Another entry in an ongoing series about the realities, challenges, tactics and of spinning records in public for pay.
Party people of good taste and mature bearing, this is really important.
There are douchebags among us. (I can hear a chorus of “No shit!” echoing through cyberspace)
You know who I’m talking about:
– They can’t hold their liquor (literally and figuratively).
– They wear sunglasses in the club.
– They can’t dance without violating all western norms of personal space.
– They badger and often insult the DJ with inane requests.
– They think they can command the DJ because it’s their birthday, they’re wearing a maiden douche-crown (aka “bachelorette veil”) or got their tiddies out.
– They have an urban safari mentality regarding hot spots. They’re scared to go to these places until the folk invested in the scene have turned them into something with a buzz then they drive from far away to overrun these places on weekends.
– They won’t dance to anything that’s not on the radio… at least until they’re drunk.
What I’m telling you is… we need these people. They are an important part of the social ecosystem.
Well, I need these people. And other DJs like myself need them.
There are some DJs that play in a different league. They can play deep, progressive, creative music without catering to popular trends. Huge crowds of people will come see them, they never have to compromise and they get paid well. These are your Rich Medinas, your Louie Vegas, your DJ Spinnas, etc.
I’m not one of those DJs and most of your favorite local music obsessives that rock your bodies on a regular basis are not either. We are blue collar and we are in the trenches. We have pro skills but varying paydays. We’ve paid dues for years, even decades. We do this for the love of music and sharing it with others. We do not have the luxury of always having a full room of like-minded folk who trust us 100% to be the artists that we are.
So why do we need douchebags? Because they spend money. They spend lots of money. This is what club owners care about. This helps us get paid, or at least get more gigs and stay off the ho stroll.
And frankly, with the exception of a core group of you whom I love dearly (you know who you are), a lot of you with progressive tastes are fickle. You don’t buy drinks. You don’t buy music. You’re always texting someone to get on a list. If we haven’t hung out and kicked it or at least spoken, then I don’t hear from you until I have a major gig, you know you’re going straight to voicemail with that “so what’s up with guestlist?” madness. I will not call you back. Now you don’t have to ask why. Some of you do this while I’m in the middle of dj’ing. You are not helping the cause.
But for the rest of you, the people that inspire me to rock with finesse and who are steadfast in your support of real DJs, I need you to increase your douchebag tolerance. I KNOW this is a lot to ask, but it should be easier when you consider the mathematical and psychological aspects.
Douchebags are followers. Some desperately want to NOT be douchebags, at least subconsciously. These precious few can be saved! Some of them just don’t know any better. They’re compelled to follow the social cues of cool folk, but this only works when the MATH is right. If the douchebags greatly outnumber non-douches, they run amok. They’ll step on your feet and spill beer everywhere while doing the limbo in the middle of the club. They’ll come up behind the ladies and grind on their behinds without introducing themselves first. But in my scientific observations, it only takes 1/4 to 1/3 of a room’s population to be composed of cool folk in order for the energy to shift in our favor.
When there’s a nucleus of people on the dancefloor who dance well and express excitement and knowledge about the music being played, others naturally gravitate to them. The socially afflicted want to be part of the “in” crowd. They want to have as much fun as the cool people are having. This is what we call the “Party People In a Can” science. Use this to your advantage. It would help me out a lot, otherwise I’m stuck playing shit songs to drunk assholes until 3 a.m.
I’d like to get paid AND enjoy playing music. I’d like to have more opportunities to play good music for you in nice spaces. Until I can break through the popularity barrier, we must tolerate douchebags for this to happen.