DJLogic – I’m a person, then DJ

First of all Thks Sara “Sharas” for the translation…original Spanish article here.

“This is why I’m a DJ, because above all, I’m a person of my time and, with music as a tool, I want to tell stories of my time… play music to people that only listens to the top forty, not.”… With this sentence I finished one of my last articles and now I’m going to tell you the reason for that sentence…

Recently I’ve read in some blogs dedicated to the same topic as this one (the DJ world), that the DJ is because of the public and that he/she must play the music that the public wants. More recently in another forum dedicated to electronic music (BuenosAliens), a DJ asked where did they download music and which tunes would be the next hits… I don’t agree with this way of understanding the DJ task, why?…

To the DJ that was asking “where to download good tunes”, someone in the forum (Gonzalo) answered… “and never think about what is going to be played. Play what you like the most. That’s the way you have to escape from the obvious and the most well-known. The rest is only good taste, something very difficult to achieve and that is not downloadable from anywhere”… a simply great answer which is very close to my philosophy and understanding of what is being a DJ…

In  Sven Väth words:

Finding music that qualitatively stands out from the masses – this is my mission.
Visionary music that never lets you go.
Music that makes you curious for more.
Music that has the power to create something new and to unite people.
Music by and for DJs, ideally in a forceful dance floor sound, however not conservative but free in arrangement and open for new ideas, especially open for the combination of old and new.
It should be loud and powerful but also subtle, subliminal, soulful and silent, right up to experimental bizarre and totally weird. It must be authentic, not something that’s copied and imitated. Revolutionary music that creates something new.
This is my impetus and that is how music should be, this is what I’m looking for and that is what I want to reach. Searching and creating for 30 years… non stop!
 


In my opinion:

I think that the main DJ task is, precisely, acquire music culture, discover new talent and offer all this (own talent and talent from the artists he plays) to whoever wants to listen to it. It’s presumed that the public, in its daily life, dedicates its time to other things: there are businessmen, workers, designers, technicians and a large list of activities to do for a living. Obviously people like going out and meeting others in their spare time but, as well as I don’t get into the way they manage their companies, work, design or do their daily tasks, I must suppose that they will respect my work and they won’t get into the way I carry it out . Of course I must know my public, but that’s another matter.

Gradually the DJ job has been getting a gap in the show business. It doesn’t substitute the artist who produces music, but instead it reinforces the artist’s work as it shows the artist in another context: that is, a set together with other artists that produce similar music, creating an atmosphere for the people to enjoy that music and dance to, listen to and vibrate with it… obviously, in this scenario there will be DJs that will let themselves go for what the market dictates, but I think that’s the easy way, cause you simply only learn the necessary technique to mix, you choose the “Top” tunes and succeed?..

On the other hand, there’s the DJ that I will respect, that one who listens to music every day, creates his own style and is able to create complex structures with all those tunes till he achieves a set ready to surprise, to move and to make reflect others… I have a few anecdotes, small anecdotes that have made me respect this occupation beyond the “Star System”. Some examples are:

Seeing the sparkle in the eyes of that young girl who, in that time, was beginning to be a DJ: Psynonima (vídeo). She doesn’t remember it, being at Totix (another great DJ and promoter), I remember her turning up with Totix, and he was showing her the Virtual DJ on the computer while I was chatting with other mates and, without her noticing, I watched her, as I said. It’s great to see that sparkle in her eyes, that motivation to learn… now she’s a bit older but every time I listen her mixing, I feel that that motivation and excitement are still there….Another example would be Sara “Sharas”, a DJ that has collaborated (and I hope she will still collaborate) with this blog, helping me with the translations and with some sets… I remember being at hers, precisely at Manu Biomechanical studio, I was a guest and they asked me a couple of times if I wanted to mix. I said it wasn’t necessary and was thinking for myself: “are you crazy, are you not listening to the great set Sara is playing?”. There she was, concentrated, beyond the external world. You can feel these things, which make you respect the profession…I can keep going with Aroa-DarkPsy, a DJ with whom I have reached spirituality moments that have made me feel in touch with life itself…Kadinho, great DJ, who you can easily put behind the decks, but is nearly impossible to take him out of them (I’ve seen him mixing for more than 12 hours non-stop…!!!), Patricia Luna, DJ that sometimes when I’m mixing I think for myself: this is how Patricia would do it…Well, I will stop here, because this is not the aim of this article and surely I leave a big lot of them apart (I’m not giving all the ones I haven’t mentioned permission to poke me, because there are a lot), simply I’ve showed you some of the DJs that have their own personality and that have made me respect this world and that, when someone asks me, I answer “I’m a DJ” proudly.

All the ones that are, aren’t here, but they will appear in my next articles and even I’m thinking of creating a new section with DJs photos, the ones I know personally and the ones you, the readers, send me, but this is something that I have to find time for. On the other hand, most of you won’t know any of the DJs I’m talking about in this article. That’s all right, cause it means that most of the times it’s not necessary to find references between the big stars, we only have to look around us to find DJs that make a great job day by day… it’s good to look at the stars shinning in the sky, but if you have your feet on the ground.

Summarizing:

In my modest opinion (I’m not modest, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?) I think that the first step to become a good DJ, before even learning how to mix, is to acquire a good and solid music culture, at least the style it’s going to be mixed… the next is, obviously, acquire a good technique, which will let you give way to those concerns and mix tunes without making suffer your listeners. We can admit some mistakes, but there’s a limit. When the dancefloor empties you must think that you’re making something wrong… or you’re misunderstood, which, I must admit, it has happened to a lot of big artists in different disciplines.

Method:

Every teacher has got his little book… that’s what they used to tell me when I was an apprentice in a workshop and they were right…. those little tricks and characteristics are what they’re gonna make you different from the rest… it’s important to have a working method and own style and, no doubt in the practice there’s the key to improve the technique. I imagine every DJ has got his working method, I’m gonna show you mine:

Listening to a lot of music, anywhere you are: in your car, at home, at work (if they let you); that’s an important thing. I write down the tunes that attract my attention and I create playlists on my mixing software (in my case Serato ITCH). When I think I have enough tunes (60-80), I start with the selection: I start mixing them to see how they sound like with one another, cause a tune can be great but you can feel it doesn’t fit in the set… of this 60-80 tunes I end up with only 15-20 (that will be the ones I’ll mix in the definitive set (depending on how you mix them with this number of tunes you can have a 1,5 or 2,5 hour set). I mix all the tracks one time after another until the set is how I like it to sound. In this process, I can spend weeks as, I must admit, I tend to be extremely perfectionist… It’s desirable to record one’s sets, so you can listen to it again and again and learn from your mistakes. Once I finish the set, I listen to it and then, at least after one day, when you’ve rested your ears and with your mind fresh, if you still like the set, you should listen to it in different environments and with different sounds (in your car, at a friend’s)… and if you still like it, your set will probably be all right, so you can upload it on the internet without fear of regret… obviously, the final result will depend of each one’s taste, technique and sensitivity. You can give 20 tunes to 20 different Djs and each one will mix them their way, giving a completely different result… that’s the great thing about this profession

P.S: if you love music, it’s loyal to buy those tunes you’re gonna play and supporting the artist this way. I’m not saying you have to buy all the music you download, cause that would be expensive and nearly impossible, but at least those 15 tunes that will conform the set.

Have you got a different opinion about what is being a dj? The comments are open…