December 11, 2012 by DJ Elroy
By now I’m sure you’ve all seen the newest video. No, not the one in the hotel with the “happy ending” and not her DJ “debut” in Brazil in which she’s spending so much time dancing that a lackey has to come adjust the mixer for her. It’s “DJ” Paris Hilton at a show in India. I’ve seen the hate coming from DJs old and new, vinyl purists, digital jocks, house heads, trance kids, dubstep gangsters… Whatever you call yourself, this vid has seemingly brought together every once-split faction of the scene to speak out against the silliness that is Paris Hilton.
But isn’t she what the new DJ culture has become? Now I’m NOT talking about the older generation of electronic artists. This seems to be a particular problem for the newest faces, those that haven’t been around for more than five years or so.
Think about it. The new generation of DJ doesn’t have the same skillset as those that came before. Why waste time beatmatching when you can autosync?
But beatmatching gave me the time to learn everything else. Things like mixing and blending, EQing, using the FX, etc. Many DJs take that stuff for granted nowadays, and you can hear it in the mix. It doesn’t necessarily sound bad, but you can hear something missing. You can’t say it’s just Paris, because I hear it everywhere!
The talent and skill-bar has been lowered so much that almost anyone can DJ now. The basics are easy. Well, easy to learn, I should say, but hard to master.
So many of these new DJs are just clones of each other, all playing the same anthems and big-room house music. Where’s the individuality? The style?
This brings us to the ability to read a dancefloor. If you’re not willing to pay your dues by taking playing timeslots and really getting in touch with the dancefloor, you’re not going to understand the underlying psychology, and you’ll be just another human jukebox.
And what about the music?
Now that everyone has access to everything, the art of digging seems to be a thing of the past as well. Why waste time searching through hours of shitty music to find those one or two magic tracks when you can play the guaranteed hits according to the digital retailers’ Top 10 charts? Besides, crowds nowadays can’t appreciate proper programming, the kids don’t want a story, they want anthems and non-stop fist-pumping and big bass drops.
I know, I know, not everyone plays music so commercial as some of the stuff in the Paris Hilton video. But I’ll predict right now a lot of the same songs (albeit remixed) will be heard at the next Ultra and EDC. Just watch and see.
Let’s move on to the general mindset of the contemporary nightlife culture. Back in my party days it used to be all about the music. We’d go to shows not knowing who would be playing. Now it’s becoming all about the person and not the music. The focus is on the DJ, not the dancefloor. I get it. But star-power can only get you so far. Sometimes you can get away with playing pre-mixed CDs. Sometimes you can get away with “pushing buttons”. As long as the performance is good, why worry about the music? Your supporters will be there to shout down any critics. Right?
So what similarities can we draw between DJ Paris Hilton and many of the new jocks that are looking for their big break? Reliance on the gear to do the work? Check. Basic skills but no style? Check. No creativity in music selection? Check. No fresh approach to set building and a complete disregard for reading the dancefloor? Check and check.
She’s got haters, but if you had the money and connections wouldn’t you use them to your advantage? I suppose “Don’t hate the player, hate the game” would be appropriate here. Oh, and another prediction: Paris will get tired of DJing and move onto the next fad before she hits the five year mark. That’s something else she has in common with so many of the posers in this new generation of electronic music artists.