"The definitive, career-long resident DJ who has more skills than many superstars and consistently proves his worth at The Warehouse Project as well as many other clubs and festivals around Europe. Now also a radio jock on KMAH." — Attack Magazine
WHAT MAKES A GREAT DJ?
In the traditional sense, the resident has a completely different relationship with the crowd than a headliner. Once a good resident has established themselves with a crowd at a particular night, it’s like ordering a favourite dish from a takeaway: you’re happy with it, you know it’ll never let you down, you’re comfortable knowing it’s always there, but the headliner is when you try something different. Sometimes it works, sometimes you’re let down.
If a resident is warming up, it goes without saying that you’re there to initially ease the crowd in and to leave the headliner at a point where they can do what they want, with a crowd that’s primed for it. Then it’s up to them. That’s a more traditional view of a resident and headliner, though – nowadays many nights have residents and guests who are equally matched in terms of reputation and following, and that gives a much more dynamic feel to a night. When nobody is the ‘superstar’ there’s no differential.
For me, the smaller the room, the more reward you get from reading it and then in turn getting it right. It’s the thing of ‘looking into the whites of the eyes’: you can really lock into smaller rooms then gauge from them where you can take it. I think larger crowds are happy to be dictated to, whereas if the environment is more cosy you’re able to take in the general feeling of where they want to be led.
The guiding principles of a DJ should be that of willingness to adapt, by having a wide enough knowledge of their music to be able to do this but still remaining within the music they love. The huge spectrum of new music available within genres nowadays, alongside the back catalogues, means there’s no reason this can’t be done. I mean, how do you even know ‘what crowds want to hear’? they don’t fill in a questionnaire at the door. I think you have to be confident enough to give them credit that they will be open to what you do.
What makes a great DJ is the ability to make it look easy, and I mean truly easy. I completely understand the fact it’s not brain surgery, but in this age where countless tools are at the disposal of people who want to go out and DJ, the medium is often made a focus over the art. A truly great DJ exudes effortlessness when they play, whether that be crossing different genres, properly managing the system they are playing on, knowing its limits or generally understanding the room very quickly. The technical thing for me comes way down the list.
I couldn’t give a shit if a DJ drops a mix every now and again or hardly mixes at all. It’s about creating your own environment for the time you’re on and doing it in a way that works for that time and place.
Read the full article, featuring vews from Mr G, Spencer Parker, Dave Clarke, Mosca, and Serge, at attackmagazine.com