Home of Boston DJ Paul Dailey
Most DJs never get to the “art” part of it. They either play the hits, get drunk and get paid pennies to please a mainstream crowd, or they sit in their bedrooms, playing the most off the wall, boring, underground crap that would only fly at 5 a.m. in Berlin. There is nothing wrong with either of those scenarios, but to me neither gets to the heart of the real “art” behind DJing.
The art of DJing comes from a desire to study it as a legitimate craft. To not just play big records, but to understand the dynamics that make a record big. To understand that DJing is more about psychology and sociology, than mixology, and that you have to work with your crowd not just for your crowd. You have to learn that it is not about what YOU WANT, but finding the balance and interplay between what you want and what THEY NEED. Understanding intensity and that there is lots of subtlety between deep and hard – understanding how to manage emotions and energy levels and volume and play with them all expertly.
Knowing when to drop the bass and when to tweak the filters – not just because you can, but because it is the right time to do so. Knowing when to drop a vocal, when to let a track play so it can trip out the room, and when to take it up a notch. Not just understanding what you are playing now and what comes next, but to think 4 or 5 or 10 records down the road…planning your set as a big, congruent journey – not just a bunch of random records.
When you think like that, on the fly, off the cuff, you are taking DJing beyond button pushing and playing random tracks – to the level of art. When you have an idea in mind for your set at the party tonight, but can get there, see a completely different vibe than you had anticipated, and switch your direction on the spot to accommodate that vibe perfectly – that is when you transform from a DJ to an artist.
This takes years of practice and experience, and not only a love for music but a love for people. You have to picture yourself on the dance floor and what would YOU want at that moment. It doesn’t happen often, even with professional DJs….but when you hear someone like Josh Wink, dropping just the right track and the exact right moment – it is not luck. It is experience and understanding the art of DJing.