Archive for the ‘ DJ Creative Process ’ Category

“It’s Not What You Create, It’s THAT You Create”

One of the things that I’m discovering is that DJs put so much pressure on themselves about a mix, that sometimes it becomes about the mix and less about having fun and enjoying the process.   I know that a lot of times, it’s hard work, but there should be enjoyment and exhilaration during that work – passion!  It’s supposed to be satisfying. hard. work. So what is really going on here?

“Miriam Webster’s defines creativity as “to bring into existence something new”.  The crucial point is that creativity is not defined as the new thing produced; it is the act of bringing it forth.” (Quinlan, 2005, 8 )

The definition focuses on the act of bringing, not the thing that is brought into the world.  How does this relate to DJ creativity?  A lot of your creating happens when you’re by yourself – you need to focus on you and that’s important.  The downside of that is you are also alone with your thoughts and anxiety, that’s part of the creative process.   However, that anxiety will put pressure on your mind and you will focus on an end game. You can’t judge who you are as an artist solely on what happens as the result of your creative process. You will have enough people judging you in your mind, don’t do that to yourself.  So if you focus on the act of creating, you will be in a better position to listen to yourself when you feel you might be going in the wrong direction, or know when you’re hitting a wall, or feel an illumination happening – if you’re so focused on the mix ( or set or the end game of whatever you’re doing ) you’re missing out on important creative cues that can lead you to very interesting paths. You need to experience your art WHILE you are making it.   Let yourself make mistakes – forgive yourself for them – it’s just you and the decks. So your mix is your creativity in a final form, it is not the only representation of your creativity.

Another aspect of this is perspective about yourself.  You are not your mix.  The mix is YOU.  You are other things as a DJ – there’s a spectrum of characteristics you embody that are outside of that sixty minute download.  Who knows MAYBE there are other things at play that are causing mistakes, a bad recording session or even a happy deviation. So what if you’re practicing and your beats are galloping over and over.  That doesn’t mean you’re not creative – that means you’re having a frustrating moment with technique and you will get it if you keep trying.  See the difference?  Don’t let yourself spiral!

It’s a DJ cultural thing, I think, that puts a lot of emphasis on the mix.  It makes sense as that’s the main way a listener can understand a DJs point of view.  I don’t think culturally the emphasis should change, but I believe you should consider reflecting on how that emphasis impacts you while you are creating.

Some of you work from themes – something overarching that you want to communicate in your mix and some of you start more from within, with one track and build out.  Understanding your approach and immersing yourself in it will help lessen the impact of what that mix will be while you’re putting it together.  It’s more about keeping things open-ended and fighting off rigidity.  What I mean is that sticking to your original plan may not be where your DJ muse wants to take you. You need to let things happen, and you need to learn from them.  Doing so allows for your essence to come into the process which ultimately makes your mix and what you put out there more individual and unique.

“It’s not what you create, it’s THAT you create” – Kathleen Quinlan

Recap:  Creativity is the act of bringing forth, not the thing.  Experience your art while you are making it. The mix is YOU.  Know your approach.

Did you find this interesting and would like to share your thoughts?  Drop me a line!

Source: Inspiring Creativity – An Anthology of Powerful Insights and Practical Ideas to Guide You to Successful Creating – by Rick Benzel