Monday, 31 March 2014

Who Needs A Working Cue Button Anyway?!

So for the Saturday just gone I was offered a 2am set time which I was delighted about – instead of warming up an empty garden like I often do, I would have the garden with peak volume of guests to play for…or is that play with?

A 2am set brings new opportunities in the style of music that I want to play but also new challenges – a 3 course meal beforehand probably wasn’t the ideal preparation - I was totally stuffed and I was only vaguely staying awake – were I not DJing then I would have hammered the jagerbombs or something to keep me awake but DJing requires a semblance of sobriety, at least when one is still relatively a beginner and potentially about to have the most important set of my superstar DJ career to date.

Speaking of challenges, nothing is ever straight-forward at Zeusmango so not only were the extra monitor speakers not working by time I was up, one of the CDJs had a non-functioning cue button and the staff kept telling me to turn the volume down, whilst various members of the crowd kept telling me to turn it up.  There were perhaps 30 people outside when I started but mostly sat down – inside was deservedly much busier as my good friend Samantha Bond was tearing the dancefloor apart.

I started with a minimal classic (badly mixed in as I couldn’t work out how to cue it in time without a working cue button, my only dodgy mix) – the M.A.N.D.Y remix of I Feel Space by Lindstrom, and followed it up with the below disturbed beauty by Abe Duque – which someone told me they specifically didn’t like.  I shall definitely play that again – better than playing bland music that nobody notices.

I then gradually took it into more jacking house territory, there were a handful of people dancing and I had various compliments for the music I was playing and I was much more awake – finally I was alive enough to have a little dance myself.  Not a jot of tiredness whilst DJing.

I finished off with a slightly more disco style and this rather understated remix of Donna Summer – I would love to play the original but that won’t happen until I have a full dancefloor.

I did finish with a much busier garden than I started with, hopefully because of the music I played.  I love the music I play anyway – and as someone said to me, “What I love about when you play is that you play what you want, you don’t give a fuck”.

One wonders if I will ever gain enough of a reputation to expand my fledgling DJ career from half-empty gardens and warm-up sets (I do love doing warm-ups – I just wish more people would be there!) – there are clearly two options to get more varied and more numerous DJ bookings – produce or promote.  I don’t have the time to learn how to produce and promoting is a ballache, not to mention a financial risk.  Never say never though.

It is heart-warming to see that there are opportunities for others that have or are doing the Reading circuit – I noticed a ‘disappeared friend’ was DJing out in Miami the week just gone and is clearly doing very well, and the promoter I played for on Saturday has a major UK festival booking.

Granted both are much more accomplished than myself.

Mixmag are following me on Twitter now so they have clearly heard of my brilliance.

I like the randomness of DJing - you don't know what is going to happen.  Dreams can come true...and already have.  I might have new dreams though.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Less CDs

I have been pondering recently as to whether I really needed to take my large quadruple CD wallet when DJing.  It has 2 years of music in over 200 CDs, so around 2,000 tracks to choose from when I get chance to play 20 at most, usually less.

It is especially unpractical when DJing in the tiny box cupboard that is the garden DJ booth at Zeusmango as there is no space at all to rest it and I either have to lay it on the floor and squint in the darkness to see what tracks I have or rest it on my knee.

So I took a more flexible double CD-wallet and only quarter-filled it so it had about 20 CDs at most in.

It was mostly an experiment to see if it made decision-making any easier in terms of choosing which track to play next   It did but I found that I craved more choice, and that I didn’t have enough flexibility in what to play and more importantly enough warm-up tracks to choose from (why did I take so many tech-house/techno tracks for a warm-uo???!).

There is a balance to be found so I need to continue experimenting further.

My set itself went well in terms of mixing and track selection, once I had found the plugs for the CDJs!

I played mostly underground house from the likes of Seb Zito and more underground producers, finishing off on my very favourite track of this year so far – a wonderful 14 minutes long to give me chance to have a dance.

Typically for a warm-up there were very few dancers but I had plenty of compliments and managed to make everyone stop and look when the Tale Of Us remix of Primative People kicked in.  All 15 people.  I do crave a later and busier set.

I have no further sets penned in, I have been asked to do a couple but I until I see my name on a flyer or Facebook event I always class them as potential sets until my name is in writing!

Next priority is to get a new mix out there.  Or two?

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