Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Just How Good Was Friday?

The last couple of Dark Matter nights had been pretty quiet, especially July.  I had put it down to the time of year – no students around, holiday/festival season and the warm weather not enticing people to basements.

All of these factors were still in place last Friday so I expected another quiet night.

I was less prepared than ever.  I had a load of boxes behind my decks so couldn’t be bothered to move them for practice, not to mention my free time was required for cleaning my old house last Friday, prior to DJing.  I had no broadband still so couldn’t download the new tunes from the last couple of months of tube-digging.

And then the warm-up DJ didn’t turn up so I went on for the first hour, except I mostly only had house music with me.  I did have a few minimal CDs but ended up playing quite a few tracks I’d played before – a couple of shaky mixes too.  I did slowly get into it and something seemed rather odd – despite having initially cleared the room of the 10 people I found upon arrival, people were coming downstairs and staying.  Despite my minimal.  And many of them were pretty young ladies too.

It isn’t a party unless you have gays, blacks and hot women.  Fact.  All boxes were ticked by 11pm.

I had quite a few people talk to me whilst DJing, including some cute eastern European girls who were in a nice way asking for something they could dance to.  I asked them in a nice way to be patient.  They left.

I also had an exceptionally pretty, tall blonde girl come up to me and ask “Can I dance with you?”.  Well, of course I mumbled in a why the fuck is she dancing with me kind of way.  I appreciate I am brilliant and beautiful but I have limits.  Then I clocked on that she was just trying to make her boyfriend jealous so I quickly high-fived him.

Towards midnight, Samantha and Bowler came on and did an unplanned back-to-back which was really quite excellent.  They crowd loved it, the cute eastern European girls came back, Sam and Bowler pushed it more in a techno direction than I think anyone else has done for us (we are not talking Surgeon/Perc kind of techno but ballsy enough) and it stayed busy.  Until it got too hot.

Ahhhh, the bain of my life.  Yes the fucking air conditioning stopped working.  After 10 minutes we eventually found a manager to come and take a look and it came back on.  The crowd was probably a third of what it was previously but it soon built back up and became busy again.

Myself and Martin then did a back-to-back to bring it to a close, with an unexpected cameo from Pete Wheeler and it remained reasonably busy, though I didn’t really have much in the way of tough music to play, and there was no way I was going to play house music at the 129pm which I inherited, so I felt that I had to bring down the pace.  Again I was unprepared and ended up playing tracks I’d played before.

It definitely wasn’t my best set, it was just good enough, but the night itself was my favourite so far, I enjoyed it a heck of a lot, and it was exciting to see how busy it was.

I was actually quite touched at the end when a very cute Polish girl came up to me and said how surprised she was that we played that kind of music here, that she hardly ever gets to go out and how much it meant to her.  That is why I love DJing.

I cannot wait for the next one – I hope you are going to join us.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Things That Can Be Done Whilst Mixing

My hero, Ricardo Villalobos got a slating whilst DJing at Cocoon In The Park, mostly by the Carl Cox fan-boys for not doing enough on the decks - for doing his camp little dance, for not constantly twiddling the mixer knobs and for having the temerity to pour himself a drink rather than have a skivvy do it for him.

I am of the school that you should let the music tell the story - who cares if you can crab-scratch on 3 decks whilst doing a handstand?  Not that I am suggesting Carl Cox does many handstands.  It is of course, horses for courses - I prefer Ricardo's style from Carl's by a country length - but I wouldn't boo Carl Cox for his preferred style.

So it got me thinking, what else can I do whilst DJing?

I recently recorded a minimal techno mix (cheap plug alert) - 3.5 hours long with several of the songs being of the 10 or so minute-long variety.

Firstly I had a shower.  The track was mixed in, the next track was cue'd up and I had 8 minutes left.  It wasn't the longest shower ever but enough to clean myself and my mullet.

I also brushed my teeth and had a shave, but these don't take too long.

I later then had opportunity to make myself a bacon and egg sandwich whilst one of the tracks was playing.  I did have to rush upstairs once the food was ready for the next mix (I had a timer on my phone), and by time I came down, the pitta bread that was under the recently switched-off but still-warm grill had got slightly burnt, but it was a pretty good breakfast.

It did take a couple more mixes until I finished eating it.

I mistakenly took a phone call with just 3 minutes of a track left, and had to call back the person on the pretence that someone was at the door.  I then had 6 minutes before the next mix to discuss the room that I was looking to rent.

Later on I then started cleaning my kitchen.  This wasn't so successful as I would lay the spray and then go upstairs to mix, then come downstairs and scrub - I cleaned about half of the work surfaces and also did the washing up - two loads.

I did manage to arrange going out for lunch and a few other bits and bobs.  I had intending on doing my ironing but I unfortunately plugged my decks to the only plug socket where the iron and board can fit in the room.

And I think it is my best-ever DJ mix.

I would be interested to know what you can do whilst having a mix.  Apart from the obvious like drugs and blow jobs.