As I have been in the DJ industry for a long time now (15 years +) I have come to a few conclusions about myself and what I am good at and what I expect from myself. I can tell you that the industry has changed immensely over the years. See, I used to think that being on the radio and playing huge nightclubs was where its at. I realize now that weddings and corporate events is where the money is. Not only that, in my opinion they are more challenging and rewarding. I’ll give you an example; when you play a nightclub let’s say, you typically either have to play the same genre or have a playlist dictated by the mangers of the venue to fit the clientele they want. The same can be said for radio.
Now as for radio, I recently produced a mix (Wired 4 The Night) as a demo for a radio station in my current market. It was challenging because for me as a DJ I personally like playing all different types of music and to have to stick to a specific sound isn’t easy. Maybe I have ADD or maybe I find that to be somewhat “uninteresting” either way, as much as I would be ecstatic to play radio again I am reminded while putting this demo together all the things that go with radio mix shows. I don’t want it to seem like I don’t have respect for radio DJS, I do. I find it amazing that night after night the “good” ones can make the same songs still sound exciting and new especially on a top 40 station.
This brings me to the point, I don’t know if I have the ability or want to have that ability for that matter. Look the bottom line is I love to entertain people and make people happy through music. I can’t think of one person that I have ever met that only likes one type of music. With that being said, that’s the reason I prefer sometimes to play weddings and like events. See, when you play events such as these you have all different ages, ethnicities, & tastes in music. That’s where the challenge and musical knowledge comes in, that’s where the creativity happens. Again I would jump at the chance to play radio for the exposure alone. Unfortunately I feel that it comes with a price. I had fun making the radio demo and everyone that I asked about it said it was “good, cleanly mixed and well put together”, and that’s all great. Now a few days later I put out a mix called “The Soundtrack Of Your Life” a completely different mix. You couldn’t get any different. Where “Wired 4 The Night” (radio demo) was majority top 40 club songs my “Soundtrack Mix” was TV and Movie Themes. Now you can’t be as flawless mixing with TV and Movie themes as you can with top 40 songs. One of the reasons is top 40 songs are usually “quantized” meaning that they have a certain structure where you can time where the vocals start at a pretty consistent point . TV themes don’t have that structure. Again that goes back to what I was saying about the challenge of this type of mixing. It also is more creative in my opinion than playing top 40 club hits.
The point is when I produced the Top 40 mix people overall liked it and that’s about as far as comments went, again, “clean, well made mix” that is the same overall genres blended together. Now, for the Soundtrack Mix, a completely different reaction. I got a more excited reaction. More people thought that it was fun, creative, thought provoking, and nostalgic. It leads me to this conclusion. Just because something is blended seamlessly and “popular” music, doesn’t mean it’s better. It’s all about content. It’s all about the feeling it gives the listener. If it’s not entertaining it’s boring.
I guess the whole picture is this; I like making different mixes whether they be rock, top 40, TV themes, funk, oldies, indie, or any other sub genre I can think of, and sometimes, I like making one mix with all these types and more. That’s what I’m good at. That’s what I love doing. Sometimes you have to go to “work” and play what you are getting paid too play. As for my mixes that I do on my own time for the benefit of entertaining people I think I have come to the realization that I should make what I think will make people happy and delight people even if it’s only a small group that enjoys it, that small group is the people I care about. To those people that listen and support I thank and appreciate you more than I can write. Thanks for reading this lengthy post and I look forward to your comments.