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View Full Version : Can you be a DJ and not own a label or make music?



outraygeous
09-03-2011, 04:12 PM
Just a question I would like to put out there, seems like most people who make music are now DJs

and there doesn't seem to be just djs any more. Obviously I dont know or see everything that is happening in all the scenes but would be interesting to hear what thoughts you have.

BareBones
09-03-2011, 04:36 PM
yeah but you have to be bloody good and/or have a bit of luck, and kind of be within the scene already.

eg, petchy

continuum
09-03-2011, 05:32 PM
it's very hard to make money off being a pure DJ, lets hope it stays that way.

Big Nose
09-03-2011, 05:50 PM
Youngsta.

He's released one or two things but thats only in the last few years and he doesn't run a label even though he's closely linked with Tempa.

Leo
09-03-2011, 05:56 PM
how about some of the rinse guys...marcus nasty? supa d? kismet? oneman just started a label, right?

Sectionfive
09-03-2011, 06:06 PM
Oneman and BenUFO, not a release a between them and they are miles ahead of the others.
In fact both were central to dubstep etc moving to where it is now.

I don't particularly like the trend of people getting booked soley on the back of their tunes the last few years.
Producing gets you gigs quicker these days but I've seen plenty who very disappointing when they got behind the decks of a packed club.

Sick Boy
09-03-2011, 06:21 PM
Producing gets you gigs quicker these days but I've seen plenty who very disappointing when they got behind the decks of a packed club.

Agreed. I think part of the reason why dubstep didn't really take off in Toronto earlier (i.e. pre-Rusko days) is because virtually every single DJ was a producer-DJ. This usually means that a large percentage of what they play is their own shit, and their friends' shit. When a genre is just taking off, this is particularly annoying to someone who picked up Dubstep Allstars and really just wants to hear Skream and Digital Mystikz. There is always an element of self-promotion in producer-DJ sets, a kind of product placement, that, for me, can take away from the experience. The worst was when Loefah played here and just about played a set of exclusively Loefah tunes.

pantha
09-03-2011, 06:34 PM
The worst was when Loefah played here and just about played a set of exclusively Loefah tunes.

wouldn't complain about that!

trizla
09-03-2011, 07:12 PM
I think at the moment its hard for anyone to be just a Dj.
You could say that most of the Djs mentioned were kind of pioneers in their respective scenes.
Now as a Dj you have to have a bit more about you especially if you want bookings. With the all the software and such thats out now beatmatching now is easier than ever and even though that's not all being a dj is about the majority of promoters don't really business.
So yeah you need to be producing your own bits, run a label and have access to material no one else has or be able to bring a shit load of people to a dance.

outraygeous
09-03-2011, 07:31 PM
This was pretty interesting, the article and then the comments

http://www.xlr8r.com/podcast/2010/05/ben-ufo

Sectionfive
09-03-2011, 07:49 PM
frankly why would I pay to see someone go and play other people's music.

Clearly clueless there but this always baffles me.
Why would anyone ever have this attitude when other peoples music is so great?

Anon must one of those lads that stands it the top of the room looking at the dj all night.

Aww Nein
09-03-2011, 10:09 PM
Oneman and BenUFO, not a release a between them .

but they both run labels (502 and Hessle respectively)

sorry to be penickity :-)

Sectionfive
09-03-2011, 11:24 PM
Id still put DJ before label boss for either though.
Though it doesn't make any less true I suppose.

Slothrop
10-03-2011, 08:37 AM
Clearly clueless there but this always baffles me.
Why would anyone ever have this attitude when other peoples music is so great?

I'm forever being shocked at the weird stuff that people come out with re DJs. It's like when you have 'vinyl vs digital mixing' arguments and people complain that someone mixing on a laptop is "boring to watch"....

Elijah
10-03-2011, 11:59 AM
EZ is the obvious big one that springs to mind.

Being a label boss is part of being a DJs job though really.

My contribution to Grime music is null and void without Butterz

outraygeous
10-03-2011, 12:24 PM
EZ made tunes, I think the first 4 intros were with the help of Paul Z

But yeah he is a DJ over producer/label owner

alot of these DJs who are DJs over anything else have been in the scene for a while. What about for the young'ns who want to play music? do they have a can to get noticed just for dj skills alone?

UFO over easy
10-03-2011, 12:33 PM
it wasn't that much easier back in the day

andy c, grooverider and randall made tunes

ron hardy and lil louis made tunes

hint
10-03-2011, 01:09 PM
TIM WESTWOOD, BABY (does one production credit for London Posse nearly 25 years ago count?)

There are plenty of DJs out there making a living without releasing tunes or running labels. They just don't get written about or hyped. They're the ones holding down residencies in places that you'd never go to.

alex
10-03-2011, 01:20 PM
yea I was gonna say, what do you define by 'making it' i know DJ's that play week in week out in pubs in ilford/woodford etc, fair enough they arent in xlr8r etc but they pull in a decent wage, some of the plusher shoe's shirt type event dj's comfortably live off what they get paid.

Alfons
10-03-2011, 01:30 PM
I've actually been pondering the opposite lately, how many people run/own labels and/or make music just to get dj gigs and whether or not it's honest to be doing those things just with dj gigs in mind.

As far as labels go I mean is the whole shtick about there "being so much good music out there that people aren't hearing" true today as far as labels go? Does the world need more labels? Will you unearth hidden gems or sign quality stuff if you just start out as an unknown guy who really wants more dj gigs?

hint
10-03-2011, 01:39 PM
I think you're reading too much into it - comes up quite often on Dissensus, I think, this kind of second-guessing peoples' motivations in music.

DJs start labels because they think they'll be good at it. If they didn't think they were good at picking tracks people might like, they wouldn't be DJing, would they? It's a natural fit. If you DJ for a while and talk to people, sooner or later you will be passed some unsigned music that you think should be released.

It certainly doesn't make much financial sense to start a label just to get more gigs.

tom lea
10-03-2011, 03:07 PM
it doesn't make financial sense to start a label full stop. ;)

benjybars
10-03-2011, 03:10 PM
There are plenty of DJs out there making a living without releasing tunes or running labels. They just don't get written about or hyped. They're the ones holding down residencies in places that you'd never go to.


yep.

especially true in suburbs / outside of big cities

outraygeous
10-03-2011, 03:39 PM
Yeah thats true, DJ X-Ray from Harrow Yates seems to be doing alright

continuum
10-03-2011, 05:47 PM
can you be a DJ if you also run a blog? I'm a DJ first but my blog has got me more coverage. I'd even say that posting on forums over my blog being the thing I do most. A forum poster isn't the greatest career choice but still :p

outraygeous
10-03-2011, 05:59 PM
I think the blog/dj thing is linked now. Popular bloggers could potentially get more bookings from it

I remember a DJ called Prancehall who got alot of play-outs in the grime thing

slackk
10-03-2011, 08:44 PM
Prancehall was a great DJ though

benjybars
10-03-2011, 09:20 PM
yeah what happened to him?

he used to post on here a bit years ago

his blog was pretty funny aswell. and the archives of his blog were an interesting bit of history from the 04/05 grime/dubstep/fwd crossover period..

Dr Awesome
10-03-2011, 10:24 PM
How can you be a DJ and not wear a hat while mixing?
How can you be a DJ and not wear plaid shirts?

All these questions constantly spin around my head.

leamas
10-03-2011, 10:38 PM
Jimmy Saville.

I actually can't think of a single other example.

Edit: although he definitely wore a hat and / or plaid shirt while mixing.

outraygeous
11-03-2011, 09:43 AM
I saw in the metro about the butterz crew

'fans-turned bloggers-turned leading djs'

they called grime 'avant garde' aswell

i saw prancehall play a few times, maybe i caught him on off days

continuum
11-03-2011, 06:38 PM
Prancehall got sucked up by Vice Magazine and now no one gives a fuck about him its really very simple

Elijah
11-03-2011, 07:35 PM
or just doesnt like or care about grime anymore.

jimitheexploder
11-03-2011, 08:25 PM
can you be a DJ if you also run a blog? I'm a DJ first but my blog has got me more coverage. I'd even say that posting on forums over my blog being the thing I do most. A forum poster isn't the greatest career choice but still :p

lol I'm also in this game and I'm starting to get more interest for sets. Just started doing one of our radio shows on Hivemind too hopefuly that will help too. I'd be well up for more bookings and forum postings, wait...

luka
12-03-2011, 12:18 AM
i listened to a prancehall mix once. it was shit. sloppy and jarring and wacky, like grime acappellas over kylie insrumentals like some timmy malley childrens entertainer, balloon-manipulating, whoopee cushion guy.

Phaedo
12-03-2011, 03:08 PM
Joe Nice is another name who has managed to do it. Only really down to the fact he knows and gets tunes off pretty much all the original dubstep crowd.

benjybars
12-03-2011, 03:23 PM
Joe Nice is another name who has managed to do it. Only really down to the fact he knows and gets tunes off pretty much all the original dubstep crowd.

yeah true. and it must have been even more difficult him being so far away from the scene he was pushing..

joe.dfx
14-03-2011, 09:49 PM
JOE NICE.

he is the only example of this imo.

no label, no production, just strictly DJing.

Dr Awesome
15-03-2011, 04:49 AM
JOE NICE.

he is the only example of this imo.

no label, no production, just strictly DJing.

HA, but I've found him wearing a plaid shirt!

http://www.gourmetbeats.com/images/joenice54.jpg

Next.

unknown soulja
15-03-2011, 12:03 PM
i listened to a prancehall mix once. it was shit. sloppy and jarring and wacky, like grime acappellas over kylie insrumentals like some timmy malley childrens entertainer, balloon-manipulating, whoopee cushion guy.

His Anger is a Gift mixtape was decent (managed to get vado and busy signal on a Lewi White instrumental which is pretty good going in my books).

http://www.dubstepforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=26220

gumdrops
15-03-2011, 12:15 PM
what about radio djs like semtex? i think if youre doing radio you prob dont need to do a label or make music cos you have the added platform of being on the air. though if semtex did have a label it would prob conflict with bbc rules to play his labels music all the time. then again gilles peterson has brownswood doesnt he? though i dont listen to his show enough to know how much of that he plays.

mms
15-03-2011, 02:29 PM
what about radio djs like semtex? i think if youre doing radio you prob dont need to do a label or make music cos you have the added platform of being on the air. though if semtex did have a label it would prob conflict with bbc rules to play his labels music all the time. then again gilles peterson has brownswood doesnt he? though i dont listen to his show enough to know how much of that he plays.

semtex works for def jam uk and has worked for a number of majors.

gumdrops
15-03-2011, 02:57 PM
so basically if you work in music, and esp if you are a dj, you are likely to be a game playing, self promoting, nepotistic bastard with low regard for already blurry ethics (or its just bloody hard to really be ethical).

alex
15-03-2011, 02:59 PM
Funnily enough thatís how Iím listed in the yellow pages.

gumdrops
15-03-2011, 03:13 PM
its not easy though - youre trying to make a living and get your finger in lots of pies so its only natural its going to get a bit messy. though i dont think many people are that conflicted about it, and perhaps it can appear to be knowingly messier than it really is (though it can be that too - i dont think semtex has any shame in his game)