There’s never been more discussion and debate about the current state of DJ culture and where it’s heading than right now. After a summer that’s consolidated the poptastic mainstream’s grip on the festival circuit and pulled dance music ever further into ‘The Arena’, many DJs who cut their teeth on longer sets, building sets to go from A to B and allowing a story to unfurl from the decks have been scratching their heads to find a role in the new hierachy.
We are fully immersed now in the era of the producer, of the truncated ‘appearance’ set where pile ‘em high line-ups to vast festival crowds have become the norm. Likewise DJs are playing shorter and shorter sets, the music itself is being thrust into the popular limelight through ad campaigns & movie placements and it feels like we are careering headlong into a new era.
Now I don’t expect this piece to come across as wholly unbiased, and nor do I intend it to be as I come resolutely from the background that says ‘a great night in the hands of a DJ / DJs, is to watch a book unfurl in front of your ears & ears … each chapter belonging to the same overall whole, but evolving as the night progresses’. There would be few great works of fiction if each chapter were written by a different author, even if their overall agendas were the same; but what happens when each parapgraph is written by a different author, and what happens when each author decides to experiment with a different genre in each sentence of their solitary paragraph?
A messy, random, disjointed, incoherent read with random sparks of excitement , but without any realization of context.
Amidst all this soul-searching and head-scratching, it occurs to me that this increased polarization of mainstream and underground may actually be a great galvanising factor in developing new nights, new concepts and new reactions to the the way things have changed. Nothing is inevitable, and it strikes me that there’s been a tacit acceptance that the new era of moneyed arena shows and attention-deficit-DJ-sets is the only future.
We just need to seize the day.