Posts Tagged ‘ digital dj ’

TRAINWRECK: DJs – Don’t Be Angry!

I’ve seen a T-Shirt company called “Angry DJ” that sells T-Shirts with slogans saying “Serato Don’t Make You A DJ” and “I Am Not Your iPod”.  It is no surprise to us that there are so many things that make us just damn plain angry.   Now while these expressions hit a nerve, offer a sense of universal understanding, and are quite funny, I contend that they are a quick fix in our troubled culture.

Acting out anger doesn’t serve you period.  Is it frustrating to see someone who in your opinion is taking the easy way out of DJing?   Is it frustrating to be misunderstood by the audience and venue owners? Absolutely on both counts according to a survey of DJs I conducted.  The anger you are feeling is expressive of what you are passionate about and that’s great!  It means you care about what you are doing and what it means to you in your life.  But if you are spending your valuable time being frustrated and angry you are not focusing on what you should be really working on – finding your true audience, working on your skills, and developing your creativity.  Anger, much like jealousy ( see Jealousy As a Creative Killer ), is a distraction, a wasted emotion.

I’m sharing this quote from Werner Herzog, famous director, that might lend some perspective on your anger ( read: snap out of it ).

“Quit your complaining. It’s not the world’s fault that you wanted to be an artist. It’s not the world’s job to enjoy the films you make, and it’s certainly not the world’s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work.”

“Angry DJ” T-Shirts brings up two really hot topics.  The digital vs. analog debate and requests.

Requests are a fact of life for any DJ.   It’s how you deal with them that makes all the difference.  How do you think an audience member would feel if they saw a DJ wearing a T-Shirt ( because you know some DJ is actually going to do this ) saying “I Am Not Your iPod”?  That’s not educating the audience, that’s further distancing them.  On top of that, if you’re spinning at a venue where you secretly feel it’s necessary to say that to the patrons – you’re spinning at the wrong venue.  Remember, you don’t have to just play out anywhere and if you are constantly dealing with an audience that is making requests, you didn’t do your homework to recognize you are the wrong DJ for that venue.  Instead, get good enough to be considered to spin at the venues where there is the right audience for your music.  Only the top 10% of all DJs in the world do not get requests.  It’s a reality in our culture, so there’s no reason to get angry and frustrated about it, or take it out on your audience – just deal with it. ( Scottie B, the founder of Angry DJ T-Shirts, claims he’s the UK’s #1 DJ and he made a T-Shirt about it so you have to assume maybe he’s getting requests too and he’s #1! ).

I want to take a moment as well to make a statement about the digital vs. analog debate because this is in my opinion what is tearing us apart ( and also because Angry DJ T-Shirts exploits this debate for the T-Shirt slogan “Serato Don’t Make You a DJ” ).

I’m going to say once and for all – I DON’T CARE AND NEITHER SHOULD YOU.

I’ve thought a lot about this and I’ve honed my opinion based on what the creative experts and literature state.  It’s about being comfortable, it’s about being engaged, it’s about being free to achieve your highest level.   So who cares what you do it with?  Things evolve, they regress, they go forward, they go backward but one thing is for sure, we will always be dealing with innovation and technology – our whole legacy is based on it.  It doesn’t matter if a painter uses a paintbrush or their feet to make art – it’s about the ART.  Now I know a lot of you are angry about the ease of which people can get into DJing and also execute their “skills” but I am fanatic when I tell you that it doesn’t matter – greatness comes because of process, creativity, hard work, and empathy – see my post on what it takes to be an amazing DJ and you will see that not once did I talk about gear.  Gear is just tools – music and your mind is your weapon but most importantly so is your heart and your connection to music ( see Why Do You DJ? ).  And if you think those DJs are “lazy” think about it this way – do you think they are engaged with what they are doing?  When you see a DJ use the sync button just between tracks ( and this is one of the hugest gripes I’ve seen ) do you think they are actually happy about the fact that they have not advanced enough to actually experiment with their music?  Understand that everyone knows they have creative constraints.  Everyone knows what they are NOT doing – so there is no need to get all in a huff about what they are doing.  Instead focus on yourself and bettering the situation and opportunities for those you feel do matter and are creative.   If you must know, I spin vinyl.  I had some upstart tell me “that’s old”.  I took it in stride, just because I’m “old-school” doesn’t mean my point of view and musicality is “less then”. You see I’ve spun it all, CDs, DVS, and I always go back to vinyl.  Why?  Because it’s comfortable for me, I can engage with my audience more comfortably spinning vinyl, but most importantly – because I know even after spinning for 10 years I haven’t even hit the tip of the iceberg of what I’m capable of and that’s exciting to me.  Since I started the Behind The Decks project I realized that it makes no sense for me to get all worked up over someone who uses DVS just because I use vinyl.  If that’s what works for them – so be it, and if they are destined for greatness, why aren’t you?

Let your anger go!

Recap: Stop your whining and focus on your work! Deal with the requests, think about what you can do to change perceptions.  Gear does not make the DJ, the DJ makes the DJ.