Friday, November 12, 2010

On Being a Goth/Industrial DJ in NYC

A DJs career is dependent upon one thing: time.  DJs, to show their worth, must be able to spin a full club event alone 10pm-4am(6 hours).  A 30 minute set is approximately 6 songs- a 45 minute set, 9.  It takes almost no skill to select 6 or 9 songs to play back to back.  A true DJ takes the crowd through fast periods, slow periods, and creates a story or a music landscape in the mind- an adventure into music.   A short jaunt is just a cameo, it's a favor done by the promoter to allow the DJ to make a cameo appearance to build up their name.

It is not normal to have a club event with more than one or at the most two DJs.  This style of club event was brought about by DJ JASON, who decided to make a super party that was made up completely of cameos by other star DJs.  He didn't intend for everybody to copy this style, not realizing that people would eventually think that shamelessly ripping off other people's club event styles was OK.  

What happens when every event has four or more DJs on it?

1) the deterioration of DJing as a skill.  If nobody knows how to spin a club event from start to finish, it is not as much of a skill as it used to be and hardly a skill at all.  For who can't string 6-9 songs together?

2) the cheapening of the image of all DJs.  If nobody can tell a real DJ from one who has only spun at most for an hour, the DJs with no skills get the same promo as the real DJs.  It turns it from being a skill into just a promotion bubble, on the level of the Kardashians.

3) The end of DJing as a career- if no DJ can play a full night, obviously they aren't going to get paid much or anything for playing.  Therefore touring is certainly not worthwhile, nor is learning a skill they are never going to get to use.  Anyone who wants to spin a full night had better also develop the skill of Promoting so they can book themselves for a full night or else they will never be heard on that level.  With this double workload, will anyone without a huge head start ever pursue this art?

For most promoters to book 4 or more DJs is actually anti to the Goth/Industrial scene's music being studied in depth by specialists because it makes it not worthwhile, while at the same time creating a glut of "faux" DJs who have very little skills- who have been billed on lots of flyers but spun a quarter or less of the hours a real DJ has spun.  This horde of "faux" DJs also does not understand the true role of the DJ in club events- a DJ MUST support the club event they have chosen, or which has given them a chance to build a name.  They cannot go from club event to club event on the same night, but must help build up the same club event of their choice in order to build a name.  Promoters think they have found a treasure when they rip off the structure of ABSOLUTION in having multiple DJs, but in reality they are helping keep the Goth/Industrial scene at a minimal level by replicating this style.  It's not meant for everyone, only ABSOLUTION who has done it for 12 years! 

I'm sure it must be confusing for would-be DJs to be given a 30minute- 1 hour sets at EVERY EVENT- that's not supposed to happen.   I'm happy that I did not develop during this time period. 

1 comment:

  1. Ha Ha, I found a comment on one of our fan pages that claimed that I "just didn't want other promoters to be able to draw and that's why I wrote this." Well, honestly, I say "keep doing it". Why should there be any other great DJs? If every new DJ only spins for an hour or less, no DJ will be able to get the hours it takes to become truly great. Why should there be a glut of many great DJs? Just keep doing what you're doing if you want to stay small.


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