• James Hewlett

God Is A DJ or God Is Dead

Last night before we went into the gig we were sat having a drink with Mitchell and a couple of his friends, they seemed like cool people and I could instantly tell these were the sort of people we'd get on with. I was honestly surprised that Sara didn't already know them from her Bournemouth days. They weren't going to the show but started talking about going out afterward.

That hadn't ever been a consideration for any of us until that point, but when it came up we all kind of got an itch and thought fuck it why not.

So after the show we headed to the alternative club that has been a mainstay in Bournemouth (under a couple of different names) for, well, ever.

We are most definitely too old for that shit and knew we would be before even getting there but we figured that once everyone else who was at the gig got there too it would end up being a nostalgia trip and turn out to be a fun night.

Don't get me wrong, it was fun. We had a dance, we rocked out, we sat and judged the young people, all the good things you do when you're out out.

I was driving though so I wasn't drinking at that point of the night and unfortunately, if I'm not drunk but I'm in a nightclub, due to years of doing it professionally and I would like to think to a fairly high standard I cannot help myself but judge, knit-pick and tear apart the DJ.

This girl was trying hard, and honestly everything I say should be thrown out the window because she looked like she was having fun. I've come to the realisation and understanding that that is a job you should only do if you are loving it every night you work.

If you stop loving what you're playing you'll stop discovering new stuff and fall onto the same routines and it will eventually become so dull for you that it will leak through and the nights will suffer.

I could go deeper into my thoughts on why I stopped when I did and when I think Jon should have stopped but that's not the point of this post. No, this is way less self reflective and more knit-picking.

She didn't have headphones.... that was my first huge red flag. She was using an hold landline headset held up to her ear to cue up the next track. It was so obviously a gimmick and it frustrated me more than it should have.

What it conveyed to me though straight away was both a positive and a negative. The positive was that she wasn't using a programme to auto-mix for her. The negative was that she wasn't really making any attempt to mix at all, she'd occasionally bring the bpm up or down to match that of the song she was playing next, or should I say the bpm that whatever she was using to play the tracks had read it as, but would pretty much just wait for one to end and then start the next song. Mitchell's friends were amazed that I was calling not just what would be played next but what the exact bpm was of the current song playing. That was part of the problem though, it was all so obvious.

Now, don't get me wrong, I DJ'd rock nights for a long time and a lot of the time you don't really have to mix much at all, but you should transition between songs and sub-genres smoothly, not play Fall Out Boy into Abba into Good Charlotte into Justin Bieber. That is, was, a surefire way to murder your dance floor.

I got to the point where I was DJing out loud by saying what I was play, how I would sample it it, bring it out, play something else then loop back round to a the other track, all during one song she was playing and people were digging it.

The thing that gave me comfort was when I'd been venting all these and more frustrations, in an entertaining way, to Sara I concluded that, as long as there was in fact a pair of headphones somewhere in that DJ booth, I could have got in there and used whatever equipment and music collection was there and done a better job of it on no notice whatsoever. I really don't mean to sound big headed when I say that. I haven't DJ'd more than a one off gig in four years but I know I could still have done a better job than that... I just don't want to.

#djing #music #nightlife #rant #critical

©2017 by James Hewlett.