Monday, 29 December 2014

Final DJ Set Of 2014

I cannot say that I was particularly up for DJing after a 6 hour journey back from Hull, arriving home to find no electricity downstairs, no lighting upstairs, a freezing cold house and no internet.  I was not amused.

However a few drinks and a practice mix with my very good friend, JP, I was motivated once more.

I had a feeling that it wouldn’t be very busy, and so it proved.  It was the antithesis of a sardine tin.

I took over from my aforementioned friend at 11pm to play to myself, initially, and took it down from a tech-house sound to more of a rounded house sound.  A few people arrived, however I decided to notch the tempo down a bit and play some deep house (the original kind, not the chart stuff), before bringing it back to house – it was a practice in warming up the crowd as it was totally pointless to bang it out to 15 people.

When I finished, I received a fair few compliments, people liked my music.  Which doesn’t surprise me.  I can tell my confidence in my mixing is growing too.

I then had a second set in the garden, a rather cold garden, again following a tech-house set.  As I had a few potential dancers, I continued to keep the music upbeat however as soon as the garage music inside swiftly ended, my potential dancers went inside never to return, and I was just playing to a handful of shisha pipe smokers – or in reality – just to myself.  There was no competing with the indoor warmth.

So I changed tack and drifted towards some minimal, playing this below beauty.

I then decided to go into my own world and just play some Villalobos tracks, and as soon as I had cued up the first, the bouncer came over and gave me the throat-slitting sign, which I presumed was my signal to cut the music as opposed to any particular upcoming danger to my wellbeing.

I enjoyed it and people enjoyed my music which is more important.  It was a practice in playing to an empty room which is no bad thing - playing to an empty room is far more difficult than playing to a full dancefloor.

Next up I am back at the Purple Turtle which will be interesting as it falls in my detox month – provisionally Friday 20th February though still to be confirmed.

See you there and please follow my Mixcloud/Facebook pages – there will be a new mix out soon.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Purple Turtle Aftermath

It’s been 3 months since my previous DJ set.  I was a tad downhearted about the situation but at the same time not overly fussed – my recent priority has been studying as opposed to DJing.  DJing costs money, needs a lot of preparation and brings a hangover – totally incompatible with trying to study JavaScript.

Part of me was wondering why I was bothering to try to be a DJ, I even vaguely considered giving up the dream - yet I spend all day listening to new music, dreaming of playing and what reactions certain tracks would get.

So I couldn’t refuse the offer to DJ for two of my absolute most favourite people in the whole world.  Let’s face it – if it weren’t for Martin & JP giving me an opportunity and still believing in me, I would still be scratching around trying to persuade someone to give me a set.

And it was in the basement of the newly-refurbished Purple Turtle.  The mixer still didn’t have any missing knobs, the CDJs worked (2000’s no less) and the soundsystem was more than decent enough for the venue.  Things worked!  Other clubs take note.

Martin & JP did the first hour – I remember the times that I used to go support them but couldn't stand their music.  I was most impressed and a tiny bit surprised at just how underground their music was.  I was planning on playing some techno but I couldn't follow 120bpm underground house with Marcel Dettmann.

So I started my set with some proper deep house – I like to plan and practice my first two tracks to make sure I have that confidence boost for the rest of the set – I had two different beginnings planned, I wish I had had a third!  I didn't even practice my more underground music.

The rest was off the cuff – a fair proportion of the tracks I had played when practicing during the week before – a few I had played back in August.  But there was no plan as such in place.

There was quite a crowd of dancers that JP & Martin had built up – I did lose a few after a while so decided to dig out a little 80’s surprise in the below form:

I followed that by the deliciously dark After Dark by &ME – one of my favourite tracks of the year.

Much of the rest of my two-hour set I went into house-mode, quite jacking at times with some glimpses of musical recognition for the crowd – and I managed to sneak in some warm-up Sven-style techno, including Get Together by Gary Beck – my favourite tune of the moment.

I am really happy with my mixing – I do recall one reasonably bad mix, though it was more a case of a bad timed fade – the 2000’s do seem to be easy to beatmatch on.  But apart from that I thought I showed more confidence and ideas than previously – cutting tracks and teasing the crowd occasionally, dropping out the bass, playing two tracks in full at once with different EQs, etc.  I tried things that I normally only have the confidence to do at home.  And they worked.

There was a second set too though lots of beer had flowed by this point.  I sent it about as dark as I thought I could get away with.  Overall I played for probably not far off 3 hours.  And loved every single minute of it.

Nobody told me to turn it down, nobody told me to turn it up, nobody asked me to play Prodigy - though one girl did tell me my music was boring.  I told her I love boring music.  I did have to tell one rather hard-looking dreadlocked dude that there was no MCing tonight.  He gave me a short glare but I stood my ground.

Being self-critical that I am, I do feel that I tried to play too many of my favourite tunes and too many differing styles of music though I am probably being overly harsh.

I wanted to see what people would dance to – and they would dance to pretty much anything – minimal, techno, dark and light music – though particularly the more jacking style of house music that a large proportion of my music was.  I even flipped a couple of tracks into reverse for a bit – they still danced.

I think probably because I haven't played for 3 months and I had so much different music to play, I did find it more difficult than usual to stick to one style - the lesson I learnt was that I need to work on my set-building technique - something quite glaringly obviously to me when put together with just how brilliantly JP & Martin had put together their set.

Hopefully there is not only the potential for the night itself to be a regular occurrence, but also for me to play for them again.

I know I am biased but I really think something special could grow down there.

If you don't already then please do follow me on Mixcloud and/or Facebook to make me look more popular so I get more bookings ;-)   And more importantly please follow my friends at Dark Matter to find out when the next event is.

That should be enough arse-licking to get another set ;-)

Monday, 30 June 2014

I Didn't Have A Title For This Blog Post But I Do Now

The last time I DJ’d I was shocking.  I properly train-wrecked at least 3, probably 4 mixes – granted I was off my face, I couldn’t even see the decks at one point and I still had a fair few compliments (or platitudes) but I was pretty miffed with myself.

Saturday was time to make amends.

I did have a few questions in the run-up though:

1. Am I actually any good?
2. Will I ever make any progress?
3. Do I actually love it enough to keep going?

Due to my previous mess-up, I practiced more than usual, I was well-prepared, focused and perhaps most importantly – sober (bar a couple of beers).

The night was a hard house night, but I was in the house-orientated garden, playing at 230am after Samuel El-Calor who I expected to play a few BPM faster than I usually would so I decided to play quite dark and techy to begin with at a rather fast paced 126BPM (well it is fast for me anyway), starting with Alan Fitzpatrick’s Skeksis, and moving onto this monster remix from Maceo Plex:

The first 4-5 tracks of mine were rather dark in nature and I don’t think the crowd were especially into it so I switched to some very danceable house music, dropping the BPM to 124, such as this bouncy beauty that Sven has been hammering:

I had three goals in mind whilst DJing, firstly to have fun, secondly to make sure the promoter, JP, told me that he loved it, and thirdly to get the hot Spanish girl that was sat down to dance (I assume she was Spanish – her tan looked real and she had one side of her hair shaved short, which is as Spanish as paella, at least it was in Ibiza last year).

All three goals were achieved – she danced, I had a hell of a lot of fun and danced the way through my set (or at least bobbed up and down at the beginning) and JP loved it enough to sing along with me to this below track – which was the peak of my enjoyment.

Thankfully I did really well - one of my best sets.

It being Zeus it wasn’t without a hitch – the play button on one of the CDJs was sticky and would therefore pause the track occasionally, it only happened whilst cueing up at first thankfully, but it happened repeatedly during the above track – perhaps it disagreed with the lyrics.

So I have answers to my questions:

1. Am I actually any good?  I can be as long as I practice and can see the decks.
2. Will I ever make any progress?  Probably not but having fun and playing good music is what matters.
3. Do I actually love it enough to keep going?  Hell yes.

I am not exactly being overloaded with bookings this year so I have no idea when my next set will be.  Most important to me right now is getting a new mix complete and uploaded, but if any promoters are reading then I am available.

Please do follow my page for my latest music discoveries and various other titbits.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

DJ Goals

I’ve been thinking about what I most would like to do as a DJ over the next year or so.

I shall keep it realistic as I don’t think my reputation is yet sufficient enough to be getting booked for the terrace in Amnesia.  One day I will be as good a DJ as Paris Hilton.

I want musical challenges, I love playing house music but I will get booked for other house music nights at some point so here is my wish-list:

1. Do a full-on disco set, mostly 70’s but also 80’s and more modern disco too.  Mixing stuff like Fern Kinney with Prins Thomas.

2. Do a full-on techno set.  128+BPM – hammer it out.  Somewhere kind of in between Nina Kraviz, Chris Liebing and Ben Klock.

3. Do an electro set, a mix of 80’s and mid-2000’s – think Ladytron, Depeche Mode, Fischerspooner.

4. Do a slow house set – no higher than 115bpm – would probably need to be outside, sunny and daytime – or at 4am.

5. Have my own weekly residency where I can play whatever music I like.  Though that would be a massive commitment.

I appreciate this is a slight tangent, but you can find a picture of almost any land-based animal DJing on Google.  Anyway, back to something relevant and less interesting. 

I am not exactly being bowled over with offers for DJ sets right now, though due to unfortunate timing I have had to turn down two DJ sets recently, one that I would absolutely love to have done, the other was very appealing too.

I have never asked promoters to give me a set, I am still deluded enough to think that I will be “discovered”.

However for most of the above goals, I do need to make these happen myself and not wait for them to happen.

Whether that be contacting promoters or even maybe promoting a night myself to be able to play such a set – if anyone fancied being a joint-promoter to do a (probably one-off) disco, techno, slow-house or electro night, I could be up for it.

I am going to set a plan into action and make sure at least two of the above happen this year.

Please follow me on Mixcloud if you don't already.