Cunha at Back To Basics . . . not forgetting Craig Richards and Terry Francis at Fabric. These are the types of environment that make the most sense to me when contemplating the apparent effortlessness that bring performance and playing, mostly, other people's music, together. Sincerity and knowledge still count for a lot and outside the warehouse hinterland the interaction in these types of temporary autonomous zone is as close as you'll get to them.

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