Ahh the good old days of banter between DJ’s and producers are back after recently reading an outburst by an American EDM duo. This age old fun debate has been going for years….yes producers set up the ball and DJ’s score the goal, that’s been the mechanics of the music biz for a long time. That’s what makes a winning team?
As history shows, the mainstream world and club world have always sat uncomfortably parallel together and never understand each other, EDM is now today’s mainstream and we’re back to these old banter days. I’m glad to see these banter days again as it shows that the scenes are splitting once again, instead of the confusion when they were colliding in the same place.
With this organic split happening, it’s allowing a place for DJ’s to breathe musically once again. A life long obsession of collecting music after weeks of create digging, a 1-hour set simply isn’t enough to satisfy a proper DJ and their fans, they need an extended amount of time to breathe musically and experiment. No producer will truly understand this, as proven recently with the recent banter antics. Just because you are blending your own tracks together using DJ equipment doesn’t make you a DJ? Putting a ready made meal in a microwave doesn’t make me a chef?
I have a perspective on both sides, because I’m both a producer and DJ. Listen, I get the producer thing, obsessing with frequencies, engineering, synths, plugs and compressors. I love this world. What I don’t understand, if you’re going to play all your own tracks on stage and you have that genius knowledge of production, why plug in a pen drive and mix one track to another? This EDM duo called themselves a band. Then why not bring a load of your studio kit on tour and perform the tracks live and use your knowledge to it’s advantage. There’s a plethora of affordable live performance tools out there from; Roland, Novation, Ableton Push or why not use Stems? I’d feel cheated if I went to see Muse perform playing off a pen drive.
When performing a DJ set, I get a thrill and a buzz of adrenaline from knowing at any point something can go wrong. The outturn of this evening is in my hands. If I misread the crowd, play the wrong tracks, misjudge an energy shift, I have to work my ass off to win the crowd back. The first hour of a set I need to read the crowd and figure out what direction to take these people. Can I play hard? Can I be experimental and take them on a magical journey? That life long obsession with collecting music means that any true DJ, may they be a wedding DJ to club DJ, has the musical tools to deal with any situation presented to them. The big difference between these two worlds, when a DJ steps up to the stage, they have no idea what music they will be playing until they get into the vibe.
The true live world also share this adrenaline buzz, knowing at some point something can go wrong. Hearing mistakes in the crowd makes it part of the experience, knowing they are performing live. The band work together and can adapt their set to the crowd that are in front of them.
Don’t underestimate the power of unity between a DJ and producer, as history shows many scenes and genres have been born off the back of passionate DJ’s rebelling against the masses, go read the history of Disco, Northern soul, House, Techno etc and see how they were born. We need each other to keep moving the scene forward, started by DJ’s setting up sound systems in bars, warehouses and playing all night, we can’t do this without music. We’re now seeing the return of these days with the resurgence of the underground and DJ’s once again playing extended sets, experimenting and moving things forward. It’s that wonderful musical eco system.
There’s thousands of super talented DJ’s out there that have gone under the radar due to them not producing music. Lets hope we see a return of those days where those super talented DJ’s once again take control leading new scenes forward, in conjunction with their old foes the producers. Let DJ’s career’s be born again off the back of them being a true innovative DJ’s.