Being a DJ isn’t always about playing in clubs or living a raucous nightlife. There is another, less understood, side of the art of DJing that can best be exemplified by this year’s Grammy winner, Aphex Twin. Having taken the award for Best Dance/Electronic Album, this reclusive musical genius didn’t even venture out of his solitude to claim his own award.
It is said that he hasn’t even been spotted out and about in public in years and years. So if this is being a DJ, in its purest sense, how is it that we view the breed as the life of a party and at the centre of all the action?
From a historical perspective, the term DJ referred to someone who kept the records playing. A DJ, short for Disc Jockey, was the person hired for parties, or on the air, to play all the latest hits to laugh, sing, cry and dance to. This concept evolved to a whole new genre of music as electronic music made its way onto the music scene. DJs began ‘scratching’ records to make beats out of current tunes with a wa-wa repetitive effect. Ah, but the evolution didn’t stop there.
From a Mere Disk Jockey to Talented Musicians
It didn’t take long before DJs began making their own beats and writing their own musical pieces. No longer were they relegated to the backstage as the guys hired to keep the music pumping at parties, clubs and dances. They were now making a name for themselves in the world of music and as the art form continued to evolve, video was added into the mix as well.
Don’t Like Crowds? Imagine This
Even if your dislike of crowds is not quite on a level with Aphex, you still may prefer just to stay in your studio with your state-of-the-art DJ equipment making your own beats and writing your own scores. That’s cool, thousands of other aspiring DJs are in the same league and every one of you has a chance to be renowned in your field as well. Imagine taking the award for:
• Best Producer
• Best Remix
• Best Album
• Best Label
• Best Compilation
And the list goes on. Of course, it is probably much more difficult to make a name for yourself without ever stepping foot in a club, but stranger things have happened. The point being made is that the art of being a DJ has taken on a whole new meaning and has become, for all intents and purposes, a sub-genre within the electronic scene. Is a DJ a DJ or is he a musician? Well, both actually. You decide.
So, where can a DJ go if he doesn’t want to go? Why straight to the top of course! All it takes is some sophisticated DJkit equipment, a bunch of talent and of course, the time and energy to pursue his dream.
Photo by Paolo Margari