Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The high.

Some of these posts are showing the hardships of being a DJ or promoter, and you may ask, "Why the hell do you even bother?"  It is because it is exhilarating when you get it right.  When you just absolutely nail it, you can't get enough.  It's like a roller coaster ride that you just need to get back on once it's over.  It's that long hike up the mountain, to finally see that beautiful view.

I get more of a thrill as a DJ than a promoter, and I always correct people that call me a promoter because I really just feel like a DJ that got lucky with his little event, and became a promoter by default.  I will always be a DJ first, and a promoter second.

The thrill I get when I find an amazing song, then get to share it with others who end up going wild to it, is addictive.  It seems to feed this inner desire to have your soul accepted by others.  Music is my soul (duh).  Without it I would be a miserable waste of life.  I'm also a bit socially retarded, so I feel like being able to play music I like, in a manner I feel fit, is a way for my language to be understood.  My shy tendencies are erased and I feel like my inner self is coming out.  I can be a confusing and difficult person, but when I play, you can see right through me and my heart is on my sleeve.  I tend to hide (or mask if you will), how awkward I really am in normal day to day life, but when I'm behind those decks I have the confidence of a warrior off to battle.

I could play forever, and a 6 hour set would fly by as if I time traveled, or was on DMT or something.  It definitely releases some sort of chemical that I've never felt on synthetic drugs.  I never understood how people could say they are getting tired during a set, or an hour set is too long for them, because that shit is like crack to me and I could run a marathon afterwards.

I've also wondered about the actual act of mixing two songs together.  I think the challenge, and eventual gratitude you get from mixing is similar to the satisfaction you get when you complete a difficult puzzle.  They are both temporary, and that adds an element of excitement as well.  The challenge is even more intensified with DJing because you are on a time limit, and have only a couple minutes to connect the next piece.  It's fucking thrilling! That's why it confuses the shit out of me that some producers just want to pre-record a set in Ableton, then hit play and jump around.  You aren't getting the full experience, and that is probably why you are bored.

It is also in our nature to fuck up a bunch before we get it right.  That goes for everything we humans do in life.  So to just have a program cheat for you ruins the whole experience and satisfaction of success.  Hardships and suffering have made the best art since the dawn of time.  You ever notice how one's drive and creativity may dwindle once they have everything they need, and no longer need to fight for it?  I'm not saying someone like Morrissey should stay a depressing whiny cunt (I actually like the Smiths, so shut the fuck up), but you need to constantly set challenges for yourself to stay motivated.  Anyway, I'm getting a bit off track.

You know what else trips me out?  The amount of people that ask if I just bang chicks like it is going out of style because I'm a DJ.  It is actually not a major priority of mine when I spin and in fact, it is one of the last things on my mind when I'm deep into the music.  Seriously, If I was in the movie SAW, and that creepy puppet fucker said I have a choice between going deaf or losing my dick, then it looks like my dog is gonna have a new chew toy.  Don't get me wrong, women and music go hand in hand, and I love watching the way women move, but when I'm spinning and lost in the music, I barely even notice girls.  I get to blow my load all over the crowd, that's more gratifying.

All original sets.

OK, so this may cause some debate, but personally, I hate hearing "all original" sets.  Probably my biggest reason is that every douche that does it decides it's best to get on the mic after every tune drops to let us all know.  Some may even go so far as to tell you a brief story, such as, "I was on a plane for 12 hours and made this" or "This one samples my cat on the harmonica".  Who gives a shit?!  Just play the music and make us dance monkey.  If I wanted a detailed play by play, I'll just read your overinflated bio, or watch your poorly produced mini documentary.

Now to be fair, not every DJ who plays all originals is a douche, but if you are guilty of the aforementioned accusation, then well, the shoe fits.  I don't mind if every so often one of my favorite DJs plays only his/her original tracks, (shit, bands do it right?) but they better at the least have a very eclectic catalogue of diverse music and a large quantity to choose from.  If they only play the same 20 songs at every show, and those 20 tracks all sound the same, why would I want to see them more than twice a year at most?

Let's admit it, watching a DJ can be pretty boring.  Live bands are so much more engaging, with the singing, live instruments and what have you. So for a DJ to just play the prerecorded music they've made, that you've already listened to 50 times, really isn't that amazing or engaging now is it?  With that being said, why wouldn't you sprinkle in some new shit that someone else made like DJs are supposed to do, or at least traditionally were expected to.

I'm not hating on producers, I just think that if the worlds of Producer and DJ are merging, or have already merged I should say, then why not respect the craft of the DJ?  It's like DJs who produce shitty tracks just to get more gigs.  It doesn't, or shouldn't work like that.  If you want to be a performer these days, you should be a master of production, as well as a skilled DJ.

You know what is really tripping me out lately?  The amount of producers that are starting to hate on DJs that don't produce, or even hating on producers that don't play all original sets.  Do you have any idea how boring clubs would be if all DJs merely played their own tracks?  It would be a nightmare.  Can you imagine if there were no more selectors?  There is a reason the crate digging DJ has stood the test of time.  It is because people want to hear a cluster of the best songs that someone can offer.

There is not a single producer who has a 100% solid library of their works that I feel would blow my mind for 90 minutes.  Seriously, when you scan through the average album, there are usually only 4 out of 12 tracks that you really enjoy.  6 out of 12 is considered an amazing album in my opinion, so why would I want to hear all the mediocre ones I don't like in the club?  Producers should just pick their best ones, and fill in the gaps with the best from other producers.

I mean don't they get all the freshest unreleased tunes if they are all friends with each other anyhow?  Why wouldn't you want to drop those tunes live?  I know producers don't have time to dig for tunes since producing is so time consuming, and they tour a lot, but if you get tracks falling in your lap, you have no excuse.

If you are a big headliner name, and go to a major city twice a year, your next set should be at least 50% new material that you didn't play the last time.  That means you should be producing at least 3 solid tracks a month, which isn't the case with many of these performers, plus they sometimes play 3 or 4 times a year in those major cities.  There is nothing more heart wrenching than being disappointed or bored by a DJ you really love.  That is how many producers burn themselves out in certain markets, and sometimes lose a big fan base.  Over saturation is bad enough because you will devalue yourself, but it makes it even worse if you become predictable and people already know what songs you are going to play.  It could potentially ruin you.

Stay original by not staying original.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ghost Producers

So I assume this is true since so many people talk about it, and it sickens me a bit.  It is the notion that many so called "producers" buy finished tracks off of other producers, then pass them off as their own.  At least in hip hop, an MC will buy a beat, then rap over it and show love to the creator by shouting them out somehow.  Even Pop stars mention who produced a song in the liner notes.  How do these fake ass producers keep a straight face in interviews that ask them what they used to create the track, or what inspired them?  I know we all want to be rich and famous, but why would you want to go about it in this sort of shady way?  Producing is not easy, I get it, but there is no reason to build your career on lies a deceit.

Many producers want to make money off their tunes, but are horrible at marketing themselves, so instead of putting out some tracks online that don't bring in a profit, they will sell them to someone who is a bit more known.  They may even get royalties or a bonus if the tune hits high marks, or if the artist goes on a big tour, but that would more than likely just be a homie hookup, since most of the ghost producers have to sign a non-disclosure agreement.  In some cases, the ghost producer is too shy to perform live, or just sucks at it, and in this day you need to be able to perform live since that is where most of the money lies.

I'll admit that I am not insanely knowledgeable on this subject, so I'll just end it with a couple paragraphs and an article I found online that talks more about it.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Picking a DJ name, event name, record label name etc.

First off, everyone on the planet should know what google is by now.  I suggest you use that first, then come back and read the rest of this article.  I mean seriously use google.  Don't just type in the name you think is cool, and look at one result page.  Type in 10 different spellings, and combinations of related words and scan through 5 or 6 pages of each variation, because you are not the first person to come up with a DJ name that is a popular movie hero, or name your party after a popular rap song.

You may want to avoid putting genre names in the title of your name since things may change down the line.  It is especially hard if your website, email or url's are all in that genre title.  Times change, and you may change down the line as well, and won't want to suffer because you weren't careful in the beginning.  If you decide to change your style or expand into different sounds, it may be hard once you've branded yourself as "Breakbeat Charlie".  Think of this name/title as a permanent tattoo.

Your name should be fairly easy to find online through a search engine, but not so simple that it is overshadowed by dozens of other categories.  For example, if your performer name was a simple name like "Butter", it will be a bit harder to locate you online since there are a million search results for such a basic household product.  On the flip side, if the spelling is too crazy, with too many symbols and numbers in place of letters, or anything similar, it will probably be a bit more difficult for people to remember how the hell you spell your name when they try to look you up.

You may also want to look into copyright infringement because once you start making money, or getting popular, you could get sued if someone already copyrighted the name.

There is nothing worse than choosing a name that is already being used, but there are a few things that I feel come close.  I really don't like when people do the following, because it seems really lazy and uncreative to me:

*Unless your name has a really snazzy ring to it, or is very different from the average person's name, I wouldn't just use your birth name.  It works for many people, but I personally just find it a bit boring.*

*Using a plain, average name like Joseph Adams, when that is not your birth name is even weirder than the above.*

*Try not to be too cheesy and use a pseudo clever pun with the spelling of your birth name.  Such as "Just In Time" if your name is Justin.  It is just tacky to me.*

*You are not the first person to just spell your name backwards either.*

*I dislike it when a performer uses a title that suggests they are a group, or duo, when it is really just one person, such as, "The Green People"*

*Try not to make your name a one word spelling that has 30 characters and is impossible for anyone to pronounce.  Everyone will butcher your name, no one will remember how to spell it when looking you up, and your name will be really small on fliers.*

* I hate when hipsters use a verb or statement as their name.  You are a person, which is a noun.  Just because your favorite author, or movie, had a quote you like, doesn't mean your name should be "Running Through The Trees On Sunday" or "Many People Enjoy Sandwiches"*

*Using the year or month you were born in your name, or as your name, is kind of lame to me as well. It is just too easy and bland. The same goes for using the city, state, or country you were born in.*

*Using a spin off name of a popular celebrity or other famous musician, or combining slang words with a proper name to sound like a celebrity is kind of wacky in my opinion too.  Such as "Swagnum P.I." or "Trillary Clinton".  Don't get me wrong, I think some are really creative, but they don't strike me as timeless names that you can carry around for years.  It may be really funny and clever at first, but eventually the joke will wear off.*

*You can use your high school nickname or your mom's pet name if you want, but now is your free pass to create your own nickname you've always wanted.  Take advantage of it "Broski", or should I say "Sugar Cakes".

(These are just my personal feelings, so don't get all butt hurt if this relates to you.)

Tricks promoters use to fool you into thinking their party rocks.

I have been a little frustrated at some of the tricks promoters do to fool you.  Some of it is minor and innocent, some of it is just ignorant and they are oblivious to their faults, and other methods are just flat out sinister, malicious, and fraudulent.  I tend to over analyze the shit out of everything, so instead of merely bitching to my friends, I'll do it here for you all to hear.

One of the most fucked up tricks is not telling the public that one of the main performers was cancelled.  They may tell you at the door, or not at all, but either way it is shady if they didn't blast it online publicly.  Not very many people are going to turn away from the club after they spent so much time getting ready and getting to the club, so clubs use that against people.

Sometimes clubs will hold the line till it is really long, and let people in at a very slow pace, just so people passing by will think it is super busy, and by default a great party.  Meanwhile the inside is dead and the music sucks.

Sometimes they won't tell you the exact time it shuts down.  They may say 2am, when they really close at 1:30.  Rounding up isn't because they wanted a more round number on the flier.  They do it to get you to be more interested in showing up.  Sometimes they will just list the party as "going late".  What kind of shit is that?  Just tell me the fucking time!  Maybe they will keep the party going if it is still busy at closing time?  So then just fucking say it like that!

These next two drive me fucking nuts!!!  Not telling you the set times, and not telling you the door price!!!  The reason promoters won't tell you the times the artists perform in advance, is to get you to show up as early as possible, since you may be fearful of missing an artist you really want to see.  That means you are less likely to pre-drink somewhere else too, so they will be making more money off you.  The reason they don't tell you the door price is because they just want you to show up to find out, and like I said before, people are less likely to leave once they've made their way over to the club.  Also, if the night is not breaking even financially, they can jack up the price halfway through the night to try to get more money to cut their losses, and since they never said publicly what the door price is, you can't argue it.

Another trick is to say that presale tickets are sold out, when they really are not.  This makes people think the show is in high demand, and they will be missing out if they don't go.  It is just false hype.

Have you ever seen the events where there are like 100 DJs on the lineup, the party is 8 hours and has 4 rooms?  Basic math will tell you that the DJs are only playing for 20 minutes, and any DJ that is only playing for that short is most likely a rookie with little skill.  Promoters feel like their audience is stupid sometimes, and they think that people will be fooled into thinking the more DJs, the better the event will be.  I'd rather go to a party with a few amazing DJs, rather than 100 shitty ones.

Sometimes a promoter won't mention that there is a seven dollar service fee when you buy tickets online, so your $25 ticket is really $32.  Or, they will just blatantly change the door price from $20 to $30 when you arrive.  Then when you show up and argue it, they basically just tell you to go fuck yourself.  Other times the ad will say "free before 11pm", but then when you show up, they say, "sorry, that's only when you RSVP."  Now in all fairness, some club goers don't read the event info properly, then get mad at the promoter and call them shady, when it was really their own fault.  Whenever someone calls me out on something at my events, I ask them to pull out their phone and go online to prove to me there was a mistake.  If indeed there was a mistake made, I will honor it.  I can't even count the amount of times I have personally pulled up an ad on my phone that states cheaper pricing, and the club does not honor it.  Usually they scoff at me like I am the asshole, so I make it a point to make good on false advertising at my own events.

Sometimes promoters will even jeopardize the safety of their patrons just to get people to come out.  One example is not telling people that the neighborhood is a little rough.  This is a bit of a grey area here because sometimes promoters may not really consider a certain area super hood, because they may be used to it, but others may have issues.  If you are inviting people to an underground warehouse party in a bad neighborhood, it may be a good idea to let people know so they don't leave valuables in their car, or girls may want to dress differently to not attract attention.  Like I said, this is a bit of a grey area, mainly because it can scare people more than necessary, and they may take it as a warning to not even come.  A lot of the time people blow things out of proportion when they read it online.  I have omitted information like this at times because sometimes it just causes paranoia, when all you wanted to do was tell people to be smart and aware of their surroundings.  Myself, coming from a tough neighborhood, taught me that being aware of my surroundings and staying under the radar should be standard behavior in any circumstance, but for some people, they are completely oblivious to the seedy side of life.  More than likely you will be fine if you are with a few people and hide your valuable in your car, or take them out completely before you leave the house.  If you are being loud and obnoxious, drawing attention to yourself, you may be making yourself a target.

There are a few other promoter tricks that I won't say on here because they are just my pet peeves, and not too many other promoters know about them, so if I blast them on here publicly, more people will start doing them and pissing me the fuck off.

I understand that people invest a lot of money into these events, and sometimes they take a big loss.  It is all part of the game, but no one should sacrifice their integrity and fuck over their main supporters in the process.  We can all still profit in this game without the shady tactics.