Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Randomness: Will the HATE ever end

Facebook can be great, but it’s often a place that makes me want to chuck the nearest expensive lump of new DJ gear at my iMac. With increasing frequency, the hate being exhibited by some is getting frankly annoying, and largely without foundation. The above slice of elitist bollocks hit my screen this morning. And boy did it press a button with me.

I need to preface this with a little about myself – I’m 46 years old, with 3 decades of DJ experience and an unnatural love of vinyl. I’ve witnessed the comings (and probable goings) of CD decks, DVS and all manner of controllers, as well as having insight into what is coming some way down the line.
But despite my vinyl heritage, not once have I exhibited the hate that all too many people show when faced with new technology. I embrace it, and use what is good across all the formats.

To address the latest Facebook meme – I’ve heard similar opinion from some real top of the ladder DJs. DJ Premier espoused a similar feeling about using Scratch Live. And another even went as far to say that a council of elders should be formed who could decide if you should be able to call yourself a DJ or not. Sorry – I thought that the full or empty dancefloor made that decision… but I digress.
Years ago, I wrote an article about the joys of buying, collecting and playing vinyl. I lamented the lack of said experience for today’s music consumers who are used to just pressing the legal or otherwise “download now” button. But like it or not, that is their music buying and listening experience. They hear music on the radio, TV or online, knowing that they can probably go somewhere and download it to their computer, phone or music player almost instantly. This is becoming a media-free world – and it’s not their fault.

So the above ridiculous meme has zero relevance to the current music buying public and DJ world anymore. With 99% of music being distributed digitally, vinyl and increasingly CD just does not figure in the minds of new DJs. So to insist that they’re not DJs unless they’ve used vinyl is some of the worst DJ snobbery that I’ve ever witnessed. And rather illogical too.

By extension, this meme also implies that DJing is dying because of the lack of vinyl use. Again, the full dancefloors across the world do seem to rather laugh in the face of such an assertion. Is there a magic number of vinyls that you must own, or have carried, or have played to earn your DJ stripes? What piffle.
Rare photo of DJ skills quickening while playing vinyl

Let me state this plain and clear again. Vinyl will not fill a floor. Vinyl will not magically give you DJ skills. Having played vinyl in the past or suddenly playing it now WILL NOT make you a good DJ. DJing is not about the gear or the medium – it’s all about the music and skills. Pick the right music and mix it at the right time in the right way and the floor will fill. Voila – you are now a DJ, regardless of what medium or gear you played it on.

So while the current DJ related Facebook meme is doing the rounds, doubtlessly followed by many others of its kind, the reality is is that it’s just complete and utter hogwash. And I double dare anyone to try and convince me otherwise.


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