At a recent Club gig where I had a packed house and a demographic crowd about 25 years younger than I’m used to playing for , I noticed something peculiar ( to me anyway , a veteran of the local club scene) People did not go to the designated area to ” dance” they basically moved to the music where they stood.
It seemed that the dynamics of a nightclub had changed. People did not interact with others outside their group. People did not approach each other to request a dance and agree to walk those long 5 feet to the dancefloor. As an old school DJ seeing this situation was frustrating, since the dance floor defined the DJ , at least in my day.
But this is not “My Day” anymore, it belongs to a the new generation of Club goers.
Eventually the place became so full that the “dancing” began to occur on the actual dance floor, but it got me thinking. To continue in the game, new strategies had to be implemented. Getting people to the dance floor was not as important as taking the dance floor to the people. A reconnaissance of the area’s nightclubs was an “ear opening” experience.
Gone were the smooth, seamless transitions between tracks, replaced by slams and cuts that followed no BPM rules. Fast cuts followed by Low tempo ones with a short scratch in between were the norm. The crowd enthusiastically accepted each track and change in tempo. A typical song was played for a few short minutes and replaced by a new one, usually after the first chorus making me nostalgic for the days of the Extended 12′ versions we sought out.
The DJ was judged by “content” not skill. The music selection was standard radio hits with little to no ” new music” being introduced. Of course I’m not going to stop beat mixing, and I won’t be scratching anytime soon (unless something itches) and I understand that the clubs I visited were not representative of Djing as a whole, but it is important when accepting a new gig to research the area you will be working in.
For the older DJ integrating himself back into the scene it is necessary to put away the old playbook , break a few old habits and take notes from the younger guys.Listen to local radio , no matter how painful that may be. Yes we were all ” Bad Asses” back in our day, but to get back in today takes knowledge both technically and musically and if you aren’t willing to put in the time and only look at the dance floor , you’ll be missing a whole new world happening right outside that area formerly known as the dance floor.
SFDJA Blog’ Alex Gutierrez