I’m at a bar some place in Melbourne, at some late time, setting up my DJing equipment to play to a massive crowd of twenty. A chick wobbles over in high heels and nearly spills her rum over a couple thousand bucks worth of equipment. She laughs at herself and then regards me with scorn. DJ schmuck.
“Hey, I don’t like this, have you got any music that we know? Like stuff on television?”
These are the times that I wonder why the hell I’m DJing for drunks at a bar. Why don’t I create my own music instead of play other people’s music for people who don’t appreciate it? The common conception is that we’re jukeboxes without talent.
This could be true for a lot of us. It doesn’t take much skill to understand basic music timing and to press Play (or let the record go) at the appropriate length to mesh in with the other track.
I could get technical here and bring up that we have to choose the right tracks for the right place, and have to read the crowd to see if they’re getting into it. I’m not going to get on my high horse with that.
All that is a bit of a wank, and there’s not much talent involved unless you scratch, although it’s good if you can tell another story when you mix.
I’ll instead get on my high horse about what actually brought us to this evolutionary point of playing music to drunks who don’t “get it”.
Have you ever considered our cultural blueprint on this planet? There’s quite a few people who theorise on this, on objectively how one thing leads to another in the whole scheme of the human race. New age people lap this sort of thing up, there’s a great market to rant about it.
Carl Jung was one of the first westerners to conceive the idea of the collective unconsciousness, that artists (and insane people, who are quite often one and the same) in fact tap into the collective pool that exists on some astral level and bring forth their inventions.
He wouldn’t have been the first to talk about all this; there have been the Buddhists, who prescribe to the belief that all people are in fact manifestations of Buddha. There have been many indigenous cultures who have also believed that their ancestors spirits still roam this planet, and are still living and breathing in some way.
A more logical analysis of this would be that we are, in fact, part of the same viral entity that is living and breathing all over the surface of the central organism, aka Earth. We created all this sort of rubbish all over the planet, the roads, the houses, the oil on the baby seals, the electronics and wires, the speaker boxes and keyboards, etc.
You can see where I’m going with this, can’t you?
Have you also considered our cultural and musical development that led us from banging two sticks together to have a blast, to sonic perfection or alternatively top 40? When we consider these things, it’s not a great leap of logic to conclude that we are in fact a product of millions of souls before us, who have had millions of stories and experiences expressed before us. We have all the classical and jazz musicians experiences to call up from our knowledge to use within context.
Now producers, God bless them for their talent and for giving us the tracks to play, have only one voice going through them, their own. It’s true that their musical voice is also a cultural construction and a product of millions of others, but for the sake of not overly complicating things, we’ll say that they have one voice here.
We as DJs, on the other hand, are a reflection of our cultures, and are capable of telling our people’s (and annoyed producers reading this) stories and culture, from reggae roots to drum and bass to hip-hop. If you think about the product of this, we have millions of stories about awesome parties, love tales, and not being able to afford a loaf of bread because you create music instead.
The tunes we play are possibly being played on the other side of the world on some incredibly beautiful and sun-drenched place that is nothing like the bar I’m in right now. We assemble a choir of voices and experiences created before us and channel them into one voice in unison, one of a rich variety of background, all one, all together, through us, the mighty high priests of Serato.
We’re not some schlebs who play tracks, we’re God’s mouthpiece, maaaaaan!!!
If I was to get on my high horse right now, I would say that DJs are, in fact, conduits of a higher spirit and pool of consciousness. Yeah.
“Yeah sure, I got a Britney rmx, will that do?” I smile back.
This conduit of collective unconsciousness now consents and allows millions of crap pop singers and lovers to run rampant through his rather tired shell. I forgot to mention how the spirit of white settlers still raids the lands of good indigenous music like dubstep and pollutes it into a cleaner but essentially soulless place.
Praise be to the one, the most high in their infinite wisdom.