With how advanced technology has become over the years, it’s safe to say that many parts of our society have evolved. One of the best examples of those changes is music. Back in the day, instrumentals were everyone’s jam but as the times progressed, many different forms of instruments were introduced such as the “Turntable.” From the idea of putting your hands on a vinyl record to breaking beats, one of the most popular music-related profession is becoming a Disk Jockey. DJs comes in different categories and job descriptions. A Radio DJ is someone who plays existing recorded music for a live audience via mediums like the radio. There is also one called a club DJ who performs at nightclubs, bars, or music festivals where they perform using a “turntable” that mixes and manipulates sounds on various records and songs.
Even though being a DJ has become popular, there are multiple debates whether it is considered a craft or an art. There are known to be two approaches when one decides in becoming a DJ which is either focusing on performing for entertainment or for some artistic merit. Whichever it may be, becoming a Disk Jockey takes a whole lot of skill and passion. They have to be flexible with their job in both entertaining their audiences and adding their own style of art as well. In other words, they have to try to please their listeners with what they want while establishing their own brand and keep their integrity as a DJ to their music.
With the advancement of new mediums and genres in music comes opinions and backlash, however. Many seem to overlook DJing as a profession and rather consider the craft as some sort of hobby. This brings many mixed emotions for those who proceed with becoming a Disk Jockey as a career. One of the most highlighted examples being the time when a popular DJ named DJ Shadow was asked to leave the stage because the people weren’t too fond of his track mix. This occurred at a Mansion nightclub in Miami. He claims that his set was too “futuristic” and “confusing” for the crowd and was asked to step down and call it a night. People cheered on as he was leaving but he took to twitter to voice out about what happened.
This is what DJ shadow tweeted afterwards:
“I don’t care if I get kicked out of every rich kid club on the planet. I will never sacrifice my integrity as a DJ…ever #AllBassesCovered”
— DJ Shadow (@djshadow) December 16, 2012
A fellow DJ then responded on his defense saying:
“or perhaps just too future for that corner of Miami. it’s sad what some people expect from Djs these days.part kids entertainer part jukebox”
— erol alkan (@erolalkan) December 18, 2012
Whether or not the role of being a DJ is to please the crowd or express one’s talent, there are surely numerous debates with this topic. Is DJing an art? Most people have voiced out that they agree that being a good DJ is definitely an art. Ones like DJ shadow, who are iconic because of their history, sound, and heritage shouldn’t compromise and water down with what they do to extreme extents. They should be booked for the right nightclubs, for the right kind of parties and of course, for the right crowds.
It goes without saying that there are DJs who either choose to play sets that serve to only entertain the masses and those who do have integrity and passion for the music they play. Same goes for singers and songwriters. DJs who produce their own music is unquestionably an art form. Even with just picking specific songs in which reflect the mood of the audience can change the mood. Though most would agree on this, unfortunately this whole thing is up for debate by others who deem that some DJs simply mix songs for a quick buck and nothing more.
As with every job, there are certainly ups and downs. So what exactly are the roles and responsibilities of being a Disk Jockey? Are they given the task to simply entertain crowds with sets and mixes – or is being a DJ considered as an artist? Are they basically switching on the radio and combining tracks for a living or are they creating their own sense art and self-expression? We’d like to hear what you think.