Fail At Interesting

Dave Pinter

I was watching a program ( one of those Iron Chef cooking competitions – don’t ask ) and one of the judges, Simon Majumdar a world renowned food critic, said when critiquing a dish “I would rather someone fail at interesting than achieve mediocrity.”  Something about this struck me enough to share it.  If you think about this statement, a number of things can be revealed to you as a DJ.

We all want to be interesting artists, re-envision a genre, make epic transitions and mixes, laser focus your performance so that when someone hears you they know without a doubt it’s a set from you.  It’s a journey to get there.  But how? And what are the risks?

I think failing at interesting can yield a lot of valuable information about yourself and is critical in your DJ journey.  Of course, you don’t want to be mediocre and yet sometimes you make concessions one way or another – whether it’s modeling too closely to your DJ idol thinking that’s a fast track somewhere, completely losing your voice and approach letting the audience completely dominate you, chasing the top 10 ( see Getting To Know Your Tracks ), and many more.  This is what I think leads someone to be mediocre – making too many concessions.

Here is an interesting example of failing at interesting.  I read this article about The Bunker party’s ninth anniversary and Bryan Kasenic aka DJ Spinoza talks about how he incorporated different elements in his party aside from The Bunker’s usual techno format.  He admits it wasn’t a complete success ( there weren’t as many people as he had hoped ) but I would say based on the feedback he got – he did something really interesting.

“I was trying to experiment on that night,” Kasenic says. “I’ve been getting into this new wave of synthesizer experimental music where they seem to be going for this meditative yet super-psychedelic sound. It’s rooted in the super-DIY noise scene: Somebody playing this beautiful old synthesizer, with a broad spectrum of sound, out of a guitar amp. It’s really brightly lit, and there’s somebody DJing punk rock songs between bands. I really wanted to see that music presented properly in New York, just to see what happened. There weren’t as many people as I’d hoped for, but the people who did show up [said]: ‘This is amazing. This is what needs to be happening in New York.”

For more about The Bunker’s history and future go here:

http://www.villagevoice.com/2012-01-04/music/the-bunker-turns-nine/

Now, I’m sure Bryan learned a lot from this experiment but most importantly he gave it a try.  Expecting to be perfect all the time is a fool’s pursuit.  So if you know that nothing is perfect why not at least make it interesting during the process!  The point is that we need more DJ’s who are different, who are pushing the boundaries, who are interesting and the only way to get there is to try even though failure is a genuine risk.  What Bryan did was contribute energy, uniqueness and new ideas to the New York scene – will he do it again, yes, even though his last endeavor there weren’t as many people as he hoped ( which is a minimal consequence in relation to the accomplishment ).

So remember: would you rather fail at interesting? Or would you rather achieve mediocrity? If the answer is the latter – than you are DJ’ing for all the wrong reasons.

  1. May 24th, 2012
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