DJs have become fucking bitches. They are almost meaningless. How do I know? I’m a fucking DJ.
DJs used to be respected as purveyors and curators of music but over the years have transformed into either grumpy motherfuckers who keep it real but don’t connect with the crowds or fucking crowd-pleasing lames who just give people exactly what they want and end up playing the same shit day in and day out. I’m part of the latter group because I like to make money.
In large part they’ve been crowded out by the producer who DJs. They’ve been the ones playing the more interesting events but in many ways are still limited because if they reach a certain level of popularity, they’re expected to do sets of all tracks they’ve produced.
DJs like myself who don’t produce and are too proud/cheap to pay for a ghost producer don’t help our cause with a lot of the mixes we put out. They tend to be just packed with the latest big songs in a certain genre. Many probably think that this is a good way to get attention, but all it does is lead to 1000 mixes that have the same tracks and are thus indistinguishable. It all comes from fuckboi reasoning. You think if you give the people what they want in a mix it will get you more gigs. It’s flawed though.
The gig aspect of DJing might be perma-fucked but the mix/curation aspect of DJing need not be. DJs need to be ready to take risks again with their mixing, focusing not necessarily on bangers but rather on theme. If you’re a fucking serious DJ you should like more than just the most recognized bangers of just one genre. You should have a varied musical palette. More people need to see the mix as a method of communicating an idea rather than a means to obtaining a $100 paying gig.
Assholes with a shitload of friends walk into bars and clubs every fucking day and have packed nights playing bangers off iTunes. If you’re actually decent at DJing (and many who call themselves DJs are not, yeah I’m looking at you DJ/model types), then you can do something different. You can show the relationship between different genres of music. You can highlight a certain theme.
Take this mix from Cousin Cole out of New York for example. Every song is a different genre but they are tied together thematically around the idea of “the cold”. He also does cool transitions between each track.
Another example is one from myself from last summer that was inspired by the World Cup of soccer (or football). The idea was to combine tracks that were related to soccer, to Brazil and to sport in general.
Some of the tracks in either of those mixes are new and some are old. They are cool without blatantly trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
I know a lot of you are gonna fucking tell me that you do this already. In response I say: Fuck you. This post wasn’t made for you. What are you looking for? A pat on the back? Go get one from your mom.
Think my idea is wrong? There is a ton of evidence to back it up. If there was no demand for this type of mix then why would there be a ton of services like Songza, Spotify and Rdio that specifically have curated playlists built around a vibe or occasion. A lot of people express appreciation for these.
Basically just be interesting. Don’t be like the Two And A Half Men of music. A lot of people watch that show I guess but does anyone actually rave about it other than super basic noobs?