Last night a DJ saved my life (or did they?)
Here’s a strange thing.
In a time when bands get paid little for playing live, have their music downloaded for free from the internet and are struggling to survive, a bloke (an it’s nearly always blokes) is getting paid through the roof to play bits of music made by someone else.
I guess that’s capitalism for you and a case of supply and demand and there is a great skill for a great DJ…people like Mike Pickering and to a certain extent Graeme Park in Manchester started a youthquake when they were the first to play acid house records at the Hacienda, people like Greg Wilson who was ground breaking in turning people onto electro in Manchester, people like Andy Weatherall not only consistently play great sets of tunes that push forward the boundaries but also went and made ground breaking records like Primal Scream’s ‘Screamadelica’. Jimmy Saville, who invented the modern DJ, created whole scene around the disc jockey in Manchester in the sixties.
Hip hop DJs who scratch the records and play the breakbeats are stunning and a whole host of great DJs have earned their space in pop culture… I guess what we are talking about are the ‘wedding DJs’ the chancers who play the same old hits and coast under the banner of somehow being hip.
There is a certain skill to pushing the ebb and flow of the dancefloor but there are also a lot of chancers who play the same old hits over and over again and they are not even their hits!
Bands consistently get slated for relying on the past, touring with greatest hits sets but no-one ever seems to mention the DJs that do the same and it’s not even their hits that they are playing and most of the time without any skill or effort to mix the tracks- just a lazy slapping on of the Jackson 5 by the wedding DJ. Of course if they pack a venue out they should get paid accordingly….but what do you think? do you think that apart from the elite who really change youth culture or the DJ’s who create amazing music of their own the rest of them are pretty lucky? do you think the DJ is the prime mover of pop culture in the 21st century? or that the DJ is pushing the culture forward or that there is a clutch of innovators and loads of followers or do you think fair enough?