The Dj

I’d like to bring the concept of the DJ to the table.

The first forms of electronic music I became familiar with were things like Richard D. James album, Squarepusher, Luke Vibert, and others who i consider “artists” as they compose their own music. When someone like this hits play on stage then dances, i still feel as though i’m hearing an artist.

The concept of the DJ is very popular and has been for a while I suppose. I don’t seems to put a DJ on par with an artist for the following reasons.

  1. they don’t make their own music, at best they are making mashups with little-to-no original content.
  2. with the internet, mp3, and myspace/ipod generation, everyone has distinct tastes or identity-associations with the particular artists they listen to (or fill up their ipod with) which seems to cheapen the selections a DJ makes to merely what-this-person-listens-to, or what image they would like to convey.
  3. the majority of DJs seem very passive (i.e. put on a tune, then walk away or dance).
  4. then there are radio DJs who exclusively play what’s popular, putting them on the bottom rung.
    sidenote: people like richie hawtin have artists make music FOR him to DJ. which i find really confusing.

I bring this up because I’m finding it rather easy to get nights at a local bar in my town. I’ve played there before doing original tunes with lots of effects (instajungle/bitcrush/filters/reverbs/crossfading) and feel like i’ve payed much attention to the “performance” of it all. I’m going to be DJing on new years, and just wanted to know how you (the only online forum I associate myself with) feel about DJing.


DJ’s are cool. Consider them to be cover-bands.
They play your fave tracks and act like they pwn it.

I don’t care much for DJing and DJs except they provide
music for friday and saturday night and I say yay. It’s all
cool to me. There are guys like DJ Tiësto, who are actually
a 20-member-company producing music and having a DJ
as its face and I say awww… but okay…

There are dudes like Aphex Twin who are mighty producers
and have helped shaping contemporary electronic music and
when they perform, you pay 30 euros for a DJ-set and I say HUH!??!

So it don’t really matter in the end, at least not for me. I’d say I’d
prefer an actual live from an artistic point of view and all that jazz, but
practically it all depends on the music. I want a performer to perform
what he believes in and if I believe in it, I’ll dance.

I think DJ’s are important, as they are the people who “perform” recorded music, and put the music in context. Without those guys most standalone tracks don’t get the attention they would have deserved.

There are many kinds of DJ’s, some are good, some are bad. Some play one type of music, some play other type of music. So are there many purposes for them.

Also, don’t think DJ work is simple. Beatmatching and mixing is only part of the job. Hardest part of the job is to find right songs to mix, communicating with the crowd and selecting appropriate tempos and transistions. It’s not easy at all, playing in a rock band is often much easier than playing a good DJ set.

Have to defend radio dj’s a bit. When I was working at a radiostation we deejays were given a daily playlist from stationmanager. So it was mandatory to play the popular shit if you wanted to keep your job, you liked it or not. I doubt this has changed in past ten years, quite the opposite I believe.

Yes, it’s pretty much like that. Some higher guys decide which you are supposed to play. Day time stuff is usually the pop shit that is often actually paid to play. The evening stuff is often more free though.


wouldn’t it be great if more artists performed (however they may) their own material? perhaps most people can’t afford to tour. part of me believes the world should support the artist a bit more, rather than it being bedroom or studio-productions played at a distance from the creator.

like you said. good DJing can be more difficult that playing in a band. why do not-so-great bands get to tour? that is their context, playing live. perhaps the electronic artist deserves this same culturally assumed role. am I wrong? i believe people should be making their own music, hitting the spacebar themselves, and getting paid to do so (when feasible).

Clubs would be nothing without DJ’s… Here you have people who spend many, many hours picking through record bins finding the good songs, and bringing them to your ears. It makes getting into electronic music a lot more accessible. What if there were no DJ’s ??? You likely would never hear many many of the tunes because you would have no access to the vinyl records (and not enough $ to buy them all)

Sure, there are ones who have sold out, but you can say that about people in any artform …

So, I thank the DJ. Even though I removed it from my music alias, due to the negative connotations you mentioned. Plus I don’t really spin anymore.

Mushen: DJs are much cheaper than a band or an artist performing.

For me it’s kinda like a love/hate relationship. I’ve seen great DJs that no one knows about but gave me a great night, and I paid alot of cash to see “huge” DJs that bored the hell out of me.

The technical side is either a question of practice or not even a matter anymore (MP3/Laptop-Djing) so it’s basically some dude playing music he likes, and lets face it, some guys have terrible taste in music. That is basically all it boils down to, the selection of tracks and some gimmicks on the sideline. Can be great, can be awful.

However, what I don’t like is the way some of these Guys behave, they are nothing without the musicians providing tracks and the concept of a Superstar-DJ just makes me laugh. And DJs becoming producers are mostly (!) a bad joke. After some years spinning they suddenly get the idea that they can do it all better and most of the time they fail miserably. But there are exceptions to this ofcourse, and producers spinning is another story.

being one man in the dj booth, 100% dependent on himself only, relying on vulnerable technology and/or shaky turntables, having to please a packed dancefloor while at the same time improvising, beatmixing, and building up/down the set… sure is way more demanding. and you gotta keep the pace for several hours too.

but on the other hand, being only one man also comes with a lot of benifits. playing in a band often feels like being married to 4 wives at the same time :blink:

aah, I guess it all depends on the gig itself. I’ve had many relaxing but successfull nights behind the decks, and on the other hand many nerve-torturing gigs with my band.

either way, one thing I’d really like would be to have my tracks on vinyl, would be awesome to have the opportunity to once in a while do a dj-set instead of bringing lots of hardware.

i dunno if this was written but DJ’s are much different in most cultures & genres.


Any DJ who does a rewind is a cunt and needs a headshot.

Kiiiiiiiiill frenzy!! :lol:

For real… Actually one of the most powerful/memorable experiences I have was during a night that I drove an hour & a half to see DJ Dara spin. But it was smoky down there and I just wasn’t getting into it (and neither was the rest of the crowd) even though I was a huge jungle-head at the time (1999). I stepped upstairs to the other room and there was this very little known house DJ, but he had so much energy, was playing incredible tunes and EVERYONE in the place was dancing. I stepped out into the middle of it and had the time of my life. This is one of the things that turned me on to house music in the first place, before that I didn’t really get it :D

I’m going to sound like an old fart, but that’s OK…I just turned 34 :D

Anybody remember John Peel (R.I.P.)? That particular “disc jockey” has probably had the greatest influence of any DJ ever, being a BBC1 presenter from 1967-2004, and introducing people to the likes of, well, Autechre and Captain Beefheart.

It’s the job of the DJ to spread music… make it accessible… give people a chance to hear it. They are not, by definition, musicians. They do however, have a purpose.

I think the problem is that many DJs come off with the attitude that they ARE musicians when they’re simply laying tracks, or at most, doing simple remixes or manipulations of a track.

They’re not the composers. They’re the heart of the party, keeping the music, the lifeblood, pumping through your ears into your soul. They’re the ship’s pilot, taking you on a sonic journey. They did not create the landscape, but if they’re good, they know where all the most interesting hills and valleys are.

Nahh rewinds are great, if done well (dropped back in right on the beat) and not over-used.

but Drum & Bass DJs that rewind or cut every other song are pretty annoying! I like slow, smooth mixing.