The weekend before last I helped a couple of my friends put on a small local show. Unfortunately we had a subpar turnout. I stood outside with sad needy eyes. Seeing how fast DJs come out of the woodwork to try to get you to book them even though they won’t show up to check it out or even pitch in with the promotional effort. I also noticed one important thing. My song selection is as old as dirt. People kept asking if I was going to spin and I kept having to turn them down. I wouldn’t know the first thing about putting together a DJ set.
I believe song selection is as important as technique. No matter the genre or style, constructing an educated and sometimes emotional set can transcend even the most blind of disregard. If they’re just starting, people will excuse a chop up here and there if the selection is great. Sprinkling a couple of classics can be the saving grace from turning around what would be background noise while people get blasted. It’s those personal touches that let us know which DJ’s are really devoted to their craft. Playing one new hot track won’t always make your entire set memorable. Having a set that keeps people guessing makes both the causal and the involved stand on their toes.
Yes I know, people will disagree. Some people say it’s all about skill. Others only care about one genre, playing that one genre well, and never giving anything else a chance. There’s no room to be narrow sighted. I’ve been won over time and again at some of the strangest of places. Venturing outside my comfort zone is what’s given me a chance to learn the real scope of music. Blind prejudice puts festival polluting, neon fist pumpers and the “I’m so underground I only listen to sets from the 80’s” people on the same wavelength that’s systematically keep our culture down.
There are simple ways to improve your selection. Never throw a set of nothing but bangers from the last two years. Even if you do a good job at mixing them together, that style of mixing isn’t going to get you anywhere. Don’t pander to crowds. You’re in charge of the decks for a reason. What you need to do is play up to the spirit of the event. Wedding DJs have the hardest audience to play for. The good ones will tell you one secret about that audience; never play what drunk uncles and sentimental grandmothers want. Play songs about love, faithfulness, and happiness. Same goes for shows and events. Lead the crowd in the direction they came for. Or if it’s a Death Metal wedding, play Pantera’s “This Love” and watch the joy fly. Lastly; play what you want. There’s nothing better than hearing a musician play the music they like. That feeling emanates. Passion should be heard in every choice, because it’s passion that separates a real artist from whatever everybody else is doing.
This Week In Music
Down to the Nitty Gritty. Five FREE DOWNLOADS. Interestingly enough, the remixes are a big part of this list. Even though I tried to throw out tracks that were semi-ambiguous because of the holiday weekend.
Pras Ft. Mya and Old Dirty Bastard – Ghetto Superstar (GoshFather and Jinco and Sasha Grey Remix)
This track does nothing but fill me with awe and wonderment. Mostly because It got me thinking why nobody had ever done a proper remix of this song before. It’s club-friendly, House-oriented, with slight touches of Tech that keep it from sounding too Big Room. Most of the vocals are kept intact, except the OBD part (R.I.P. Yea Yea Yea). I think the producers had to lift the source material from the original track, but they did it properly. There’s enough tempo change and vocal highlighting to call it a proper remix. On another note, I don’t think Sasha Grey had anything to do with this. It sounds completely different than the other things he’s been credited for. It’s probably one of those marketing things that they’re either trying to break her out as a full on artist or just using the name to feature new artists. I don’t really buy into that type of marketing. Goshfather and Jinco had some other interesting tracks you should check out. I say invest some time in giving them a chance before they crossover to dark side.
Chris Isaak – Wicked Games (Chris Lake & Chris Lorenzo Edit)
More Chris’ in a title than an 80’s new wave band. Remixed from a late 80’s early 90’s song about unrequited love, it’s feels more like a modern remake than an edit. Deep, chill notes with a slightly tempered House vibe. The guitar riffs give it a mildly Tropical feel, while the melody keeps it from becoming too forlorn. Don’t expect the younger generation to get it. They’ll just like that it’s a Chris Lake track and lunge at you in passion. I know because it happened to me.
Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc. (Dj Mandraks & R3ckzet Bootcamp)
I bet you didn’t think I was serious when I said there was a bunch of Remixes this week. I think this one just might be my favorite. There’s a lot of 1605, Eastern European House influences. I really can’t find anything to call out on this track. It’s a well-rounded track that touches on enough bases to be played for many different audiences. The hint of Techno is what really called to me.
Hashtag – Boris Brejcha
Track of the week right here. It hits me on all the sonic levels that I love. A Techno track with noticeable elements of Acid, Dark, and Minimal mixed in. Which all gets swept away by the melodic lulls. The track is almost a showcase in Brejcha’s repertoire of great Techno tracks. He does a great job at it and I’m looking forward to hearing more from this artist.
It’s Not Enough – Craig Williams
This last track is for my Deep House heads. It’s not exactly Deep House, but I think you’ll like it just the same. It definitely shows its Acid and Techno roots. I love that Chicago Minimal vibe, although the repetition does wear thin after a while.
Next Week: End of the Year Review (just to get it out of the way)
Raul Chacon is a self-aware douchebag, who only listens to bands you’ve probably never heard of. His years of writing for literary reviews and magazines, lead him to a couple of scholarships for his work, which he quickly squandered by moving to Austin and going to shows six days a week(instead of class). Eventually, he became a touring security guard and witnessed hundreds of shows and dozens of festivals firsthand. He would tell you how many shows he’s been to; but there’s too many holes in his brain at this point.
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