I think it’s a dumb question to be honest with you. The issue is at this point people aren’t thinking, therefore one must ask.
We have always had a hand forcing us away from imagination and creativity. This is where popular culture lives. People don’t even realize what pop really means. (God we are really lost) I am no different. As a child what I consumed of videos and music via “free” sources (tv and radio) was popular. Someone selected this music for us to listen to based on a slow and tireless effort (on the creators parts) to get masses of people to like it. Most of the music I ended up liking as a child was massively played to the point of familiarizing, unbeknownst to me then. This doesn’t suggest that the artists who created it didn’t intend to make art, I hope they made what they felt. This was long before we sought the levels of attention we currently seek. Business has no interest in on unpopular creations, as I see it. Artists work is to freely create and get appreciated, as we appreciate the feeling, ideas and flat out excitement upon the process of creating.
This isn’t to say that if you make dj mixes of all popular music, you are not an artist. HOW you planned to play is creation. The idea of mixing, blending and scratch to transition tunes is art. The issue is only playing what people know or want to hear. At this point you are hired to be a human iPod (singers who only do covers can identify). Somewhere in the business of radio programming, party promotions and nightlife venues, someone made the suggestion that a Dj (only) play what the audience wants to hear. This is not the only place where the concept spawned. The dance floor had a hand in it. We (djs) watch body language (people used to dance) and listen to hear people cheer and sing. This is a means for knowing that they get what we are spinning.
We (djs) used to find records and sounds we really loved and would set out to play them in an effort to make people appreciate these tunes. As I stated in a interview I recently did, feelings and emotions would lead me to certain music and that music would be a part of the story or experience a Dj would bring to people.
I stand just as challenged as the next Dj, who wants to work regularly. At Tantrum my weekly gig for the past 6 years, I am challenged to play current urban music that in my opinion only represents a small percent of what people could be listening to.(wait do people still LISTEN to music?)
Djing is entertainment, it sells a ton of other products, as well as, drinks, food and entry to venues. This says the audience has to be involved in what you play. Now that the crowd and audience seems to be less exposed to the variance of genres and timeless artists, we are subjected to their mediocre ears. This could be the point of when djing becomes simply, a job. Your bookings could be solely dependent on what a venue owner or promoter requires you to do. This is too much power for such (potentially) low pay. As for weddings and private events you expect to lend your technical ability to conveying the energy of memories for these occasions. This is where one would more expect to follow a direct play list.
So where does a creative Dj go to express themselves? Online streaming could be an answer. Podcasting, live broadcasting and the like, might be a place where you can dive into those hidden gems you wish to expose people to. (If you don’t pay attention to likes and views lbs) Wine tastings and art based events COULD also allow you to do your thing as you feel it. These things most definitely could remedy your desire to take people on a journey that doesn’t simply include the 4 lanes that currently seem to run popular music.
The other idea is to expand your creative palette to original production, beat making, song writing and tons of other possibilities both related and unrelated to audio creation. As a creative person the world is set for morphing, bending and reimagining, should you choose to partake.
Get your head out of watching other peoples lives and start making yours… JEDIS! #inspirewhileaspiring