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Have clubs lost their groove?

The festival boom has bought with it big production, huge LED walls, laser shows, smoke cannons and pyrotechnics acting as a backdrop to the DJ console that’s escalated to the heavens showcasing the superstar DJ’s. Along with this comes DJ’s ‘Festival sets’, they have a very shortamount of time in the limelight, so with chests puffed out, Beatport’s Top 20 drops are unleashed followed by the obligatory hands in the air crowd shot tweet and ‘smashed it’ Facebook status update.

For the dedicated music lovers, clubs are welcome sanctuary away from the festival madness, where they can watch DJ’s craft their art with longer sets and musical freedom on better sound systems. This I fear is starting to become a thing of rarity as clubs are following a worrying pattern of creating mini festivals inside clubs. The same DJs are playing thesame style festival sets in clubs, these environments are the training grounds for our next generation, the results we have are an audience with short attention spans.

I honestly believe many of these guys are losing their art of actual DJing. When you’re used to every track having a massive drop pushing those hands in the air, things will seem pretty flat if you venture away from this. So what’s the point of record shopping looking for new interesting music, the crowd won’t get it. Just keep playing the bombs.

I’ve had the conversations with them, they’re trappedin a world they’ve created for themselves, this short attention span isn’t just restricted to music, the fans will soon jump ship to another DJ if they don’t deliver, so the pressure is on. Yes some miss this wonderful art of DJing, but others have achieved their goals of superstar status, we all have different agendas in our careers.

For me personally, playing big hits are the easy part of my set, I already know what reaction they will get, so these are left until the end of my set. I love the challenge of the unknown tracks, those tracks I spend hours hunting for in shops. I get an adrenaline buzz from the thrill of testing a new track on the dance floor and waiting for the reaction, It’s completely unknown and takes a lot of skill finding the right moments to place them in my set, but are also very gratifying seeing the rewards of my work finding this new music.

I love getting totally engrossed in my musical journey, planning forward in my head how and when I’ll take things up, down, darker or harder. But ultimately it’s the crowd in front of me that chooses this path as I’m constantly feeding from the dance floor of what limits I can reach.

To me, the real art is to hold a packed dancefloor in a groove for a sustained amount of time, they get engrossed in the hypnotic groove losing chunks of time with their eyes closed and headsdown. Tranced out. That’s where true DJ’s earn their stripes, once you have control of the floor like this, you have the musical freedom to head where you want. The energy shift is so immense as you snap them out of this groove, it’s creates an immense frizzen moment that no ‘drop’can match.

It’s a rare craft that used to be in weekly clubsacross the world, something you hardly experience today, especially from warmup DJ’s?!

Is it all about the drop…or the groove?

5 February 2014 Blog