DJing Pet Peeves

Tips and techniques of the trade

Moderators: Mr Awesomer, JesseMiner, CafeSavoy

Message
Author
PhilShapiro
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 3:06 pm
Location: Cambridge, MA
Contact:

#16 Post by PhilShapiro » Mon Apr 10, 2006 12:41 pm

Swifty wrote:Not a false ending, but I always get looks at the break when I play Cab's "Are You All Reet?"
A DJ around here occasionally plays that song and hits the pause button for a few seconds during the break. Evil, and probably not an OK thing to do, but the first time I heard it, it totaly cracked me up.

User avatar
la musette
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:42 am
Location: Montpellier, France

#17 Post by la musette » Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:23 pm

At the Steven and Virginie weekend in Rochester last year, Steven did a Q&A session. A guy asked him why there aren't more african-americans dancing lindy anymore. Steven's answer included (roughly) that the way dances are officiated is very clean/dry/quiet and he thought that DJ's should make an effort to talk on mike a whole lot more, announcing every song and being an MC in addition to a DJ. He likened it to the differences between black and white church services.

I've been rolling Steven's advice around in my head for months, so it's interesting that so many seem to really despise a prattling DJ.

User avatar
Swifty
Posts: 448
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2002 7:53 pm
Location: NY, NY
Contact:

#18 Post by Swifty » Mon Apr 10, 2006 8:56 pm

I paid particular attention to that conversation considering I was the DJ that night and, much to my chagrin, he called everyone's attention to it. I didn't interpret his comments to call for introducing and/or providing a history lesson about every song, but rather to engage the crowd - ie, "How's everybody doing out there?" To me there's a big difference between the two.

Still, I think someone getting on mic out of obligation to engage the crowd feels awkward and forced. I'm not that kind of person or DJ and if I were to get on mic and scream "Is everyone having a good time?! I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!" it would be weird and corny and horrible. Especially at a dance where the band is Peter Davis & Lindy Hop Heaven.

To me the main gist of his comment was to let it be a party and enable the dancing we do to be fun and loose, directed both at the dancers and the DJs. And if I do say so myself, the afterhours party that night was completely rocking even though I didn't get on the mic once to pump the crowd up.
"Dance like it hurts. Love like you need money. Work when people are watching."

User avatar
CafeSavoy
Posts: 1138
Joined: Mon Nov 18, 2002 6:25 pm
Location: Mobtown
Contact:

#19 Post by CafeSavoy » Tue Apr 11, 2006 6:37 am

Yes, the after party was rockin'. Shout outs to Mike and Ryan for some awesome partying djing.

User avatar
wheresmygravy
Posts: 145
Joined: Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:24 am
Location: Dallas
Contact:

#20 Post by wheresmygravy » Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:17 am

One night I made an effort to make little comments between songs about who the artist is, the era that is was recorded, etc. Little things to 'educate' the dancers, since I feel most dancers have no clue as to who they are listening to. I got quite a bit of positive feedback from the dancers, but I haven't tried it again since to see if i get the same response.

User avatar
la musette
Posts: 55
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 10:42 am
Location: Montpellier, France

#21 Post by la musette » Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:33 am

I would also be terrible at getting on mike to do the whole 'how's everyone doing!?' bit and I would feel really awkward (not that I've tried it). But in the westie scene here they do a bit more of that and people seem to like it.... I think. Though they're usually dancing in a bar, whereas the lindy-ers dance in gyms and ballrooms and there's just a different vibe. The accoustics in gyms and ballrooms are often such that someone talking on mike is unintelligible anyway.

Nate Dogg
Posts: 886
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2002 3:29 pm
Location: Austin, TX

#22 Post by Nate Dogg » Tue Apr 11, 2006 9:43 am

la musette wrote:At the Steven and Virginie weekend in Rochester last year, Steven did a Q&A session. A guy asked him why there aren't more african-americans dancing lindy anymore. Steven's answer included (roughly) that the way dances are officiated is very clean/dry/quiet and he thought that DJ's should make an effort to talk on mike a whole lot more, announcing every song and being an MC in addition to a DJ. He likened it to the differences between black and white church services.

I've been rolling Steven's advice around in my head for months, so it's interesting that so many seem to really despise a prattling DJ.
Probably a matter of talent and skill, if Steven were a DJ, he probably could probably make it work.

I know that I don't currently have the skills, so I usually limit my comments the usual necessary announcements. I need to do a better job with those, it is not easy to be heard where I DJ.

At least in my scene, when other local DJs go beyond the basic announcements (stuff you have to say) and start trying to be cute and witty on the mic, I hear rumblings on the floor.

User avatar
Lawrence
Posts: 1213
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 2:08 pm
Location: Austin, Texas
Contact:

#23 Post by Lawrence » Thu Apr 20, 2006 6:59 pm

wheresmygravy wrote:One night I made an effort to make little comments between songs about who the artist is, the era that is was recorded, etc. Little things to 'educate' the dancers, since I feel most dancers have no clue as to who they are listening to. I got quite a bit of positive feedback from the dancers, but I haven't tried it again since to see if i get the same response.
I've done it a few times and it mostly just highlighted the difference between a live dance and a radio broadcast. Also, not everyone is keyed up about the fact that, say, Duke Ellington is playing in one speaker while Count Basie is in the opposite speaker ("First Time!" CD). Some people will dig it, but for most it just gets in the way or they habitually ignore it and its just not worth breakign the flow. I now do it very rarely, and only if the crowd or moment calls for it.

I also consider the "HOW'S EVERYBODY DOIN' OUT THERE" to be one of the lamest, cliched crowd engager lines available. If you got the charisma to hold the crowd in your hand like Stephen or Manu, do it; otherwise, let the music play.
Lawrence Page
Austin Lindy Hop
http://www.AustinLindy.com

julius
Posts: 818
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2003 11:30 am
Location: los angeles

#24 Post by julius » Fri Apr 21, 2006 3:11 pm

Many if not most DJed non-lindy venues that I've been to often feature an engaging (or not so engaging) DJ on the mike. But as someone pointed out, most often those venues tend to be more party-riffic venues, like bars or restaurants.

Curiously, the only example of another DJed scene where the DJ doesn't ever speak into the mike is one that is the biggest party scene of all: underground techno events. DJs there talk a lot about building up and breaking down and maintaining a flow -- curiously, lindy hop DJs seem to talk about it too. I wonder if its connected.

I certainly think yakking on the mike disrupts any mood that has been established prior.

jmatthew
Posts: 65
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2004 5:16 pm
Location: Corvallis, OR
Contact:

#25 Post by jmatthew » Fri Apr 21, 2006 3:16 pm

I have to wonder how much "research" goes into dj's at bars and clubs talking and it's reaction on the crowd. Personally it always annoys me. Generally speaking someone speaking over a PA is saying something important, so if someone starts talking I start listening. If that person is just wasting my time it's not only disruptive but annoying. I have a feeling that most people feel the same way.
I'm not an obsessive personality. I just happen to pick hobbies that seem to consume my life.

www.lindyguy.com

Toon Town Dave
Posts: 661
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2002 2:52 pm
Location: Saskatoon, Canada

#26 Post by Toon Town Dave » Fri Apr 21, 2006 5:01 pm

Our ballroom dances usually have a DJ with the personality of cinder block announcing the songs. Adds to the lame-ness factor of the overplayed music. The one DJ that was working some of the dances tried to put a little bit of personality into it. I think more of the audience was annoyed by the extra banter. Perhaps it's not so much the DJ's ability but the audience and atmosphere.

User avatar
Matthew
Posts: 421
Joined: Sat May 17, 2003 7:31 am
Location: St. Petersburg, Florida

#27 Post by Matthew » Sun Apr 23, 2006 10:33 pm

It annoys me when a DJ plays a groove track that has a two-minute, bop-ish bass-solo in the middle, losing the feeling of the beat.

Also, I agree that the rambling-on-the-mic business is evil.

Campus Five
Posts: 251
Joined: Mon May 31, 2004 12:57 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Contact:

#28 Post by Campus Five » Sun Apr 23, 2006 11:04 pm

I hate bass solos, generally. Often they are inaudible and muddy - much like the voices of adults on the peanuts.

The rare times I allow them in the Campus Five, I make sure the beat is kept either by keeping the rest of the rhythm section going, or by using stop time.
"I don''t dig that two beat jive the New Orleans cats play.
My boys and I have four heavy beats to the bar and no cheating!
--Count Basie
www.campusfive.com
www.myspace.com/campusfive
www.swingguitar.blogspot.com

User avatar
Allen
Posts: 21
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 1:11 pm
Location: Washington DC

#29 Post by Allen » Mon Apr 24, 2006 1:10 pm

Drum solos to me are just as bad as bass solos. I don't mind them I small doses but after a phrase or 2 it gets old.

User avatar
Cyrano de Maniac
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:11 pm
Location: South Saint Paul, Minnesota
Contact:

#30 Post by Cyrano de Maniac » Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:42 am

Allen wrote:Drum solos to me are just as bad as bass solos. I don't mind them I small doses but after a phrase or 2 it gets old.
This brings up an amazing point.

Here in Minneapolis we're regularly treated to the live sounds of the Wolverines Jazz Trio, and for the past few months a gentleman by the name of Dick Bertolucci has been amazing us with his drumwork. What I noticed, in particular, was that it was very easy to keep dancing straight through his drum solos, regardless of their length. As much as I like their other drummer, the same can't be said for her.

I thanked him the second time I heard him play, and commented on this point. He mentioned that Gene Krupa said that if the dancers stop dancing, you're doing something wrong. As such, whenever dancers are present, Dick intentionally keeps a fundamental rhythm underlying his drum solos. He said that if he's playing a venue without dancers present he'll drop some of that in favor of a little more flair, but he'll always take care of dancers if they're there.

What's this have to do with DJing? Not much, I suppose. But it does mean I'm going to go back and intently listen to Krupa and how his drumming may differ from his contemporaries.

Brent

Locked