DJ Russian Roulette

Ever feel like you’ve heard the same thousand songs over and over again at every city you dance in? I have these deja-vu moments, no matter which city I’m dancing in, that I *just* listened to this set the previous dance. Maybe I’m getting a little bit jaded because I listen to too much jass, blooz, and non-vocal NY mambo songs with the neat little piano solo hooks. Maybe I need to listen to more Kimbra?

What really stands out for me in regards to DJs who play lindy hop, blues, and salsa events are those who consistently drop hot new tracks for the dancers. It’s easy to “borrow” a couple of songs from other established DJs and mix and match songs to make your own set but it’s a lot harder to constantly be on the look out for songs and artists nobody in the scene has ever heard before. That’s why I have such great appreciation for DJs like Tall Jim from Vancouver because even though Vancouver is a very finicky dance scene in terms of musical tastes, he always seem to play a couple of songs that I secretly “borrow” for dances in Toronto (and hopefully in Montreal). He gets it and I like that.

I think the next time I DJ, I’m going to try out only playing songs I haven’t played ever before at a dance. I apologize in advance if you are attending ;)



DJ’ing with an Agenda

Dj'ing Swing and Blues

As I get more and more DJ’ing gigs slash opportunities, one of the things that I am working on this year is trying not to DJ with an agenda. I have embarrassingly caught myself sometimes in the mindset that I am some sort of music missionary trying to lead the heathens on a path to Harlem heaven. From the top of my head, some prior agendas that I have come to gigs with included playing faster than expected songs, songs from the savoy ballroom era, jazz blooz, new orleans, and my personal favourite, playing really bad songs and seeing if anyone notices (JK… or am I?). Bad news brown I know.

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