I’ve seen quite a few posts recently with various djs complaining about the next generation of djs.
The main thrust of their argument is that technology has taken over from the skills of beatmatching, key matching and the timing of mixing.
So what do I think about this? Well, lets look back 15 years. It was the height of big beat, Daft Punk and Stardust were at the top of their game. House music pretty much ruled the charts. Everyone knew someone with a set of decks. Didn’t matter if they were direct, belt or even hamster-driven, there was one or two people out of each friendship group who either attempted to replicate the famous DJs of the day or had a brother (or indeed sister!) who had a DJ for a mate.
I was one the people who took up djing at this time. There was very little whinging from the previous generation of djs – there could even be said to be a bit of excitement about the newbies starting out on their journey of music-related discovery.
As with every fad, some people stuck at it (myself included), while others sold decks, and moved on to the next thing. The ones who kept going, learnt their craft, made different mistakes from the previous generation, and pushed the boundaries more.
So let’s compare this to the current crop of wannabe DJs. So what’s changed? In a word, the kit that is used now makes the mechanics of djing easier. And I use that phrase carefully. Because its not really what djing is about. The guys who came up with me from 15 or so years ago learnt on vinyl. Then re-learnt for CD. Then re-learnt AGAIN for mp3 and laptops. But how you do it doesn’t matter as much as what’s being put into it by the dj themselves. Djing is about linking your feelings about music, sharing them with others in a big kind of mutual appreciation session.
Very few people get this straight away. It takes time, experience, observation, a great deal of mistakes and a fair bit of self-reflection before you start to spot where you’re going wrong.
We may have learnt the lessons, but those doing it now don’t know them yet. They may not have experienced the same emotional connection yet, but can we really moan when they are just where we were all those years ago?
In conclusion then, we need to give these guys a break. Let them get experience and then see if they stick at it. The ones that do, could well be keepers. So lets not blast them for not knowing what we had to learn ourselves.