Weekend Recap – State of Crisis?

Rob Riggs joins us to discuss the 2012 DMC US championships and the current state of turntablism. We also talk about this weeks news and the current state of club music. Is EDM on the way out? Find out!

LINKS:
Real DJ’s Use Vinyl
Tupac Dead Again

Connect with Dj Rob Riggs online:

www.djrobriggs.com

www.twitter.com/djrobriggs

www.scratch.com

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10 comments

  1. I totally agree with you about club music currently being too serious and “separated” ie house/hip hop/dubstep/trap etc

    I’d really like to know what you think of the Ghettofunk sound – http://soundcloud.com/ghettofunk/ I’m finding this to be real alternative form of of party music that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but has broad appeal in a club/party environment.

    It incorporates modern production techniques (dubstep basses, hard drums etc) with old school party funk, disco, house, classic songs. modern house/hip hop/breaks in a mashup type vibe. Could be what you are looking for. ie nothing is off limits, as long as its got that party vibe and hits hard in the club

    One of the things I like about it is that the genre is that is spans many bpm ranges and can incorporate a mashup type vibe that borrows from multiple inspirations, but equally it can also be original tunes

    Have a look at some of the music from the djs/producers that are following this group on the soundcloud page.

    Interested to hear what others think…

  2. Regarding Robs segment, I wouldn’t want to see the DMC’s go away entirely. I would much rather see it evolve with the times, as it is an integral part of DJ culture, and furthermore, has a place in History which should be embraced for many future years to come! Many talented DJs have gone into and have come up from DMC’ Championships, and many are still loyal to the art form, as these DJs show a great passion and respect for their craft!
    OK, another long (and for some, maybe boring perspective) However I think I’m going to be waaaaaayyyy shorter on my comments in the future. I tend to give explanations, analogies, etc, to further explain my comments more indepth that make my comments longer than normal, so it is what it is, however my comment on this topic is primarily talking about risks vs. calculated risks within the DJ Industry that we may or may not be taking. Kind of an expansion upon what JD and Spring alluded to towards the end of the episode.
    As to JD and Springs convo about music, leading up to around 36:50 in, where JD raises the question of perhaps where perception may play a role in why music is the way it is today. I would think that perception may be a part of it along with the risks taken, or lack of risks taken. There is a difference between risks and calculated risks. A “risk” is somewhat wanting to try something off the cuff, and can be a liability either physical or in this case, musically, where as a “calculated risk” (still risky in its own right) has some pre determined, proven, iron clad track record to it being done before with greater success, although there is still a liability, calculated risks usually are risks taken from within a controlled environment. Take in example, way back JD mentioned he wanted to try to stage dive(I don’t know if that was just tongue and check) however, imagine if he just got that whim at one moment while DJing, without ever doing it before, and not knowing any procedure in how to land yourself properly, and he did so from 25 feet up, then crashed down and broke his ankle, ouch! Not a cool risk, however what if JD worked along side a stunt performer with years of “fall” experience from high places, utilized some type of cushion to break his fall, and learned on how to fall into the crowd with what part of your body first, say like Steve Aoki with his inflatable boat, then JD would be taking a calculated risk. There is still a possibility that with all of this knowledge and practice, that JD can run into technical snags and issues, but he is now experienced in it. Calculated risks are the risks we as DJs should ALWAYS be trying to implement into our sets! Why? Oh I could go on with lists upon lists of why, but how about a couple we all can relate to! In no particular order taking calculated risks opens the DJ up to:
    -Variety, -Keeping things fresh, -Breaking new music, -Making our crowd want more via teasers, -Mystery in our sets, -Playing remixes NO ONE ELSE HAS(a big one I can go on forever with) -Being diverse yet different, -A chance to have your sound stand out over others, -DJ identity, -Moving up the ladder via Pioneering something new, -Showing a skill level quite different than the norm, etc.
    All of the above examples I mention can be done via taking some calculated risks. Pre determining what your Identity as a DJ is will help you eventually determine what musical path you will take as a DJ in the real world, weather that be an Open Format DJ, House DJ, Hip Hop DJ, etc.
    Take breaking new music, before Radio became almost fully corporate, a Mom and Pop run radio stations DJ could at his or her leisure have a good feeling about a certain record, and break that record by playing it, soon after if clubs around started playing it, and a Record exec saw a sweeping trend coming on via that record, that Record Exec might think about signing that person. Speaking of Record Companies, they as well as most of the Music and Film Industries are almost always taking calculated risks. Anything you ever do in life for some type of acknowledgement or feedback always comes with a risk. Those Music and Movie moguls risk money advancements to new Artists all the time based on calculated risks. However they do so in a controlled environment, with great knowledge and a track record of previous Commercial Hit success. A new show airing on a Network takes these types of risks. However, they don’t do so with out focus grouping an audience first and doing some research to see if there is any interest in it in the first place. A huge risk, starting a business, but yet its calculated beforehand! I’m sure by JD and Springs own reasoning onto why they wanted to start up Remix Report was a risk, but they didn’t go into it by just putting up a site, and then seeing what happened. As mentioned in many episodes you hear their calculations they did along the way, the “What ifs” and the trial and error segments and such. But as I remember Spring mentioning, when the idea for the site arose, they were going back in forth with ideas and didn’t know how it would be accepted.
    I guess my point of calculated risks has been established. My point was to show how almost every business and Industry takes them, so DJs should be no different. I know a lot of guys and girls in the DJ Industry are taking them with great success, Just would like to see more DJs think and perform outside the box without fear that they might not be accepted by their peers for trying something different. Get out there and play that new song no one else is playing, and if you are hesitant to if your crowd will like it, spice it up with a well known acapella over it, or going into it. Those are the little mystery/preview crowd hype ups and teasers I was mentioning in my list. As mentioned and prob agreed by many, people like singing along to what they know, so by teasing the crowd with a very brief acapella chorus drop followed by a new song you want to break under that chorus acapella, not only are you breaking a possible new hit that others may start playing as well, you also have your crowd coming up to you asking the name of that remix you just performed live!
    I’m glad this topic was brought to light on the state of music, weather some think its to genre specific or too serious, Ive been in Music and Entertainment for quite some time, and as Spring mentions about getting older, I can attest to, these little scrupples like genre this and that become so irrelevant when looking in on the overall picture. There becomes a point in time where you really do start to focus on yourself, and not care what the world is saying or doing, and those that are there along with you for the ride are there weather you rise or fall, and the others do whatever, so I too see all of that, and I’m usually thinking the same thing of , “What ever happened to the fun?” Well, Its still there, however many DJs may not be taking calculated risks to bring it to light.
    Who is to say that within time, you cant get a bottle service club to play Sweet Home Alabama or Living on a Prayer. Well, as DJs prob agree, its hard right now, because DJs have conditioned the crowd to expect certain genres to be played, and if you do go outside the box, you risk not only your dancefloor, but that can lead to less sales for the club because of less attendance because of music selection and then how does that make you look in other DJs eyes? Or better yet how does that make you look in any other Club Owners eyes looking to hire you when they know you got the boot for not playing the standard fare of music we have to play in order to keep a floor?
    The answer, its a lot easier than we make it out to be. For starters as a DJ, play for your crowd, if you want to play for other DJs, fine, but don’t let that overpower you, as playing for DJs versus playing for the crowd can have adverse effects on your crowd. For example, I think it was back in 2003 right before the Serato days, I witnessed a very good club DJ allegedly play for another DJ who was in the building. This DJ who always was good at analyzing the crowd, usually kept a packed dancefloor, however the night that this famous DJ was in the Club, the resident DJ decided it was best he play more technical for the other DJ. In other words, this DJ burst out with his technical skill to show the Celeb DJ that he could rock the turntables. So instead of mixing like he normally would on any given night with the properly placed scratches and moderate FX, he went all out technically like it was a DMC competition, changing out records and utilizing his skill. Was he good at that, YES very bad ass, but he alienated his dancefloor in lieu of impressing the celeb DJ, which in fact he didn’t even know if he did impress the Celeb DJ at all because nothing was mentioned on how good he was, and the Celeb DJ left early in the night.
    My point then, is maybe if the DJ in today’s Industry focuses on him or herself only, and figures out a way to Pioneer in a new trend, then more energy and focus can be spent on innovating rather than impressing. Sure many DJs at some point in time like to show off their skill when other DJs are taking note, we all have to be on our A game, of course, but like the old saying goes, “Just be yourself” the realness within YOU will shine brighter than any other thing your trying to do as a DJ to get attention. A DJ will always want to take a calculated risk at some point in time to see if they can push the envelope a bit farther. (Look up the creation of the CGI and computer power needed to recreate the Dinosaurs for Jurassic Park. If Spielberg did not push the envelope on that, Jurassic Park would of had stop motion Dinosaurs that looked less than realistic…Stop motion was used predominantly before CGI) Thats just an example DJs can take note of, pushing the envelope and crashing thru the barriers that frustrate the hell out of DJs who want to move on.
    I applaud guys like Enferno, and AM. Take Enferno, he just does what he does, and other DJs are impressed by it, but he doesn’t do it to show up other DJs. He just has such a great passion for it, and you can tell it is 100% genuine. Every time I have seen him either live or on video, he always has a smile on his face, and you can read the confidence level on his face saying something like “Im just doing what I love to do! Im so happy you guys are along for the ride and are enjoying it too”
    I have many stories of myself utilizing my natural way of being different, and turning that into a productive atmosphere that when seen, is just my natural way and passion, and when I see that in other DJs, the genuine factor of it all is a connection you cant make up or pretend to have. Its in your blood, a part of who you are :)

    • Sorry, dont know why, but I left the appropriate paragraph spacing between, but however when it was submitted it did not leave them, making it hard to read. Thats happened to me before on this site, starting to think its my computer, lol!

  3. I never really realized things like this (seriousness) of the music and what we do. It’s funny but I had this talk with a couple buddies that I DJ with a few months back and as our “group” of DJs or the DJs that played on the strip for the University of Maryland (College Park, MD) OUR goal, was to be the best. We wanted to be the reason people came & stayed at the bar/club we were DJing at. We started realizing, soon with the move from Jersey Shore, no offense to Pauly D, but it sometimes became embarrassing when we would take a few days off from freshening up our sets or making sure we have the newest and fresh music (which was our goal to present this to our “listeners”) the Fraternities (mostly) would almost sometimes feel like they were judging us. We needed to be better than the “house heads” which these frats were. So it became a game from, “Lets party tonight, bring this new music to the crowd and make them go home wanting to know the song” to “ok now shit, how can i make this creative, do something that these guys who already know this song, would see my talent and hard work”. I know this may not make sense, but it used to be back in the day, the first time you heard a song on the radio for most people was the first time they would hear that track. Now, with the internet, shit people know tracks even before I do? The DJ? WTF? That was NEVER what I wanted. My problem is I am so diverse in the open format that when I go to my rock music bar or my happy hour where i play a lot of 90s music or then come to the club where I can play my new stuff, I am the DJ. I have to be the best in the room with the knowledge of music. At least thats what the club/bar owners are paying us for (and for our talented ways of presenting and reading we could go on with what we do) but as far as the music goes, yea it has become serious. But I think its a good thing. It means we are taking our job seriously and we are growing. I mean, how would it feel, for me, I’ve been DJing for close to 10 years, but if this DJ who has 7 months “djing” makes a mix based on the songs presented on other dj mixes on soundcloud throughout the world and makes it his own to present to the club owner and he makes his way in to take your night? That scares me. It is actually happening to me right now. Its honestly, and I’m getting upset right here, FUCKING IRRITATING. The bartenders and club goers are all coming to me saying “the other dj sucks, we can watch the clock and know at 1045 he is going to play this song followed by this song, followed by this one” but the club owner doesnt see this, the place still packs up, the line out front remains on my nights and his nights. But, I spend well over 40 hours (even though I am a career fireman as well) preparing sets, recording my syndicated radio shows, organizing and preparing music, listening to @remixreport (haha), you know, I take this seriously. But this kid, shows up, plays the same sets, and just gets white girl wasted, and makes the same pay I do. The truth, I was him once. I LOVED the DJing scene to be able to do this, but I wasnt taking it so serious then either. Now, because I’m working harder to be better and be fresh, I take it seriously. Contrary, this doesnt take away from my love for my job, it just makes me have to work harder in order to NOT have my hard work flipped over by some new kid who borrowed some money from mommy and daddy to get him a DJ Kontroller, Tractor, and the billboard top 40 dance records. I’m typing as you guys are talking so this may not even be exactly what you ended up getting into talking about (i’ll go back) but this is something that has come to my attention and you know, I dont know how to separate it in club owners minds. Especially when you get involved with promoters, which is an entirely whole ‘nother chapter that I am not going to get into. Nice recap fellas.

  4. I dont know whats going on with my damn internet but the first comment I made on this made no sense and the follow up to it was exactly what I wanted to say, it didnt post, so I’ll try to reiterate that one.

    As far as the seriousness of DJing goes.

    Basically I feel like slowly were sometimes losing site of the “fun” of DJing. It used to be we were an asset to the clubs and bars and playing music used to be like “OH SHIT NO HE DIDNT”. Now its like “OH SHIT, HE BETTER…” I think this is why many of us get upset with requests as well. Who really knows. But I do want to touch on what Spring was saying on how he used to judge how [fun] a night was based on the sing alongs and what not. This is something I still do. Regardless of club or bar this is my favorite thing to do and honestly, I feel that I may be one of the only few DJs in my area that do this. Its kind of my way to get away from the MUST DO as a DJ to hey, lets have a fucking good time here. One of my favorite tracks to drop and is always a hit believe it or not “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. I have enough various edits to this track that I can be creative with it, but I swear no matter how in depth or musically inclined the crowd is, for them to not enjoy the classic sing alongs creatively placed in the set, would almost be ignorant on their behalf. For me, I’m not a hip hop head, but when I go out I love to hear hip hop, thats what moves me, but thats just me, i’m 1 of many that go out to these places (when i ever do get the chance to go out). I know its kind of a risk to take to do this kind of thing, but it really is ME. It may not “separate” me from other DJs and many people might not even like it, but its how I keep that 3 letter word in the other 3 letter word (JOB)— F-U-N! Another track I enjoy playing for the college kids and I got this idea from a friend that said it was their “anthem” at East Carolina University, is Roxanne by the Police. I play this mostly at the bars and when I do I’ll give the crowd a bit of a mic hype and tell them to freshen up their drinks (puts more money in the bars pocket and bartendar’s as well cuz keeping them happy is a priority of mine as well). But after I tell them to get their drinks ready and I drop this track, everytime the word ROXANNE is said, take a sip of your drink. I like being interactive without being corny which is why i mostly do this with the University of Maryland bars and not so much the clubs. I dont know, you can tell me it sucks you dont like my style, but it is MY style, I enjoy it, and the crowd seems to truly enjoy it. Its how I keep my creativity, keep it fun, and kind of take of that pressure of having to do the 128 to transition to my 70 to up to 85 to my transition to 100 to my transition back to 128 all night…its just like, hey bitch, check this out, and if you don’t like it, i’m sorry, this ones for me. Go spread your YOLO phrases until its over.

  5. The past 3 week I changed up my set. And went back to throwbacks recently. I agree with what JD said it all depends how you present it. Sometimes I cut it in and let the intro play for 8 bars and let the crowd react to it and it was off the roof. Spring said something about hearing the back ground. Intros and how you present it makes more of a different these days for me. It’s definitely been “Fun” having the freedom to do real open format mixing. And yes I have cut down my EDM sets. I’m a resident DJ at a bottle service club. You guys said it, we have set our minds to wait until off peak hours to open up.

  6. I agree with the JD’s point about setting a tone. Setting a tone for open format at the beginning of the night is key if you want to be able to have a bit more programming freedom throughout the night. As most of us know, 5 years ago, the general tone in the bottle service clubs was open format – everything from hip hop to 80’s to rock classics. The mashup era certainly helped to perpetuate this direction and guys like the late DJ AM helped to pioneer this club format and that gradually became the club standard back then.

    Now, the general tone in most bottle service clubs has evolved into a focus on EDM/high energy sets sprinkled with some top 40, which ironically, is the contrary to EDM at the moment – urban & down south hip hop. Like Spring said, most of us all clearly following the same patterns throughout the night to appease our dancefloor – EDM/Uptempo bpm music for 70-80%of the night to keep our club owners/mgrs and house crowd happy and then maybe transition down to knock out your lower bpm hip hop to please your top 40 and non-EDM crowd. I think it’s safe to say that all of us at the bottle service clubs might feel an added pressure to make EDM the focus of our sets – it’s the “cash cow” of music right now so of course club owners and promoters want to get behind this sound 100%. Do I see this format necessarily translate into a packed dance floor every weekend and also KEEP the crowd on the dance floor all night? Certainly not as often as I would like. I still experience certain nights where the dance floor responds better to hip hop/top 40 than EDM as well as crowds that might respond best to old school and classics on particular nights. Open format programming in my eyes is still very much accepted to the average club goer – the risks for some reason just appear to be that much riskier which is why most of us seem to steer clear of going in that direction. I honestly do think if we want to spin open format, the option is certainly there. It’s all about understanding what your crowd wants for that particular night and not feeling pressured to have to pander to a hidden agenda. Just my two cents.

  7. I’m a dj at a popular bottle service club out here in winnipeg manitoba, it’s been over a year now. i was there since it opened and had the pleasure of watching it go from practically empty to wall to wall busy every saturday night. i used to play a good variety of mid 90s to early 2000s hip hop and rnb some house here and there and new hip hop rnb and house as well. Over the last few months management has been coming down on me for playing those classics from mid 90s to early 2000s and getting me to focus more on “current stuff”. to cut to the chase. new stuff really is way to serious and doesn’t get anywhere near as good of a reaction. the crowd isn’t as bubbly as it used to be and i find it less and less fun to dj. people used to loose it when i would play something like o.p.p or return of the mack and i loved finding ways to incorporate things like that into my sets. all this new hip hop comes in at like 70 bpm half these people can’t even dance to the songs they’re requesting. House is getting less and less creative too. huge breakdowns in the middle of songs clears the dance floors. What is happening? really? i’ve been coming to this site off and on for a while now but this video seemed to just sum up everything that is going wrong with music now n days. it needs to become fun again.

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