Monday, December 07, 2009
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
We found the above article online and immediately became heart broken. Suddenly, everything we thought about in terms of the state of DJ culture (and maybe the world) is happening.
There is something to say about the current wave of digital music technology, and we're not sure what. Sure, one can argue that it's going to potentially open up alot of doors and make people more interested in DJ culture, but just to complicate things, we might want to ask "For what?" DJs were never under the radar, everyone can understand the importance of one, so why do we need to have more running around especially if they are using newer technology that potentially lends to a destruction (or not?) to the culture of DJing (via turntablism, disco, house, etc) by eliminating the iconic tools they use to preserve them? On top of that, alot of these new DJs have forgotten something important about any kind of art form/preserved culture/subculture: You have to know the rules before you break them.
We were at a friend's party the other day and the kid who was DJing was using some new digital mixing system that eliminated the use of turntables, records, etc. He was playing some newer electro house/mashup/remix tracks and then he played a newer Daft Punk song. We then asked him which album it was off and he didn't know, then we asked him if he thought of Homework (Daft Punk's first lp) and if the song reminded him of something from Homework and he responded with, "Homework? I've never heard of them." then snobbily returned back to playing music, which by the way he didn't know how to actually mix/blend together. We said, "oh, thanks." then walked away. We were saddened and upset at the idea that he was playing music which he knew nothing about. Not to say you aren't allowed to do that, but one of things we remembered about DJs was that they really knew their shit.
That was one of the greatest things about discussing music with DJs, they could tell you everything from where the song came from, the vinyl pressing, b-sides, the samples, original versions, covers, etc. all based off one record that probably took him countless hours of driving, digging and requesting local record stores just to obtain. And if you were a Hip-hop DJ/turntablist, you would need doubles (2 copies), which was just as hard to do, while this kid who presumably was about 19 or 20 years old scrolled up and down on his laptop picking songs he downloaded in 10 seconds.
In defense of this kid, sure, maybe he was just playing music because he wanted to, which would have been fine. But he had the attitude of someone who was DJing in the hippest NY/Detroit/LA club for years, and on top of that had business cards spread across his setup, as well as walking around after his set telling everyone at the party to hire him ("schmoozing" for lack of a better term), and telling the DJ after him "is it ok if i leave these cards/flyers here?" by the next DJs set up! Innocent kid wanting to just play music, my ass!
There is a purist element to this i'm sure, but i guess the difference would have to be made and understood only through a certain kind of understanding. Someone who understands DJing the way alot of "true" DJs do. Even if it means the DJ at the punk club who just plays records to play great records, versus the Hip-hop DJ who mixes, cuts, rocks the beat, etc. Those two kind of DJs share a similar element: They both know their shit. The 30 something year old punk/dive-bar DJ is the guy who will talk to you about some shit you've never heard of before that will blow your mind if you are interested, and same with the Hip-hop DJ/turntablist. Which probably explains why we get along with both of them really well. But the kid at that party who didn't know what 'Homework' was? He just wants to be famous. Perhaps in the same fame as Lindsay, Paris, and some rich kid from some rich famous family wants to be 'famous.' And you would think after TMZ, no one would want to be famous anymore. Guess not?
Sure, one can say "we're in the 21st century now and we need to let go of the past" but what the hell is that supposed to mean when we're moving so fast in technology that the percentage of overweight kids is at its all time high, the population of humans seem to be decreasing at an alarming rate, everyone is stupid, the celebrity/movie star of a classy and smart past has been reduced to Paris/Lindsay/Kardashians, and no one is making love and communicating anymore? A handwritten love letter or birthday card has been reduced to a text message and twitter update and 12 inch vinyl records with beautifully printed and designed sleeves are now digital files that you can't even physically touch. Are we living in the 'I,Robot' age now? Maybe.
This might be just a rant, or something else. The main problem with this and perhaps the problem with the kid DJ example above is the same. Technology and that kid both wanted to be bigger and newer than what was already there, when the "already there" is maybe already big enough. They wanted to be the 'Elephant in the room' so to say. Meaning that everyone can see it, because its so big (not just scale, but what it's doing) versus the termite (the 'true' DJs) who gnaw away all by themselves at something they really love (in this case replace 'wood' for 'music'), in turn eventually bringing the whole house down.
With the production cease of the Technics 1200 now happening, alot of DJs who still use vinyl (even serato vinyl) will have a harder time keeping their turntables maintained, which will mean that it will be harder to get parts for their 1200s when need be repaired and more expensive. Sure, they might be behind on 'what's new' and not the newest mixing program, but they will still have their vinyl in the event that their computer crashes and they lose all the songs on their laptop. The Kid DJ on the other hand will maybe prosper because of his motivation for 'fame' but will be like everyone else who buys their vinyl & dj system from Urban Outfitters, with no sense of a 'termite-ism' (meaning 'being really into something so much that they invest so much time in it that it makes them a master and earns the respect of their peers/fellow termites). It's the classic "why is he so famous for being really horrible?" argument, and perhaps that will always be the case.
And if that is the case, then maybe in due time, people will start to notice how big the elephant in the room is and probably want it out. But this might be for two reasons: Either the elephant in the room has taken a huge shit and no one wants it there anymore, OR the termites have eaten all the wood in the structure so the house is about to collapse, causing everyone to panic evacuate the house including the elephant, and when it's all done everyone will be standing outside asking themselves how something so small was able to do something so big.
WTF IS GOING ON
ok somebody please buy me some 1200s this xmas :)