DJ is not a Jukebox

A couple of weeks ago, I vented out on Facebook about the state of DJing (this might be applicable anywhere but I cater this specifically to my country, Indonesia). My piece got pretty descent response so I figured I should put it here in my blog too. Without further ado, here it is.

Every time I go out to play at clubs around Indonesia I’m always greeted with sets from resident DJs that are eerily similar with all the other clubs. Most of the time, hey still play the same tired tracks from 4 years ago and the usual fist pumping anthem.

I think being a DJ is much more than just being a human jukebox where you play what the crowd expect to hear every night. Many of us forgot why we get into DJing in the first place. At least for my part, I got into DJing because I love to hear those mind-blowing sets with all those tracks that I’ve never heard before. There were times when I went out to a club and heard an awesome track that made me instantly got up and rushed to the DJ booth, just to take a peek on the turntables to see what track was being played (usually, the effort were futile because they are either white label or got stickers to cover up the track tittle).

Perhaps we all should get back to our roots and do some soul-searching on why we get into this profession. We are better than this.

For all the young DJs, please stop being lazy. We are lucky enough to live in the time where we never have to leave the comfort of our house to get new music. 10 years ago, it was tough to be a DJ in Indonesia. There were only 2 or 3 shops that stock vinyls in the whole country. Now, with digital age, songs are available at the tips of your fingers. Starts searching the web, listen to all the top DJs’ set or your personal hero and find out what they play. Buy your music legally because it will make you appreciate your music collection more (and not giving it away so easily). From there, build your own personal style. Be your self and be unique. Don’t take the short cut and resort to begging for tunes from the guest DJs.You might think that I’m stingy for not willing to give my music collection away. Sorry guys, I pay my music with my hard-earned money. I called them investment in my profession and so should you.

Too all male DJs in Indonesia that complain about the invasion of female DJs and how they take your jobs away… starts doing something about it. If you happened to play non mainstream genres (i.e. drum & bass, dubstep, trap, Garage etc) things will get exponentially harder. But as always, if you get into DJing because of these genres, then you usually don’t it for money, therefore you know what you get your self into. Nonetheless, my advice is still applicable to you too. Don’t be lazy. Starts producing your own music, send them to labels and try to get track signed and released. If there’s no job, start organizing your own party. Don’t act as if the scene owes you something. No one’s gonna handout anything to you even if you’ve been doing this for 10 years or more. Who said being a DJ is easy? Just like every other professions out there, it takes a lot of hard work.

At the same time though, don’t forget to have fun. We are lucky enough to earn a living doing something that we love. After all, we get into DJing because it was fun right?

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