Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Last Dance?

Out Magazine's October 2007 issue hit a nerve with me. Specifically, one of the articles details the death of "the Circuit." As a DJ who fell in love with dance music around 2000, this article taps into a lot of the unspoken anxiety and frustration I've had about the Circuit and current dance scene. On the Circuit side of things, I'm of the opinion that promoters have reaped what they've sown -- from booking the same DJs for every event, tacit promotion of drug use and uninspired music, the Circuit is facing many of the same challenges I think the music industry as a whole has been facing.

That said, while the Circuit had some major flaws, there are many reasons why I fell in love with the music and had many magical experiences while I was there. When done well, dance music has a power to transport you to magical places. A DJ can lead you from the world you know to a beautiful world of possibilities. That's always been my ideal and what I shoot for when I play.

On the flip side, since I've been in the booth, its been clear that crowds today are different from the crowds I had been a part of on the dance floor. As the article recounts, younger gay audiences are expecting more mainstream music -- hip hop and electro -- which, quite frankly, is just not my cup of tea. I've faced this question myself -- do you abandon the music you love in order to please the crowd? While I've always believed that a DJ has to walk the line between giving the crowd things they know and love as well as satisfying yourself as a DJ, in my own experience, the rewards to feeding at the crowd at the expense of yourself are pretty hollow. At the end of the day you end up feeling like a monkey on a string... "Play my song now, DJ Monkey! No, not that mix, DJ Monkey, I want the original! Everybody hates the music you're playing, DJ Monkey! Jump through the hoop, DJ Monkey!" My solution was to let my club owner know that it would be better for everyone if we brought in DJs who enjoyed playing the type of music the crowd wants. Honestly, I still stand by that decision and I think its the best one.

As the dance scene goes through this transition, I can't help but wonder if there's a place for me somewhere. As time has passed, rather than trying to evolve in the direction things seem to be going, I've become less and less willing to move in that direction. I've tried to settle on my own style, music that I love and that makes me feel good... but I don't know if that's enough. Maybe I've fallen in love with something whose time has passed. Maybe all my work has been for nothing. I don't have any answers.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home