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No Breasts, No Requests
August 15, 2011 10:14 AM   Subscribe

If you are dancing in a way that could create a baby/fetus/alien -- STOP! It is not behooving of you and awkward.

No Breasts No Requests is a tumblr collection of signs found in and around the DJ booth.
posted by PeterMcDermott (129 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
If you are dancing in a way that could create an alien, please do it constantly because I would like to see one.
posted by michaelh at 10:16 AM on August 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


I, for one, welcome our new baby/fetus/alien overlords.
posted by XMLicious at 10:20 AM on August 15, 2011


Actually, aren't DJs human jukeboxes?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:21 AM on August 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


Lucky for me, I'm a fat guy.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 10:22 AM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


The cow thought it was behooving.
posted by benzenedream at 10:24 AM on August 15, 2011


Oh man I'm really torn. On the one hand, yeah if you're a dj at a crappy bar just play the motherfucking hits motherfucker, no need to show off how cool you are.

On the other hand, people are just the worst. Especially the kind of people who compose the audience of a crappy bar dj AND would make requests.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:26 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


other people's musical tastes make me sad
posted by LogicalDash at 10:27 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm torn too. On the one hand, your job is to entertain the people and that means playing what they want.

OTOH, I would probably last an hour before the stack of dead bodies in front of the booth prevented anyone from making further requests.
posted by DU at 10:31 AM on August 15, 2011


IF YOU ARE DANCING IN A WAYTHAT COULD CREATE A BABY/FETUS/ALIEN.....STOP. IT IS NOT BEHOOVING OF YOU AND AWKWARD.

The one thing I can't figure out is how they know my girlfriend's name.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:32 AM on August 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


I don't listen to music anymore, too mainstream. The place I go , the DJ mixes cuts off NPR, a little "Fresh Air" a little "All things considered". Shit is bangin. Every time my jam comes on I am like WHOOP SWAG!
posted by Ad hominem at 10:36 AM on August 15, 2011 [33 favorites]


On the one hand, your job is to entertain the people and that means playing what they want.

No, this is not correct. Your job is to play what will make them dance. People that make requests generally want songs that they know the words to so they can sing along and those people suck.

The only time I've ever played requests is when I was going to play the song anyway. The only time I've ever made requests of DJs is when I know it's in their bag and I know it goes along with the vibe of the night, etc...
posted by empath at 10:40 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Having DJ'd a friend's wedding, at which I would happily play anything requested, even whatever someone downloaded off their phone, and STILL gotten bitched out by some random eastern eurpean aunt-in-law for playing the WRONG gaga song and not immediately following it up with more gaga which I didn't have I can say: there's just no pleasing some douchebags.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:42 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The rules at Sound Factory are classic.

There used to be a little place in the east village that had no cabaret license (required in NYC for dancing) and some big signs with two instructions: "no dancing" and "no pot smoking." Both were being flagrantly disregarded.
posted by exogenous at 10:42 AM on August 15, 2011


Actually, aren't DJs human jukeboxes?

Sign says no.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:43 AM on August 15, 2011


Actually, aren't DJs human jukeboxes?

ARGH. No they aren't. THEY ARENT. Why? Because you (generic you) have no fucking idea what song will make everyone dance all at once. Think you do? You don't. And maybe you have 1. Maybe you do have a great song in mind. Is it Billie Jean? Correct, Billie Jean will make everyone dance. But then what? Also I played Beat It 5 minutes ago while you were in the bathroom.

Gah I hate fucking DJing. No matter how hard you work someone will always say some variation of this to you.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:47 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, this is not correct. Your job is to play what will make them dance. People that make requests generally want songs that they know the words to...

Having gone through every single page of this tumblr, I found only a couple requests that weren't danceable (Johnny Cash, for instance). The rest seem to have been rejected merely for being pop.
posted by DU at 10:49 AM on August 15, 2011


Gah I hate fucking DJing. No matter how hard you work someone will always say some variation of this to you.

I am not following your argument. Are you saying that deejays know more than two songs that will make everybody dance? Because you then link to a note that says they don't.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:51 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Contempt is deserved on both sides of the booth.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:51 AM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Danceable =/= people will dance. Just trust me, 90% of requests will fall flat if the DJ immediately honors them. I've played requests before and watched the dance floor clear until even the requester is standing in the corner pretending to hate the Black Eyed Peas too.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:52 AM on August 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


Hava Nagila never fails.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:54 AM on August 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Not true at my Nazi Rock Dance Party.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:55 AM on August 15, 2011


> Hava Nagila never fails.

Trip out.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:56 AM on August 15, 2011


Actually, aren't DJs human jukeboxes?

I'm sorry, could you repeat that? I can't hear you over your collection of Now That's What I Call Music! CDs
posted by griphus at 10:56 AM on August 15, 2011 [12 favorites]


Could you play Pussy Be Yankin', please?
posted by swift at 10:59 AM on August 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


I played The Party Animals Hava Naquilla at a friends' wedding, and was immediately bombarded with requests for more techno-version-jewish-wedding songs. I had no more to offer =(
posted by nomisxid at 11:00 AM on August 15, 2011


Having gone through every single page of this tumblr, I found only a couple requests that weren't danceable (Johnny Cash, for instance). The rest seem to have been rejected merely for being pop.

No, they're being rejected for being shit for the dance floor or for the moment or the club or it doesn't mix with what you're playing. I'll play all kinds of ridiculous pop music during my sets, including Lady Gaga or Katy Perry or Beyonce, but it has to be at the right time, not just because some random drunk sorority girl gets an urge to listen to some bullshit radio music that she's already heard 10,000 times before...

At one of the BYT parties, I was playing hard trance at 140 beats per minute, and someone asked me to play some Reggae. I've had people demand that I play French music while I was playing Daft Punk.

People who make requests are fucking morons.

Here are the conditions in which you are allowed to make requests:

1) You must be a regular of the club. You need to know what kind of vibe the club usually has and tries to get.

2) You must actually appreciate what the DJ is trying to do. If you don't like the DJ, your options are to shut the fuck or leave.

3) You must know what kind of music the DJ plays and what he has in his bag. Asking a DJ to play a song he doesn't even have is a waste of time. Asking him to play a song he never plays is also a waste of time.

4) You must dance. You must be dancing before you even make the request.

When you make a request, the best thing to do is actually to ask one of the people in the booth to ask the DJ. The second option is to write it down and hand it to him.
posted by empath at 11:01 AM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Love this pic of Nujabes. Rest in beats indeed.
posted by heatvision at 11:02 AM on August 15, 2011


DJs aren't doctors.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:02 AM on August 15, 2011


(Which isn't to say there isn't a place for a DJ who plays a bunch of random songs that people like and don't beat match them and no one cares if anyone dances, and the dj takes requests all night from drunks at the bar.. I've DJ'd nights like that and it is fun, but most DJ nights are not like that..)
posted by empath at 11:04 AM on August 15, 2011


No, they're being rejected for being shit for the dance floor or for the moment or the club or it doesn't mix with what you're playing. I'll play all kinds of ridiculous pop music during my sets, including Lady Gaga or Katy Perry or Beyonce, but it has to be at the right time...

Sounds reasonable. And a completely different policy than the images in the FPP. You should click it.

I played The Party Animals Hava Naquilla...

I assume someone has already made the "Have A Tequila" joke.
posted by DU at 11:05 AM on August 15, 2011


Dubstep Lyrics
posted by The Whelk at 11:05 AM on August 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


I've had people demand that I play French music while I was playing Daft Punk.

What's unreasonable about that? Daft Punk are French.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:06 AM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


When you're looking for that boost, remember: C&C Music Factory is always a good bet!
posted by Chuffy at 11:06 AM on August 15, 2011


And a completely different policy than the images in the FPP. You should click it.

You clicked an FPP? Is it opposite day?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:07 AM on August 15, 2011


No. They're human radio stations.

"Don't classify me with these rudie-poots around here..."
posted by stenseng at 11:08 AM on August 15, 2011


Because I was already playing French Music?

The conversation went like this:

"Can you play anything European?"

"This is Daft Punk."

"No I mean something French"

"Okay, how about Justice?"

"No, no no.. From France, in Europe...."

and on and on..
posted by empath at 11:08 AM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


IN EUROPE DUDE JEEZ READ A MAP
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:10 AM on August 15, 2011


Did you know that red lights make you a shit DJ?

I don't know anything about DJing. What's the red light thing?
posted by gnidan at 11:11 AM on August 15, 2011


It's the levels. Red means "too loud" -- the sound will be distorted and farty.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:12 AM on August 15, 2011


empath: People who make requests are fucking morons.

Here are the conditions in which you are allowed to make requests:

1) You must be a regular of the club. You need to know what kind of vibe the club usually has and tries to get.
2) You must actually appreciate what the DJ is trying to do. If you don't like the DJ, your options are to shut the fuck or leave.
3) You must know what kind of music the DJ plays and what he has in his bag. Asking a DJ to play a song he doesn't even have is a waste of time. Asking him to play a song he never plays is also a waste of time.
4) You must dance. You must be dancing before you even make the request.


Sieg Heil!
posted by gman at 11:12 AM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


The master volume has red lights for when you get up neither the max --- after that, one of two things happen -- either the volume starts clipping, so you get distorted bass kicks, or if the sound at the club is any good, the compressor kicks in, which wrecks the dynamics of the tracks.

There was one club I used to DJ at where the sound guy was a real dick about the red lights, so I started calling them "awesome lights" and jacking the volume up anytime he walked into the booth. "Dude, those lights are how I know i'm doing good!"
posted by empath at 11:13 AM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


neither/near
posted by empath at 11:13 AM on August 15, 2011


No Breasts, No Requests

I have rudimentary mammary glands. May I request that you not play Akon for the remainder of the evening, or ever again?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:28 AM on August 15, 2011


When a DJ sucks, and has no idea what they're doing, and you clearly know much more about music than they do...

Pffftt...

I make requests all the time, especially if the above is true, and I need to school them a bit, and most DJ's suck, they do, they do, have I mentioned that?

Anyhow, I'll also make requests when I get a good sense for what the DJ is trying to do and I'm clicking with their schtick and I want to compliment and bounce off a request that if they're worth their salt they know where the fuck I'm coming from.

But most DJ's suck. Your favorite DJ probably sucks too.

DJ's are most of the time ego-maniacal control freak rich boys who like to spend money on "pumpin'" powerful lush cool audio components so they can play Lionel Richie or Top 40 Hip Hop off'n of...

If you're a DJ and you deserve respect, you will get it if you're deep into your science, if you're a dick in the 90th percentile, than shut up and stop bitchin' about people making requests and do the job.
posted by Skygazer at 11:30 AM on August 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


The place I go , the DJ mixes cuts off NPR, a little "Fresh Air" a little "All things considered". Shit is bangin.

Hey, we must be hanging out in the same kitchen.
posted by jb at 11:31 AM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


When a DJ sucks, and has no idea what they're doing, and you clearly know much more about music than they do...

I've gone to a lot of shitty club nights where the DJ was bombing. I've had bad nights and bombed. I've seen really terrible DJs who should not be DJing.

I can't think of a single situation where it would have been improved by taking requests random people at the club, unless it's from another DJ who knows the club well and can help rescue them by giving them guaranteed floor fillers to play.

If you're at the point where the only way to save the night is to play some random shit a random person at the bar wants you to play, then you might as well pack your shit up and go home.

DJ's are most of the time ego-maniacal control freak rich boys who like to spend money on "pumpin'" powerful lush cool audio components so they can play Lionel Richie or Top 40 Hip Hop off'n of...

If you're a DJ and you deserve respect, you will get it if you're deep into your science, if you're a dick in the 90th percentile, than shut up and stop bitchin' about people making requests and do the job.


I've seen people make requests to superstar DJs on a world tour making $10,000 per gig, while 4000 people were losing their shit on the dance floor (and not politely!). I've had people come up to my while I was DJing and had a full dance floor telling me that nobody is dancing and I suck because I wouldn't play Britney Spears. People make requests no matter how good the DJ is or how rocking the club is. And 90% of the time, they are wrong. If you want to DJ, then do the work to get gigs. And you'll find out that it's a lot harder than you think it is.
posted by empath at 11:45 AM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I had no idea this was such a contentious issue.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:47 AM on August 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'll also make requests when I get a good sense for what the DJ is trying to do and I'm clicking with their schtick and I want to compliment and bounce off a request that if they're worth their salt they know where the fuck I'm coming from.

Know-it-all trainspotter show-off requests are just as annoying as drunk hen night chart hit begging, if not more so.

That said I once had a bloke make repeated requests that included the artist, title, label and catalogue number of the songs he wanted written very neatly on pages torn from a notebook, which was just so insanely trainspottery I had to play a couple of his favourites.

I've had people demand that I play French music while I was playing Daft Punk.

Quite a few times I've had folk request a song while that song is actually playing. Drugs do funny things to people's ears.
posted by jack_mo at 11:49 AM on August 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I frequented goth/industrial clubs for years and years and thought "Man, a lot of these DJ's SUCK" then I got a gig as a DJ, and I learned that... well no, most of those DJ's still DO suck, but boy the CROWD sucks too.

empath's list may sound harsh to those who have never had to actually SPIN a set, but seriously, drunkenly waving at someone trying to do their job, (yes, JOB, with someone PAYING you, someone you have to answer to at the end of the night; this comes into play later) slapping the booth and demanding to hear Led Zepplin's "Kashmir" is wasting everyone's time.

I'll happily play requests if a. I have them and b. they actually fit the set (it saves me the trouble of having to think of what to play next, and if it tanks, I can put the "not my fault" (R) next to it on the list, heh), but all those songs that you're SURE the club would go nuts for if only one of the 'elitist' DJ's would play it? Ok, provided that I actually DO have it and spin it, you'd better dance your FUCKING ASS off, because if, by chance, you are wrong about that XotoX b-side, or your boyfriend's combichrist-soundalike project and I've just cleared a dance floor to play a song for you, and you DON'T dance? You think the person paying me gives a fuck that I 'totally made your night bro' ?

Don't get me wrong, I will make no claims to being a 'good' DJ, but I'm trying; I'm trying to seek out potential new favorites to liven up sets, and trying to keep a balance of stuff people want to hear, but it's a job, and everyone who works a job has shitty customers, and they vent, sometimes on the internet.

Oh, and everyone who is all "DJ's are overpaid and eltiist and shitty and any moron could do it", well... some DJ's are, and yeah, it really is "just playing records/cd's/mp3s/etc", but it's also the difference between being able to fuck and doing porno: That's cool you can rock an ipod, can you fuck someone for an hour in front of a 3 cameras and a room full of people? ... Let me try this one instead: being good at Guitar Hero isn't the same thing as being a touring musician, and arguably far easier, but it's still a skill, regardless.

I'll admit that when you have a floor full of people losing their shit for an hour (or however long), there's a certain element of "*i* did this!" and if you aren't careful and/or are pretty enough to attract sycophants (lol I never was!), it will go to your head. At the same time, when you put on a track and it BOMBS, and you're sitting in a DJ booth staring at an empty dance floor, it's the longest 3-5 minutes ever.

Even with ALL OF THAT ASIDE, yes, left unchecked, the position of Club DJ, with the alleged free flow of drinks, drugs, sex, and praise (again, not something I've experienced, I'm neither pretty nor a particularly good DJ) can breed a special kind of douchebag, and they suck no matter how many of your requests they play.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:50 AM on August 15, 2011 [16 favorites]


If you personally hired the DJ for your personal event feel free to make requests. (Although you shouldn't have hired them if you don't trust them to make better music decisions than you and thus probably should just leave them alone).

Otherwise leave them alone.
posted by Babblesort at 11:55 AM on August 15, 2011


At the same time, when you put on a track and it BOMBS, and you're sitting in a DJ booth staring at an empty dance floor, it's the longest 3-5 minutes ever.

Yes, this is exactly what I'm talking about. If you clear a dance floor, your set is over. You only have 2-3 hours to spin, and the first hour is just getting people to move. If you just stop all that to play No Woman No Cry because some random guy requested it nicely and clear the dance floor, you might as well just go home.

And you think, oh hey, it's no big deal, it only takes two minutes to ask-- no. it goes like this:

"Hey."

"I'm trying to mix..."

"Hey" *taps elbow..

"I'm mixing a record here.."

"Fine..."

*two minutes later*

"What do you wnat..."

*Mumbles something drunkenly*

"What did you just say?"

"Led Zeppelin!"

"I don't have led zeppelin..."

blah blah blah several minute negotiation commences, complaints about his friends hating the music, how its his birthday, offers to pay money, etc..

Meanwhile, I'm not interacting with the people on the dance floor, I'm not doing anything to with the eqs or fx to tweak the song, the record is running out, i don't know what I'm playing next, stress levels start escalating, you trainwreck the next mix because you're all stressed out, and you start losing the dance floor..

repeat this every 2-3 songs all night long, no matter how the night is going -- in fact it's even worse on busier nights at a lot of clubs..

It is so, so easy to lose a dance floor, and a really quick way to do it is to not pay attention to what you're doing, because somebody thinks they know how to do your job better than you do...
posted by empath at 12:00 PM on August 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm torn.
On the one hand I hate the sort of people that make requests to DJs.

But then on the other hand I have suffered through too many turgid club nights where house DJs decide to inflict their boring set of go-nowhere mnml (or even worse, plodding DOOZH DOOZH DOOZH x forever) records on a crowd, killing the floor save for the most tweaked out few and surveying the whole scene with a smug "I know better and am ahead of my time" attitude.

Fun fact dude: I've been running into DJs like that since the mid-90s. They are never ahead of the curve tastewise, they are just too far up their own asses and the asses of their other boring DJ friends.

The dancefloor/DJ relationship is a contract. You get to curate, but it's on the understanding that you move people.

Still, the peeps that wrote THESE notes are knobs.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:02 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


There's no way that a boring house DJ taking requests would improve their sets, IMO.
posted by empath at 12:10 PM on August 15, 2011


If you are dancing in a way that could create a baby/fetus/alien -- STOP! It is not behooving of you and awkward. -- Posted at a Christian teen “dance” club

As is far too often the case for my liking, the Christians have a point -- even if we come to this agreed conclusion for different reasons.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:13 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's no way that a boring house DJ taking requests would improve their sets, IMO.

True, but you cant just push them down a flight of stairs (frowned upon dontchaknow)

And it can happen to the best of em too.
One of the most depressing sets I ever saw was a Tenaglia set in LA in like 07. Just a couple years previous he had us dancing our asses off to one of the best house sets Ive heard in 20 years of clubbing up at 1015 in SF. He gets to LA in 2007 and all of a sudden its like he has tailored the set to appeal to coked up assholes that just want to bounce in place for 12 hours. It was extremely disappointing. An interminable series of DOOOOOZHes that went on forfuckingever.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:15 PM on August 15, 2011


When a DJ sucks, and has no idea what they're doing, and you clearly know much more about music than they do...

If you really care about music, why would you even be going to a club where the DJ sucks?

If he really sucks, get your ass out of there. There's no shortage of great DJ' -- even in a shitty one horse town there'll be one playing somewhere.

Go to that club instead.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:28 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Earlier in the year I had someone request The Prodigy while I was playing The Prodigy, that caught me by surprise a bit!

My thought on requests is this; people shouldn't need to chain themselves to familiarity in order to have a good time. A while back I went to see Bonobo doing a DJ set; I had absolutely no idea what the guy was playing, but I danced till my feet hurt and it was one of the best nights I've ever had. It was the same for everyone there, people just collectively thought 'fuck it, I'm not going to wait for a track I know to get played, I'm just going to dance'. People seem to judge a DJ's worth by whether or not the DJ is playing their favourite tracks or not, and that's such a limiting way to look at it; if you only listen to the stuff you already listen to, you'll never find anything else that you might like.
posted by Lucien Dark at 12:31 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


it's kind of a thing where if you play 1 song everyone knows they won't be able to groove to the next song that they don't. and then you're stuck at a wedding (which is great, sure, but not exactly a Yacht Rock/Funk DJ Night which is what's on the flyer.) So you have to sprinkle the hits verrrry lightly on the crowd. I found I am actually pretty bad at it somehow. I respect DJs a lot now.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:35 PM on August 15, 2011


* makes up a big list of requests for empath for mixparty *
posted by curious nu at 12:38 PM on August 15, 2011


There's no shortage of great DJ' -- even in a shitty one horse town there'll be one playing somewhere.

(Comment may only be valid in Europe.)
posted by heatvision at 12:38 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Strangely, as much as these requests showed the worst side of club goers, and occasionally not the best side of the DJ booth, reading through all of them made me want to go out more than most things like this do. Like right now.

What gets me the most -- both in real life and in scrolling through those signs -- is how many people go to places where, for example, it's advertised as "house night" and are pissed they are playing house. The signs about that made me laugh.

As PeterMcDermott said, if you don't like it, leave. 'Hang the DJ' is just something we sang along to in high school, not truly a suggestion.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:40 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sometimes, the dj's just having an off night. We've got a local goth/industrial dj whose been spinning around a decade; 7 out of 8 nights, he's got us hoppin' and sweatin' but every once in a while his set just doesn't gel, no one's in the mood for what he's got, and everyone's grumbly. They loved him last week but this week he's THE WORST DJ EVAH!

I only got into dj training up to the point where the first hour when everyone's arriving was my set; I liked old goth/industrial deep cuts and arranged my sets accordingly. That few months of experience was enough for me to say, "No, I'm done. I don't need this shit. I'd rather be on the dance floor." It's challenging enough to learn all the equipment without bitchy "lets play goth" newbies telling* you (not nicely requesting) to play the SOM: This Corrosion yet again. Especially when you haven't even had your first drink yet.

* This is how the "no requests" sign backfires.
posted by _paegan_ at 12:41 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think maybe there is this perception because Tiesto and Deadmau5 get all this adulation that that's the normal everyday experience for most DJs. The truth for most DJs is that for the most part is that they are not getting paid (or at least very much), and they are not getting laid (or at least very much). The experience of most DJs is playing to an empty or even an antagonistic dance floor and having at least one person tell you that you suck every single gig, and if you have a really good night, the benefit is that nobody complained very much. They're doing it because they love the music, not to feed their egos, because if you want your ego fed, doing it with a hobby where people tell you how to do your job all night is not the way to do it. It takes a lot of playing terrible gigs -- I'm talking literally 5 years, before money and girls enter into the equation, and that's if you're very, very lucky or very good.

Even bad DJs deserve respect, especially when they're just getting started. It takes courage to go up there and be judged by a room full of strangers, and it literally is the worst feeling in the world when it doesn't work. And you don't need some jerk to tell you that it's not working. You already know that.
posted by empath at 1:09 PM on August 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Why are people leaving stuff at the DJ booth instead of checking it? It would seem like the most insecure place you chose to leave stuff.

empath writes "The only time I've ever played requests is when I was going to play the song anyway. The only time I've ever made requests of DJs is when I know it's in their bag and I know it goes along with the vibe of the night, etc..."

I'd bet half the people making requests feel like they have that insight.
posted by Mitheral at 1:14 PM on August 15, 2011


PeterMcDermott: If you really care about music, why would you even be going to a club where the DJ sucks?

Alas, probably because it was a friends idea, and also because I do not like expensive clubs that charge exorbitant prices for drinks, or admission, or you have to play the stupid red rope game and wait to be picked. Also, as someone who played in a band, where people are playing their asses off on stage and going through the whole circus of getting a show, inviting people, lugging a ton or two of equipment, in and out of club, and then getting an attitude from a lazy smug arrogant DJ who plays other people's records, for the most part, and is really just some sort of aggrandized fanboy who thinks he's more important then the band, well, let's just say...I've got issues with dickheads like that.

But, yeah, mostly I end up at places because some of my friends have much different taste then me and I'm not like some sort of music snob who alienates their friends. Sometimes you gotta realize other things are what other people want and not everyone is as big a musical taste fascist as you are...
posted by Skygazer at 1:18 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I frequented goth/industrial clubs for years and years....
...most of those DJ's still DO suck, but boy the CROWD sucks too


It must also be tough looking out at a bunch of sad faces from the DJ booth--at least that's how it looked in my hometown on industrial/goth nights in the 90s. I suppose if they'r eon the floor it has to mean something though. What freaked me out more on my first time in an industrial/goth night though was less the DJing and more the double take I did when I entered the men's room and saw a row of people with long hair chatting and doing their makeup in front of the mirror. I thought I'd gone through the wrong door for a sec.
posted by Hoopo at 1:20 PM on August 15, 2011


It takes courage to go up there and be judged by a room full of strangers, and it literally is the worst feeling in the world when it doesn't work.

Sounds like DJs have a lot in common with standup comedians.
posted by binturong at 1:20 PM on August 15, 2011


DJ'ing sounds like posting a thread about your favourite band on MeFI.

..

..

I'd rather gargle Drain-O; it'd probably be less abrasive.
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:21 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


not my cup of tea but, whatever floats your boat.
posted by Hi Dan at 1:21 PM on August 15, 2011


It occurs to me, one of the first nightclubs I went to in Seattle, the DJ booth was a big clear plastic control-tower-esque thing over the dancefloor, with a little pad of papers and pencils, next to a clip on a string, that he could bring up.

He was playing house, and I requested Nitzer Ebb's Control I'm Here. In retrospect, that was a pretty lucky shot on my part that he had it, and played it.
posted by nomisxid at 1:24 PM on August 15, 2011


So I have a large pool of friends, cultivated over the years, who share many of my tastes (musical and otherwise) and with whom I have a great deal of fun at parties. Thanks to the internet, I also have access to the entire world's collection of people like me, who like what I like, et cetera. Finally, I have known many a quality DJ in my day, and been known to turn a few tables here and there.

From all of that, there is one -- ONE -- person, a woman who DJs occasionally but is currently works at a hotel near an oil drilling rig in Canada, who can do these two things consistently, either in real-time over an internet stream or by sending me a playlist randomly:

1. Select a couple of dozen songs in a row that I have never heard of; and
2. Have each of those songs, in the specific order she selects, always improve my mood and make me want to get more active.

To date, she has never sent me a clunker, and she has never sent me a song I've heard before. Not once. For over two years. That is a DJ, and while there may be a lot of human jukeboxes out there, there are also a lot of crap landscape painters.
posted by davejay at 1:38 PM on August 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


WTF with the Dilberty job angst? I'm a technical writer, *my* job sucks -- being a DJ is *great*. There is no realultimate power like controlling the vibe of a whole room as only a DJ can do.

When I was seventeen I was the relief DJ at a Hollywood mod-soul club back when we had actual vinyl records and manually cued the tracks and synched beats. It was in an enclosed booth above the dancefloor -- with a locking door, so people with requests were out of luck unless I felt nice -- and you'd scan the room to see what they were responding to, build them up into a frenzy, then drop your new jam (in this context, it would be a very *old* jam, a 60's soul gem you alone had uncovered) on them. Usually I only got an hour or so at time, but once the regular DJ got so high he didn't come back for three hours -- and that feeling of being in total command of the room for long enough to lead it through all my (everchanging) moods... I was higher than he was. And then we'd put on a long song and make out in the booth. Good times.

Twenty years later, I'd returned to school. Actually it was Aug 15, Indian Independence Day, and the Indian Students Association were having a do in the quad with food and music, etc. -- but what was playing was like Ryan Adams. I'm curious about this, so I drift over to the stage. All these young Engineering students in heated discussion -- "You didn't bring the music?" "I thought Dinesh had his laptop!" "Doesn't *anybody* have an iPod?" ... and I, the middle-aged white woman with an iPod full of filmi, got my big Airplane! moment. "Excuse me gentlemen, perhaps I can help?" And once again, inexpressibly loud, I got to rock the entire campus. DJing is awesome.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 1:42 PM on August 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


I would like to hear more about Hollywood Mod-soul clubs.  
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:46 PM on August 15, 2011


DJ'ing sounds like posting a thread about your favourite band on MeFI.

Yes, every five minutes, and they vote with their feet constantly.

When I was seventeen I was the relief DJ at a Hollywood mod-soul club back when we had actual vinyl records and manually cued the tracks and synched beats.

Yes, this was how I DJ'd too, when I started. The thing is, you have to be lucky to get a gig at a place like that, or you have to pay your dues. I was eventually playing at my favorite club for a room full of ravers on e, and it was pure heaven (and nobody would ever dream about making requests there), but it took 3-4 years of playing shitty gigs before I was allowed to play there.
posted by empath at 1:59 PM on August 15, 2011


As an Australian, I am bound by both Law and Custom to request that someone, somewhere, play sum farkin Khe Sanh mate
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 2:16 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fortunately for me, the bar I DJ is so small dancing isn't really an issue. For me to clear the floor, people would have to leave the bar.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:31 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"There was one club I used to DJ at where the sound guy was a real dick about the red lights, so I started calling them "awesome lights" and jacking the volume up anytime he walked into the booth. "Dude, those lights are how I know i'm doing good!""

I would have to fight the urge to physically take your mixer away if you pulled that on my system...

To me, someone making a request is a hint that they're in the wrong place. But I rarely play at clubs; when I do I have to put up with that bullshit. Usually it's at places that are often Normal Pop Clubs that we've rented for an electronic music event and the people there early don't know what's up. I just love when I'm playing a deep house opening set to which the people there for the night in question are grooving and someone asks me - repeatedly - to play lady gaga. Nothing against her, but there's a time and place for that, and an event which is mostly promoted for the music we're there to play isn't it.

My favorite was a few years ago when me and a handful of friends got hired to play a big mansion party. This was back in the vinyl days, and we must've had 400 records with it. Just filling the room. And all of us were house DJs, there might have been some breaks or progressive hiding in there, but it was 99% house.

After we'd been playing for a few hours, some girl went up to my friend and asked if we could play some house music. I guess because we weren't playing vocally clubby handbag house it didn't register. Amazingly, he had the composure to say "hold on a second...." take a look at the room FULL of records, and say "oh, yeah, that's all we have".
posted by flaterik at 2:37 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Back in my day (the mid-'90s) I used to spend a lot of time at a university pub where one of the DJs was renowned for absolutely slaughtering (I mean, people would be falling over each over in the rush) the dance floor every half hour or so because he had to show off his knowledge of obscure English pop. It'd go "awesome song, awesome song, awesome song, WEIRD INSPIRAL CARPETS B-SIDE NO-ONE HAD EVER HEARD, awesome song..." Maybe it was his way of making sure people had a chance to go to the bathroom.

On the other hand, DJ-ing that place must have entailed taking requests from a constant stream of idiots so drunk they couldn't pronounce what they were asking for. I know, because I was one of those drunk idiots.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:49 PM on August 15, 2011


But I rarely play at clubs; when I do I have to put up with that bullshit. Usually it's at places that are often Normal Pop Clubs that we've rented for an electronic music event and the people there early don't know what's up.

Yeah, this. Real EDM crowds never, ever make requests. It's always people who don't know what kind of club they're in that do it.
posted by empath at 2:52 PM on August 15, 2011


Oh god. I used to spend a lot of time at a university pub where one of the DJs was renowned for absolutely slaughtering (I mean, people would be falling over each over in the rush) the dance floor every half hour or so because he had to show off

I've done this. It's so awful. I imagine it must be how a guy feels when he loses his erection. You're ruling the room, this excellent flow of energy between you and the dancing masses, and then... the big no, you're looking at an empty dancefloor. Then, then you have to play the boring stuff everyone wants to hear because you're a hack, your mojo is lost and the people are no longer willing to follow you.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 3:08 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not that he did it, pH, it's that he did it again and again and again. And then again.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:32 PM on August 15, 2011


In my case it was always a tragic miscalculation -- but this guy enjoyed building people up and then ruining the mood out of sheer cussedness? Huh. I cannot see ever wanting to abuse one's power in that way.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 3:46 PM on August 15, 2011


one word: SALSA.
posted by Theta States at 3:52 PM on August 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I sort of knew the guy outside the bar (he dated a friend of mine for a little while), and he was a Class-A music snob, so yeah...the impression I got was that he was doing it to pump up his own ego.

I don't think there's anything wrong with sneaking in some personal, idiosyncratic faves here and there, but if it's not working, it's not working and it's time to give it a rest.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:57 PM on August 15, 2011


And it can happen to the best of em too.

Yeah, I still cringe over the time that AVH got roundly booed on the terrace at Space.
posted by elizardbits at 4:00 PM on August 15, 2011


At the same time, when you put on a track and it BOMBS, and you're sitting in a DJ booth staring at an empty dance floor, it's the longest 3-5 minutes ever.

Just mix out after the first chorus?
No problem. If a song bombs, you can mix out in 1.5-2 minutes, easily.
posted by Theta States at 4:28 PM on August 15, 2011


I've done this. It's so awful. I imagine it must be how a guy feels when he loses his erection. You're ruling the room, this excellent flow of energy between you and the dancing masses, and then... the big no, you're looking at an empty dancefloor. Then, then you have to play the boring stuff everyone wants to hear because you're a hack, your mojo is lost and the people are no longer willing to follow you.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 6:08 PM on August 15 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


You are correct: this is exactly how both of those things feel.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 4:28 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stagger Lee: "I had no idea this was such a contentious issue."

Yea, this has been a fascinating thread. But then 90% of the DJs that I've seen in my life have been at weddings playing The Chicken Dance and The Electric Slide.
posted by octothorpe at 5:33 PM on August 15, 2011


Yeah, I still cringe over the time that AVH got roundly booed on the terrace at Space.

Was that when he decided he was going to be a hip-hop dj?
posted by empath at 6:52 PM on August 15, 2011


Yeah, I still cringe over the time that AVH got roundly booed on the terrace at Space.

Addie Van Halen?
posted by awfurby at 6:53 PM on August 15, 2011


But then 90% of the DJs that I've seen in my life have been at weddings playing The Chicken Dance and The Electric Slide.

Yeah, it's a big difference between that and Deadmau5, or even a turntablist like Kid Capri (god I wish I could have done this).
posted by empath at 6:56 PM on August 15, 2011


I swear that despite half of these being Australian I had nothing to do with the angry requests to play Springsteen or Pixies.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:36 PM on August 15, 2011


As an Australian, I am bound by both Law and Custom to request that someone, somewhere, play sum farkin Khe Sanh yt mate

PLAY SOME FUCKING STOOGES!
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:40 PM on August 15, 2011



People who make requests are fucking morons.

Here are the conditions in which you are allowed to make requests:


Oh geez, get over yourselves. You're hired to entertain the patrons on the floor. It's not a license to justify a god complex or think that the people who provide the funds to pay you bills are "morons" for wanting to hear something that heaven forbid might make them happy. In other words, it's not about you, it's about the patrons.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:04 PM on August 15, 2011


I clicked because the topic was interesting and some of the signs were a bit amusing, but wow, the commentary. If you hate this aspect of the job so much, don't be a DJ, I suppose.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:05 PM on August 15, 2011


" In other words, it's not about you, it's about the patrons."

The people making requests rarely represent the majority.
posted by flaterik at 10:23 PM on August 15, 2011


You're hired to entertain the patrons on the floor. It's not a license to justify a god complex or think that the people who provide the funds to pay you bills are "morons" for wanting to hear something that heaven forbid might make them happy. In other words, it's not about you, it's about the patrons.

Yeah, 'the patrons' are the people who are enjoying the music and not being a pest to the hired entertainment. Unless you personally are paying me, you don't get to tell me what to play. And get this, the vast majority of DJs are losing money on their gigs, and they're doing it because they love doing it. People like you are exactly the problem customers we are talking about.
posted by empath at 10:56 PM on August 15, 2011


I used to throw a weekly party and we booked 5 DJs a night. For a lot of DJs it was their first gig, but we got big name locals in all the time. Every DJ that came in DJ'd for drinks, and they did it because we could guarantee 50-100 people there every week who were up for whatever music they would want to play. It was kind of an 'industry' party where DJs and promoters would just come and hang out without a bunch of trendy euro-trash bullshit.

It was also a suburban bar in a college town, and got lots of random walk in traffic who wanted to hear hip-hop and top 40, and at least once a night, they'd ask for requests, they'd even complain to the bartender about how the music sucked and 'everyone' hated it, and nobody was dancing. Even though we had the same 50-100 people in there on a Wednesday night, every week. Our answer to them was that if they didn't like it they could just leave. We doubled their revenue from every other night of the week except for Fridays and Saturdays. They could care less if one 'patron' didn't get the song that made them happy at the expense of the happiness of the DJs that were playing for free, and the promoters who wanted to hear them play, and the people that showed up to hear their friends play.

Giving one person their request and ruining a set isn't worth the effort. If we wanted to hear you DJ'd, we'd have hired you to be the DJ. I don't come to your job and tell you how to flip burgers, you don't tell me what records to play.
posted by empath at 11:05 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, but the burger flipper better cook that meat like I want it.

But anyway, everyone in a club sucks.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:41 PM on August 15, 2011


When I dj- I always look at requests as a challenge to my skills and creativity as a dj. I also look for remixes of pop songs in whatever genre I am hired to play for the night so that I can fill requests and keep the flow going if it comes to that. At other times it is mildly annoying - but I know it comes with the territory and there is not much I can do about it but politely say I don't have that song/ track etc..

* dj'ing since 1995 - In dumps to large clubs and everything in between.
posted by yertledaturtle at 11:43 PM on August 15, 2011


When you make a request, the best thing to do is actually to ask one of the people in the booth to ask the DJ.

One of the people in the booth?

Like the VJ?

Because that usually went like this

-ARE YOU THE DJ

-No.

-ARE YOU THE DJ

-I am not.

-PLAY SOME EMINEM

-I'm not the DJ.

- COME ON HONEY PLEEEZ *inappropriate feeling-up type behavior*

-Get out.



I actually made signs on two separate occasions. One said NOT THE DJ and another said I AM NOT AS DRUNK AS YOU ARE. I think there was another to the effect of DO NOT TOUCH ME but I may have just yelled that really loudly.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:13 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


yes, left unchecked, the position of Club DJ, with the alleged free flow of drinks, drugs, sex, and praise ... can breed a special kind of douchebag

Ha! I was that douchebag! I always thought at the time -- and I still think, now that I'm out on the floor with the unwashed, and god help me if I'm drunk enough I do it too -- that DJ requests are just a Stockholm syndrome thing. You want to make some kind of contact with this puppeteer who is controlling you, body and mind, to actually influence *their* behavior if you can. Otherwise why would you be so flipping happy when your song did actually get played, when you can listen to it anytime you want?

If you're the DJ, and someone requests something you don't know, you just say you don't have it and let them be happy they are schooling you. And if you do know it, you say, "Ooh I love that song! Have you heard [X]?" and they go away happy that they had a moment with you, and it doesn't matter whether you play it or not. That was my experience anyway, as a young woman in what I admit was an unusually-DJ-friendly set-up. The people who want to hear their song and only their song? They're not going to dance anyway, so who cares about them?
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 1:36 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, but the burger flipper better cook that meat like I want it.

Or what, you'll take your business elsewhere, right?

Door's over there...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:27 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Real EDM crowds never, ever make requests. It's always people who don't know what kind of club they're in that do it.

That doesn't match my experience at all. The most hardcore crowds always contain trainspotters, or those numpties who stare at the decks and mixer all night nodding appreciatively when they see a track they approve of getting cued up.

And they make the most ridiculous requests - 'Do you have the DJ Hopelesslyobscure mix of Unreleased Track? No?! But DJ Famous had the dubplate when he played Big Club last night!'.

Part of me admires the snooty old Northern Soul trick of deliberately hyping records that didn't exist, or doing 'cover ups' so not even other DJs would know the real artist/title of your latest discovery - must've made taking requests more entertaining, at least.
posted by jack_mo at 5:12 AM on August 16, 2011


And they make the most ridiculous requests - 'Do you have the DJ Hopelesslyobscure mix of Unreleased Track? No?! But DJ Famous had the dubplate when he played Big Club last night!'.

Yeah, but trainspotters are fine. I'm a trainspotter. Usually those kinds of requests are like-- someone hears me play a track from Toolroom records, and someone asks me if I have the new Mark Knight remix, since that's his label. Which is fine, because a lot of times, they pick a record I was going to play anyway, and sometimes they actually tip me to records that I might want to look for when I get home. They at least know what I'm doing for the most part, and know what the DJ does, so they don't interrupt when I'm mixing, etc..

I had a few anthems that I played a lot that friends would request every once in a while and I'd throw them in, even if I didn't have them planned. When I made a set, I make a set with specific people in mind. Sometimes even specific dancers, if it was a club I knew well. I'm not going up there playing music for me. If I wanted to play music I wanted to hear, I'd play it at home. I was all about the crowd and I played tons of crowd pleasing bullshit records that I didn't like very much. But being about the crowd is not the same as being about the girl standing in front of me who hasn't danced all night demanding I play something that everyone else on the dance floor would hate.
posted by empath at 6:00 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Part of me admires the snooty old Northern Soul trick of deliberately hyping records that didn't exist, or doing 'cover ups' so not even other DJs would know the real artist/title of your latest discovery - must've made taking requests more entertaining, at least.

Trainspotting, as it existed in the age of the 80s and 90s, no longer exists. No one has real dubplates anymore when you can do a live edit and/or remix right there with your computer. And no one reads labels when they have Shazam.

Trainspotting was also fueled by the supply and demand of the time. In 1995 there were only so many quality ragga jungle (or any other niche rave genre) records readily available and when a new anthem came out each month or so it was a BIG DEAL. With the combination of the Internet, easily pirated professional production software, and mass networks of 18 year-olds with nothing better to do, we have a deluge of high-quality electronic music constantly coming at us that is growing each week.

And they're actually really, really nice.

posted by Theta States at 6:34 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


With the combination of the Internet, easily pirated professional production software, and mass networks of 18 year-olds with nothing better to do, we have a deluge of high-quality electronic music constantly coming at us that is growing each week.

More than that, I think DJing as it's traditionally considered is dying, and has been for years. With computers getting cheaper and soft synths and stuff like ableton getting better and better, the idea of watching someone stand on a stage and play other people's songs for 2-3 hours is going to get really tired for people. I think guys like Deadmau5 and Skrillex are the future of EDM, even if you don't like their music.
posted by empath at 6:39 AM on August 16, 2011


Oh geez, get over yourselves. You're hired to entertain the patrons on the floor. It's not a license to justify a god complex or think that the people who provide the funds to pay you bills are "morons" for wanting to hear something that heaven forbid might make them happy. In other words, it's not about you, it's about the patrons.
posted by cmgonzalez at 1:04 AM on August 16 [+] [!]


It's Choose Your Own Adventure Time!!!

Let's step out of the club and go down the street to the McDonalds and put you to work. There's a line out the door, everything's hectic! Grease sizzling, steam, smoke, co-workers yelling, shit beeping, there is a room full of customers who know where they are, and what they want, and you're trying to balance both flipping burgers AND manning the fry station, and keeping an eye on the order screen.

Now, some drunken asshole walks in, pushes past the crowds, and starts slapping the counter, demanding a pizza.

Do you:
a. Ask that the entire place stop for a second so you can try to politely explain that this is a McDonald's, how the menu works, what sort of items are usually served here (remember, you got burgers on the griddle)

b. Scramble together enough buns and ketchup and other foodstuffs to try your best to make a pizza for this angry, inconsiderate jerk, ignoring every other customer in the place in the meantime, only to have them not eat it, and piss off every other customer waiting in line (AND your boss)

c. Tell them to fuck off and get back to serving customers

d. THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT, DO EXACTLY WHAT EVERY DRUNK PRICK SAYS
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:48 AM on August 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think guys like Deadmau5 and Skrillex are the future of EDM, even if you don't like their music.

Wait, what? Why did you choose those 2 guys? Their live sets are basically DJ sets where they play mostly their own tracks, which all tend to sound the same.


The future of electronic music performances was defined by Daft Punk, and has been expanded by the like sof Richie Hawtin and Amon Tobin.
Complex synchronized sound and light shows are what I think will keep the momentum forward. Not glorified DJ sets where the guy hypes the crowd like a coked-up Girl Talk. ;)
posted by Theta States at 7:57 AM on August 16, 2011


The future of electronic music performances was defined by Daft Punk, and has been expanded by the like sof Richie Hawtin and Amon Tobin.

*Tries to read the label on the song currently playing by drunkenly making counterclock circles with eyes. becomes dizzy and unsteady. Get's up courage to ask the DJ a trainspotting question....*


Err...I always thought the Chemical Brothers sort of started the future of electronic music performance, with their oh so excellent first album Exit Planet Dust. I saw them on that tour in '96, I think. Great "show" great all out insane dancing in the crowd. I think that was the first time I saw a "band" on a stage, doing that live recreation sort of thing and almost no one was really facing forward watching them but instead dancing every which other way.

*De-orbiting like a dust planet*
posted by Skygazer at 8:14 AM on August 16, 2011


Well there are seemingly two avenues an electronic musician can take:
1) keep the singular electronic performance that is faithful to the record, and expand on the multimedia interaction (Amon Tobin, Richie Hawtin, Alva Noto, Daft Punk, etc)
2) expand the music to a band / live show arrangement, no multimedia really needed there. (Bonobo, The Knife, Herbaliser, Gobble Gobble, Dan Deacon)

As in my comment above, there was another option...
3) DJ sets of your own music, act like a crazy person on stage, get remembered years later in the same way people think of those old "Jock Jams" CDs. (Skrillex, Girl Talk)


In all fairness, the 2nd avenue, making a spectacle out of electronic music, really started with Kraftwerk I suppose.

And yes, I'd rather an electronic musician have NO real live show if it means avoiding situation #3. :)
posted by Theta States at 8:36 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


But is the multimedia experience really something that most up and comers can replicate? Being able to coordinate a light show plus a musical set takes a ton of coordination between a bunch of artists or someone that is effectively a polymath. Further if a set bombs it's not like you can just reprogram a multimedia set on the fly. Beyond that I don't even want to guess what some of those multimedia shows cost to develop and stage. It's great if you are already on the top of your game but how does someone get to that point if they follow path 1?

Path 2 has it's share of problems as well because live band / show has additional complications (more personalities = more drama). It also seems like a big transition to ask for people who have traditionally been solo artists to move to a collaborative model.

Path 3 for all it's problems seems like it offers the quickest return for people that actually stumble onto some sort of commercial success or notoriety. Even if your work becomes repetitive and stale you can ride that train as long as it lasts and then hope you can "reinvent" yourself to hitch on to the new flavor.
posted by vuron at 9:14 AM on August 16, 2011


Wait, what? Why did you choose those 2 guys? Their live sets are basically DJ sets where they play mostly their own tracks, which all tend to sound the same.

They're not quite DJing in the traditional sense.. they're reproducing the track live and manipulate individual parts of the track seperately, and they often do live remixes, and also because they're both producers, even if they're not remixing live, they're often playing parts of tracks that they're working on while the songs are still incomplete or reuse elements from older songs in newer songs, etc.. I've listened to their live sets and they're constantly changing songs up.

For example:

Here's Deadmau5 playing Raise Your Weapon earlier this year.

Here's Raise Your Weapon at Lollapallooza -- aside from the vocal, it's an almost entirely new song.
posted by empath at 9:28 AM on August 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Theta States: Well there are seemingly two avenues an electronic musician can take:
1) keep the singular electronic performance that is faithful to the record, and expand on the multimedia interaction (Amon Tobin, Richie Hawtin, Alva Noto, Daft Punk, etc)
2) expand the music to a band / live show arrangement, no multimedia really needed there. (Bonobo, The Knife, Herbaliser, Gobble Gobble, Dan Deacon)

As in my comment above, there was another option...
3) DJ sets of your own music, act like a crazy person on stage, get remembered years later in the same way people think of those old "Jock Jams" CDs. (Skrillex, Girl Talk)


Well, there might be a #4 too. That Chem Bros. Exit Planet Dust show, had real- time analog and digital processing going on, so their was quite a bit of leeway and creativity they could express within the arrangements and the songs itself, which if I remember correctly had the same amazing (to me anyway, that mix blows my mind. /Aside: I once jogged listening to EPD, and I think I almost had a hard attack by the mid-point because my pace was all sorts of crazee.../end aside).

And by processing, I mean a huge palatte that included EQ, Delays, Fuzzdistortion, and all sort of what to my ears sounded like analog pots and sliders be manipulated. It was teh awesome. LIke I said, not much too look at (and there was some complimentary Multimedia that was very pretty), but it just seemed beside the point when people just wanted to dance like crazy alone or with one another. I think they added new sound elements here and there though as well, new endings beginnings etc. But all in all the integrity of the music was freeform but always recognizable.


It was very cool and what, I imagine Boards of Canada might do live.

U-ziq on the other hand.... (I'm pulling out all this 90s shit aren't I? Okay you got me. Recommend some new stuff along these lines DJ-people here or non-DJ people even.)

Yes, U-ziq, just set up turntables and played the music straight. Wow, what a snoozy disappointment that was, especially in light of his great first couple of CD's.
posted by Skygazer at 10:27 AM on August 16, 2011


I saw Squarepusher live once. It was one of the most boring shows I had ever been to. It started with Luke Vibert poking at a laptop for two hours. Then Tom came out and attached a bass to what looked like a rack of servers and sort of noodled on it for another two.

That was a damn disappointment.
posted by griphus at 10:30 AM on August 16, 2011


You know, it just hit me that, one way a DJ can get some piece is by putting up a sign with his email address or a phone number, where they can check texts and people can send requests, and/or ask questions off their cellphones like that.

The DJ can check them at his or her pace.
posted by Skygazer at 10:30 AM on August 16, 2011


Well, there might be a #4 too. That Chem Bros. Exit Planet Dust show, had real- time analog and digital processing going on, so their was quite a bit of leeway and creativity they could express within the arrangements and the songs itself

I was thinking about #2 in regards to a setup like that. That works for most "electronicy" bands that are primarily pop acts, like LCD Soundsystem and Chemical Bros.
posted by Theta States at 10:36 AM on August 16, 2011


U-ziq on the other hand.... (I'm pulling out all this 90s shit aren't I? Okay you got me. Recommend some new stuff along these lines DJ-people here or non-DJ people even.)

Did you get all of the Djak-Up-Bitch stuff that started at the end of the 90s? That was a great successor to the best parts of the Paradinas sound. The Nummer Een comp featured many classics all in one spot.
Or try my old mix, or even this one.
posted by Theta States at 10:42 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Path 3 for all it's problems seems like it offers the quickest return for people that actually stumble onto some sort of commercial success or notoriety. Even if your work becomes repetitive and stale you can ride that train as long as it lasts and then hope you can "reinvent" yourself to hitch on to the new flavor.

That is the tragedy that I am loathe to admit. *le sigh*
posted by Theta States at 10:57 AM on August 16, 2011


I think guys like Deadmau5 and Skrillex are the future of EDM

I hope for more like The Twelves, but youre absolutely right.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:04 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Irrelevant side note: I am in love love love with the new Azari & III record.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:08 AM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I put Manic on my last mix cd.
posted by empath at 11:23 AM on August 16, 2011


Or try my old mix, or even this one

Shiiiiiite...


THANKS MR. DJ!!
posted by Skygazer at 11:44 AM on August 16, 2011


THANKS MR. DJ!!

That's Ms. DJ, and no problem. :)
posted by Theta States at 12:06 PM on August 16, 2011


griphus: I've had the same experience with Squarepusher many times. His little brother, though, is completely the opposite: he usually takes to the stage with some random tangled assortment of 303, wires, turntables and whatnot, and has the crowd going completely mental, while appearing to be fiddling with his kit at random and occasionally demanding beer from the audience.

I'm unconvinced that any one particular setup is "the future" of electronic music. I've been to proper full-on brain-melting psychedelic trance party laser shows, and I've been to nights where they deliberately turn all the lighting right down until you can barely see the person a couple of inches away, so that you pay more attention to the deeply intricate and wonderful things an expressionless Jeff Mills is doing behind the decks. Either attitude, or anything in between, can work really well provided it's a good match to the music.

empath: the idea of watching someone stand on a stage and play other people's songs for 2-3 hours is going to get really tired for people.

Is the idea actually to watch the person onstage? I thought the idea was to dance.
posted by doop at 2:01 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been to nights where they deliberately turn all the lighting right down until you can barely see the person a couple of inches away, so that you pay more attention to the deeply intricate and wonderful things an expressionless Jeff Mills is doing behind the decks.

Yeah, my favorite party of all time was this way -- A Sunday Night in Dupont Circle with Sam Burns spinning. Packed so tight that people were dancing on tables and booths.

Is the idea actually to watch the person onstage? I thought the idea was to dance.

Yeah, on a good night, but people do still watch the DJ. I was talking more for like 'superstar djs' rather than local residents, etc.. who probably are going to just be playing songs for a good long while still..
posted by empath at 3:02 PM on August 16, 2011


People seem to be mixing up live performance and DJing a bit here.

I don't think there's any sign that DJs playing other people's music will go away - they do it in a way that's closer to live performance now (Ableton Live, et al) but people dancing to a DJ selection of music by a wide variety of artists doesn't look like it's going anywhere.

They at least know what I'm doing for the most part, and know what the DJ does, so they don't interrupt when I'm mixing, etc..

True! That's definitely the great advantage of the trainspotter-requester.

Trainspotting, as it existed in the age of the 80s and 90s, no longer exists. No one has real dubplates anymore when you can do a live edit and/or remix right there with your computer.

I haven't played out in a couple of years but trainspotters were still in full effect then, especially when I was doing dub and dancehall sets. And I know for a fact that real dubplates are still current (and positively fetishised in some scenes). A DJ being able to 'edit and/or remix' live on their computer has nothing to do with distributing unreleased tunes in a certain format.

I thought the idea was to dance.

Quite!
posted by jack_mo at 3:16 PM on August 16, 2011


A DJ being able to 'edit and/or remix' live on their computer has nothing to do with distributing unreleased tunes in a certain format.

Yeah, and there are a lot of 'unreleased' mp3s that you can only get from blogs or messageboards or by knowing the producer personally. It's not as fun as collecting white labels, but there are still exclusive records. (BTW, does anyone want to buy a bunch of 10 year old terrible trance white labels, well worn in?)
posted by empath at 3:25 PM on August 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


This seems like a relevant place to link to the Green Gorilla Lounge's gear page, which prominently features their trademark slogan: NO FUCKING REQUESTS EVER!

I so enjoy the synchronicity of this thread's topic and the first item on the list - but apparently they're out of stock right now.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 4:48 PM on August 16, 2011


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