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Title:I AM A DRUM AND BASS DJ!
Posted On:2010-03-10 23:42:22
Posted By:» Screwhead
So I just had a weird fucking dream, and after waking up, it's like the dream was giving me a message; it wanted me to get something off my chest that's been bothering me for a while now.

I AM A DRUM AND BASS DJ!

Not just any kind of DnB, either;
HARD DnB, AKA Skullstep.

I like dubstep, I've even made a bunch of dubstep tunes and mixes, but that is NOT what I'm into mixing. 99% of every other DnB DJ in the city is suckind dubstep cock for gigs, and I'm part of that one percent that's not going to get down on his knees and follow the fucking trend.

Now don't go mistaking this for an attack on dubstep; it's not. There's some good music coming out of the dubstep camp, but it's not what I'm feeling.

The key word here is FEELING.

I've tried to always play/mix what I am FEELING. I'm not a jukebox standing there to play your favorite tunes or the current trendy style-of-the-year. I've always tried to play what I was feeling.

Much as DJing means playing other people's music, I've never been into it to be just a beatmatching robot; I put myself into a set as much as a guitar player puts themselves into a solo or a singer puts themselves into their lyrics.

When I started mixing, I was into mostly the Trance 'n Bass, some jump-up, and what I called "Big Tunes" (Pendulum, Concord Dawn, really high-energy stuff), and I played that not just because it was music I liked, but because it's how I felt!

Despite having come out of a relationship really bad and being depressed about things, I was still fairly positive and optimistic; I'd discovered a whole new scene and music that I loved, had a ton of new friends, and I was pretty stoned every waking moment. Despite being depressed about some shit in my life, I was still looking up, and it reflected in what I mixed; upbeat feel-good music and huge energetic anthems.

Then some more shit went down, things took a bit of a dip for me; I was living in a stressfull situation, I was poor as hell and could barely afford food and spent every day worrying about how long I was going to be able to live where I was and what I'd do when that ran out..

But I was still smoking weed, still going to see friends, going out to parties and clubs.. I still had some good despite the bad shit that was going down, but the bad took it's toll; I wasn't as into the up-beat, trancy, "happy" DnB anymore. I got into Noisia, Evol Intent, Ed Rush + Optical, The Upbeats; stuff that's still got some energy behind it, but that's decidedly darker than what I used to mix.

Then about 4 years ago shit took a nose-dive; WAY too much stress at home, barely eating 'cause I couldn't afford food, and I ended up wit chrons. At the time no one knew what it was; I went to the ER three times because I thought I was dying, the doctors I saw treated shit like it was all in my head and that if I stopped being stressed out and ate properly it would just "go away".

It went undiagnosed for about 2 1/2 years, and I had to give up EVERYTHING; the food I loved, everything I loved to drink (alcoholic and non), couldn't smoke weed, my gut was too unpredictable to really take gigs (I must have missed about 2/3 of what I was booked for) and the gut unpredictability also kept me from going out (also, almost no one ever fuckin' came over to see me and hang out, watch movies, play videogames, whatever, despite EVERYONE knowing that I couldn't go out because of my health, so THANKS EVERYONE for showing some support for your friend when he needed it most)

So despite being on medication now that the chrons has been diagnosed, that's still the head-space that I'm in, and it's pretty well reflected by what I play and by my bookings; dark, evil, alone, frustrated and pissed off.

Now to take a quick side-step from the main point I'm trying to get to and go on a bit of a tangent (that will eventually weave back into my original point):
I believe that music is a powerful thing. I may be mixing electronic music, but I'm still very much a metalhead at heart, and I've always had a 'goal' or a 'belief' (dunno what would be the proper word to describe it) about musical performances; they have the power to influence people's emotions and their state of mind.

The dark and heavy and evil music I'm into now even more so than what I used to play; like I said I'm a metalhead at heart, and most metal concerts aren't playing radio-friendly, happy, 'safe' music. They play hard, dark and aggresive music. People go crazy and throw themselves at each other in what is essentially a controlled riot.

The music pulls up all their hate, their frustration, their anger, and lets them get rid of it, and at the end of the show, it's like you just stepped out of Fight Club; it feels like everything else in your life got the volume turned down. Nothing matters; you could have someone yelling at you, you don't hear them. For a short period of time, it's like all your anger and aggression has been exorcised from you, and that's what my goal is when I play out.

I don't just want you to dance, I want you to let go. I want you to bring up all your hate, your fears and insecureties, and spend an hour thrashing around like a lunatic, slamming into walls and people, so that by the end of the set you feel like you're about to die; you're exhausted, covered in sweat, sore everywhere, but at the same time you're washed over with a complete feeling of being at one with the universe.. I want you to feel at peace with everyone and everything around you by indulging in your hate and anxieties and aggresiveness and exhausting your supply until you have none of that left.

Anyone that's got a crate full of "big tunes" can just take the easy way out and play some dancefloor smashers and get everyone dancing, hell they don't even have to beatmach shit together, just as long as the follow a 'safe' formula and play what all the blogs are telling them are the hottest thing around and not take any risks.

Cheezy mid-range lead, two-step beat, BLAM you've set the dancefloor on fire, playing the exact same thing every other DJ that plays your style is playing.

Any DJ can take the easy way out and set a dancefloor on fire, but I've never been into the 'easy' way of doing things, and my goal isn't as simple as "I want everyone to dance and have a good time".. I mean yes, I do want people to dance and have a good time, but that's not my main goal. My main goal is to do what no one else is doing, to play what no one else is playing, and to give you something that no other DJ can give you; release.

Release from your stress, your anxieties, your frustrations.. not just a one-night-only escape; I don't want you to excape anything. I want you to confront your dark side. I want you to let the beast we've all got gnawing away in the dark recesses of our minds loose. I want you to stop repressing your dark and aggresive emotions and indulge. Let loose. Go fucking crazy. FEEL something that you normaly don't let yourself feel, indulge it, revel in it, and get it out of your system.

It's amazing how scared people are of those feelings, but it's something we all have. Everyone has a dark side, and it's usually repressed; it's the unwanted family member you hide in the basement when your friends come over; you just put on your smile and pretend it doesn't exist, but it's there, and it's chipping away at you whether you realise it or not, and if you don't let it out to play once in a while, eventually it'll come out when you don't want it to.

So, back to what I'd started off with:

I AM A DRUM AND BASS DJ.

I'm not a dubstep DJ, I'm not a breaks DJ, I'm not an electro DJ, I'm not a fidget DJ.

I look at lineups for nights and parties, and all I see anymore week in, week out, is the same DJs playing the same styles of music that everyone else is playing, and I know I'm not getting a booking there; I don't "fit", I'm not "club-friendly", and honestly, that's just the way I like it.

Would I love to have more gigs? Fuck yeah. But I see so many DnB and hardcore DJs switching off to dubstep, electro, breaks, fidget, and that's what they're all playing.. and if that's what they're really FEELING (there's that word again), sure, go for it!

But let's face it; everyone and their dog is into dubstep, fidget or electro these days. It's what's "expected" at clubs now. It's all about what the blogs are telling you is the Next Hot Thing that you're going to hear at next week's iPod battle, where you can watch people that shouldn't be alowed to go shopping for their own clothes tell you what they think the next hottest tunes are and that if you're not playing their style, you're not cool.

Well, fuck that. I'm not cool, and I'm not getting down on my knees just for a few more gigs.

I've never been about fame, I've never been about money; I'm all about staying true to yourself and bringing people something they're not going to get from 99% of the other DJs out there; passion.

I don't mix with my brain, I mix with my soul, and it's dark and lonely as hell in there.