I love music.
I love scratching and turntablism.
Creation is a very organic process, and if people can see your ideas spill out right in front of them in some way, then it’s a truly special moment I think.
For me, if there’s a genuine connection between my soul and another’s expression, especially via the music they’ve created, then that’s what will get me buying and repeatedly playing it both at home and at gigs. Music is constantly evolving and is something that astounds me, and yet, as a DJ I still have to pander to what other people want to play. It’s not as bad as when I first started out thankfully, but the frustration is still there. Does it mean that the genres, individual songs or albums I genuinely love just don’t cut it for the public anymore?
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I just find it interesting how more and more, especially in club environments, the audience are very quick to snap if you don’t play the most popular song at the moment, or assume I’m not the DJ because of my gender…
Sometimes it’s frustrating, sometimes it’s upsetting, and sometimes it really doesn’t bother me. Every gig is different in itself, which keeps me wanting to do more, and less all at once. I have a radio show on DemonFM which enables me to just play music and mix within a two hour slot: I play what I want without feeling like I’m being laughed at. I play what I feel and that in itself is an expression of who I am.
Jazzy Jeff once said that a DJ’s job is to take the audience on a journey. This is something I wholeheartedly agree with and I certainly endeavour to do so every chance I get, but it’s not without some difficulty.
Part of this I think is the fault of streaming sites and the increasing over-convenience of technology because anyone can become a “DJ” by making playlists online or relying on software to “mix” songs while you get on with your day.
So is the art of actually being someone who creates live audible art truly lost? We have the DMCs and other competitions worldwide that appreciate this art but ultimately, it isn’t as well received as X Factor. Yes, I could try and incorporate turntablism into mainstream music whenever I do a club DJ set, and I do, but it seriously feels like I’m not showing the audience who I am, or that I’m not allowed to unless I’m a fellow Belieber.
And I’m not.
I can appreciate an artist’s success but if I don’t personally like them or their music, then why should I have it in my collection? Their music doesn’t speak to me so why have it? Everyone’s library is different and unique, a reflection of who they are. Why be the same as everyone else?
Being a DJ is hard work but it should be rewarding and inspiring, not leave you feeling underappreciated for trying to develop your craft in your own way. I try to be as honest as possible about who I am through my music: my own productions, the tracks I have and select.
A DJ can take people on a journey and tell stories in the same way artists and bands can and do, so let us express ourselves. Let us be free.