If there’s one thing many “live music” fans love to do, it’s deride DJs as “not musicians” and electronic music as “not real music.” It’s a tempting argument for them to make since DJing looks so simple to the casual observer. DJing allows a single person (or group) to fill the space of an entire band using little more than pre-recorded music. Sounds easy enough.
Well that’s a relative assessment, and to the uninitiated it looks like a DJ is just playing records. There’s no real skill needed there, right? The same argument could be made against live musicians who know only a few chords and play them over and over in different, yet rehearsed, combinations. The mechanics of DJing – precisely matching the tempo of a song to within a single beat per minute based solely on what you hear in the headphones – is not an easy skill to master. Indeed, some electronic music producers never master it and so make horrendous DJs. In the same vein, some drummers have limp wrists, some bassists have no rhythm, and some vocalists can’t carry a tune.
This mix was done for Jesse Brede’s podcast called Raw. It’s a blend of trip-hop, hip-hop, and more.
The mark of a real DJ, just like any other musician, is the ability to surprise the listener with something that is both familiar yet novel. Many people only like to hear songs they’re familiar with. I’m not sure if that is a product of the mass-produced radio culture we live in, where the same “alternative” and “classic” songs are stuck in an ageless playlist of benign top 40 charters. The charge of a DJ, though, is to present something that people have NOT heard before; to find the latest, the rarest, the most obscure song that still makes people listen, or better, dance. Not only must the tunes be fresh, but the music can never stop… not for a second. The point is to blend. To make each track meld indistinguishably from its predecessor and successor.
I’m certainly not that skilled on the 1’s and 2’s, but I try. I was fortunate to have had some awesome help and awesome friends that shared that passion (the SA crew, Mr. Gomez, The Pita, among others) and we produced some awesome events in Austin. The mixing goes on, but it’s a little less frequent these days. There are too many mixes in the archives to post all , but all newish mixes will be posted here for posterity.
This is one of my old Drum n Bass mixes from… about 2002, I think.