Requests are something dj’s can write books about. Or that can inspire a website. Like all our colleagues we get our share of “can you play something we can dance to”, “do you have something from the Black Eyed Peas” or somebody waving with his mobile with the words “HARD-TRANCE” on the screen. Even if we play in a club where no-one ever plays that sort of music. That’s common hassle and we’ve learned not to get thrown off too much by it. Not even when a girl keeps on nagging for more than 20minutes stating she knows she’s irritating and repeating “please” like a dozen times when behind her back people are dancing and enjoying our music.
What those people don’t get is that putting your personal likes before everything is very egoistic (and if you like to do it that much why not satisfying your ego by becoming a dj, haha). They might not see it that way but it is. It’s not because you want to hear that particular song at that particular moment everyone else will. When a promoter asks a dj to play at the party he organises he commissions the dj to make the musical choices. Usually he makes that decision based on what that dj has proven before. All the parties he’s rocked, the word to mouth buzz around him, the personal experiences the promoter has had with him. Ideally. A good party begins with an organisers who knows what he’s doing and makes well-considered choices. That usually results in not too many requests. Second one is people knowing where they’re going to. Because it’s summer that tends to go a bit awry. Too many tourists showing up on your dance floor not really knowing what to expect. We’re no juke-boxes and have a distinctive style. We don’t play mainstream music, keep it soulful and above all we like to surprise. Things we know aren’t for everyone’s taste.
Luckily we’ve gotten to a point where we can choose where to play and which promoters to work with, avoiding being the odd one out at parties which is a big problem when you’re the dj. We love djing but only because we love music and have an urge to share our particular brand with others. We don’t care too much about the spotlights, the attention and other ego-boosting superficialities that come with the job.
But like we’ve said, it’s summertime and festivals attract “tourists” with different kinds of expectations than usual. Even if we keep our sets more accessible than usual. As we’ve come to experience yesterday at Bruxelles-Les-Bains.
First up let me state that we had a good time. We always enjoy playing music even if only 5 people show up and we can make them smile. We got to enjoy Majella’s music, had a few people dancing (mostly children) and made a few heads bop. To put all things in perspective, it was an outside afternoon gig at an event where we were only one of the attractions and most people don’t come to dance anyway. And it had been raining. Hard. And it kept on raining regularly during our set. Which decimates the possible turnout of a free event like Bruxelles-Les-Bains.
So we played for people passing by, people enjoying some food or a cocktail, … generally people chilling out. But the spot was nice and the sound was, in contrary of what is usual in Belgium, very good. A clear, well-balanced sound. Which leads me to the first moron that tried to mess up our fun. Halfway our set a guy entered the “venue” we were playing at and walked straight up to the speakers, putting his ear to the bass cabinets. We weren’t playing very loud as there was no reason to do it. Just a reasonably volume to overpower the surrounding sounds and to make it possible to enjoy our music. The next 10 minutes he kept on arguing that the subs weren’t working. He never even tried to relax and listen properly to the music. Telling him the sound was fine didn’t help. He even went on nagging to the security about it. Telling him nicely it all sounded perfect to us didn’t help one bit. Telling him to f##k off and stop annoying us didn’t help either. After it became clear nobody gave a damn about his complaints he left. Note, the subs did work and even made our decks rumble when we played some reggae and other bass-heavy tunes.
Second try to get the fun out of it all was attempted by 3 friends complaining we weren’t playing dance music. We were pumping some mid-tempo Soul tunes by Faze-O, Dennis Edwards and Michael McDonald. The most obvious ones. And they were dancing to them. But still they felt the need to tell us how to dj properly. Asking me if I had girl-issues and whatnot. On the other side of the canal the guys from K-Nal Festival were pumping House and they kept saying play some music like them. Suggesting they went over to that place didn’t help. They kept on saying last Saturday the place was packed with dancing people. Suggesting that even if everyone at Bruxelles-Les-Bains that afternoon came to our dance floor it wouldn’t be packed didn’t help. Suggesting they might have a different taste than other people who do like to dance to this kind of music didn’t help. Suggesting, after many minutes of discussion, to simply f##k off didn’t help either. After a while they gave up and kept on dancing to what we were playing.
Luckily we had more than enough positive reactions. The kids dancing, the compliments given by some, the smiles and head nods we saw. And the request for some Fela Kuti we gladly acknowledged. But I must say those 2 experiences made me more than a little irritated. I’m open to critique and a good discussion but if you’re only there to piss us off with your very personal and not open for reconsideration opinion, please keep it to yourself. It’s summer, there are a million other options within walking distance and if we’re really the amateurs you think we are we wouldn’t be doing what we’re still doing after more than 11years.
Had to get that off my chest.