DJ frustration in 2009

Sick Boy

All about pride and egos
Is anyone else experiencing this? Particularly people who tend to spin more of the London-based pirate-spun genres.

I found up until about a couple of years or so ago, I was quite content to play a mix of grime and dubstep. There were lots of releases and the quality was usually consistent and there was a definite audience for both sounds, commonly shared.

I am starting a new weekly club night in October. Bought a load of new records and have suddenly realized that I don't know what the fuck to play anymore. Here is why:

There is a drought in grime production right now. There are a few top boys who put their shit out on a semi-regular basis, but it doesn't happen frequently. I've been banging out Maniac, Nocturnal and Silencer beats for months.

Dubstep sounds like a lot of different things now, from the populist, numbskull Rusko/Caspa camp to the more cerebral, coffee-table shit like Joy Orbison, to the even more cerebral, avant-whateverness of w*nky.

Then you got real w*nky. The LA stuff: Flying Lotus, Ras G, Samiyam, etc.

Then you got Funky.

My issue is that while all of these genres have their high points right now, none of them - at least to me anyway - are consistently good enough to play an entire set of. Not least when you consider the great, and tangentially related, tracks from the other genres coming out.

So what you've got is a bunch of genres with an ever-widening bpm range that all sound like they are more or less the same genre. But when you play them all together it sounds disjointed and ridiculous unless you are playing like a 4 hour set.

Topics for discussion:
1. Anyone else feel this?
2. If you don't, how do you deal?
3. If you do, what are your thoughts?

Maybe this is why more and more people are spinning old school garage again. It's comforting.
 
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zhao

there are no accidents
i don't feel any of it... quite the opposite: my sets spanning all 5 continents and about a hundred different "genres" which all fit together smoothly is just too damn big, and at any all night gig i can only expect to get to about 1/10th of it all. what i really need to do is go to Bali or Greece and play those week long parties.
 

Tentative Andy

I'm in the Meal Deal
Big up for posting this, it's a good topic to discuss. Somewhat strangely I am feeling almost the opposite to you at the moment.
Dubstep sounding like a lot of different things now, whilst I can understand being a problem from some perspectives, is a plus for me because it means there far more available tunes that I'm really feeling, rather than have to draw for some kinda filler-ish halfstep to fill out a set. Grime productions are a bit slow at coming through - still waiting on that Rude Kid cd, aren't we? - but then 'grime time' is notoriously slow anyway, so I just accept it. The standard of grime prods over the last year or so has been pretty high imo, much more danceable and lively than immediately before.
I think you can exaggerate the bpm thing too. You're looking at 10 bpm max between the vast majority of dubstep and grime and a high percentage of funky, in some cases it's less. If you have a dj set-up which allows for pitch-correction when you alter the speed - and those set-ups are very widely available now, in one form or another - then that's nothing drastic about differences like that, esp if you're steadily building a set. Obviously as you say having a decent set time helps, but I don't think you need hours and hours.
The main thing that frustrates me as a sort of beginner dj right now is the fact that digitial releases still aren't being used to their full potential, esp in grime. But this is something that we've discussed before and I've come to the conclusion that moaning about it won't achieve much - the artists will come to accept it of their own volition when they realise it's the (only) finanicially viable option. Again, things are already better here than they were a year or two ago.

Edit: I also don't think people you should feel pressure to play everything just because it's there, or possibly because it's kind of popular with some of their peer group. You mention the FLyLo type hip-hop: personally although I like a lot of that stuff, I wouldn't even consider trying to play it in a set, because it's not only much slower, but has very different beat-grids to any of the other genres I play, even if some of the sounds have similiarties to some things in dubstep.
Edit edit: For similar reasons I prob wouldn't bother trying to dj road-rap, even though it seems that some of the grime people are getting into it now. There's also the fact that I think most if it is pretty rubbish, but that's a discussion for another thread.
 
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Immryr

Well-known member
sets don't have to be all at the same bpm to work. use your imagination. it shouldn't be too difficult if you know in your own mind what you want to play, and aren't just trying to play stuff you think you should be playing or whatever.
 

Sick Boy

All about pride and egos
sets don't have to be all at the same bpm to work. use your imagination. it shouldn't be too difficult if you know in your own mind what you want to play, and aren't just trying to play stuff you think you should be playing or whatever.

Well no.

But it is very difficult to traverse so many different sounds without sounding like Diplo (i.e. all over the shop). Basically what I'm getting at is how overwhelming pirate radio sounds have become in the short span of about a year, increasing in number, bpm range, and each burning bright and fading at short intervals.

It's enough to make a non-producer DJ completely mental. Oh yeah, and broke.
 

Sick Boy

All about pride and egos
Also there used to be this great hip-hop like ethos of "many styles, one culture" to the pirate sounds. The bpm range obviously helped, and I'm also not saying there weren't people who bitched about the other camps under their umbrella. But they were under that umbrella regardless.

When it was garage, garagegrime/garagedubstep, grime and dubstep there was this distinct fluency between the sounds. You could play entirely dubstep, or entirely grime, or very easily blend the two. Lots of releases on both ends.

Now I feel like that umbrella is still there, but has gotten much bigger, and as a result there is this a decrease in that fluency - that unity - I once felt so strongly before with this sound.

Perhaps that's just a perception thing though. I don't think it is a mere coincidence though that garage has been making the comeback it has been recently.
 

Tentative Andy

I'm in the Meal Deal
Well no.

But it is very difficult to traverse so many different sounds without sounding like Diplo (i.e. all over the shop).
I can see the potential problem, but I think it's perfectly achievable to make it sound good provided you transition between the styles gradually rather than zig-zagging back and forth (although having said that someone like Spyro does seem sometimes to do it the latter way and it sounds good, but it's much riskier way to things).
I also totally get what you're saying about feeling overwhelmed and not being able to keep up with all the different sounds coming through. I think that's why it's important at some stage to limit yourself, even if it's sort of an arbitrary limit, just to give your sets some kind of cohesion plus just to keep your sanity. Personally I find it's not too difficult to balance doing that with still finding enough good tunes that want to play - perhaps with your tastes being slightly different it's harder, I couldn't say.
 

Sick Boy

All about pride and egos
I think that's why it's important at some stage to limit yourself, even if it's sort of an arbitrary limit, just to give your sets some kind of cohesion plus just to keep your sanity.
It makes you wonder really if and how long the pirate stations are going to maintain this wide range of related but very self-defined sounds until one sound becomes the main narrative again, a la garage. Does anyone think funky will do that job? I don't.

Is DJ Frustration taken yet as a name btw? ;)
lol stand at the decks pulling your hair while a vein throbs in your temple until the track runs out, curse loudly, and put another song on from the edge.
 

wise

bare BARE BONES
Miss out the hip-hop tempo wonky and you could easily beat mix all that stuff fluently in an hour set.
To be honest you could even do it with the wonky too. I posted a mix at the beginning of the summer that started off in wonky r&b and built to funky and another a few weeks ago that started in funky and ended in hype grime. These sets also included Dancehall, Dubstep, Wonky, Garage, House, old Hardcore and more
With the tunes being made at the moment there are so many reference points to different genres that it's getting easier and easier to play fluid cross genre cross bpm sets.
I love it

Incidentally listening to the recent Scuba podcast at the moment which is sounding great very dubby very percussive very nice :cool::cool:
 

zhao

there are no accidents
eclectic djs sound like diplo if they don't do it properly, and end up with a jagged, schizophrenic experience.

but if the records are carefully selected, you can go from Balkan beat to Gypsy swing to Cumbia to Salsa to Boogaloo to Russian Disco to Afro-beat, just for example, absolutely seamlessly.

even easier with more recent music - one drop to steppers to dubstep to funky to deep house to electro keine problem.

worry less about genres and focus on the sound, you'll be fine.
 

FairiesWearBoots

Well-known member
Play some from each style you like but narrow your choices?
Look at Oneman - he manages to span garage/2-step/dubstep/grime really well, but if you look at the T/L of his mixes, he is sticking to a smaller range of producers who are making complimentary tracks,

Oneman kills it (I wish he could get Oddz to re-release some tracks:cool: Strung VIP
 

gremino

Moster Sirphine
But when you play them all together it sounds disjointed and ridiculous unless you are playing like a 4 hour set.
That happens when you mish mash completely different vibes together. IMO djing shouldn't be about genres - it should be about united vibes.

It makes you wonder really if and how long the pirate stations are going to maintain this wide range of related but very self-defined sounds until one sound becomes the main narrative again, a la garage.
Would love to hear all of these sounds to melt together as for some new hardcore :cool:

Wasn't early 90's rave djs mixing different dance genres together?

ps. Gotta adversite my Techno'n'stuff mix - techno with dubstep/grime/garage. Different genres but unified vibes!
 

wonk_vitesse

radio eros
sure there's alot going on but the 'dub' angle seems to win.

wax treatment seems to be very natural, no posturising, just good music from across the influences of dubstep. I'm sure Zhao will agree.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
im no dj but i think you lot are wrong and sickboy is right. based largely on listening to a few interenet mixes from wonky djs which were all excruciatingly bad, directionless, arbitary messes and then hearing some mac 10 sets which were perfect. alright he's obviously much more experienced talented dj but its also the cohesveness. i can make a playlist on my ipod if i want o hear a lot of random stuff fudged together.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
and if i wanted to hear a set like zhao describes i'd start listening to andy kershaw.
 

muszu

Member
It's possible. An example is Jackmaster from Glasgow that's playing loads of styles like Dubstep, Funky, Miami Bass, Grime, RnB, Electro and mixing them really well!
 
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