Favorite ThisWhat it is to be a DJ: The Philosophy

Published: November 29, 2010

 

By: Afro Monk (www.afromonk.com)

It’s 2010 and in a few weeks we’ll be entering 2011. Music in today’s world is accessible anywhere with technology. The idea of you even getting to this page right now is quite incredible. Technology is everywhere and allows us to do so much in the world, including music and things that make music even more definable. Right now I’m jamming out to a random track posted on Facebook; it’s a group of musicians many of you probably know, recorded live in 1996. Now that things like this are completely available to us if we so desire, what do we do with it? Some of us choose to just build and collect music that we hear on the radio (how does it still exist?), put it on our various forms of mp3 player, or have it randomly on our computer because of some friend.  Considering the amount of music that is possible to find via the internet, friends, internet radio, etc…some of us chose to take it to another level and share it with you in a group environment.  We are called DJs.

I’ve heard people joke around lately about the whole concept of a DJ being a glorified jukebox.  In a way they are right, I’ll admit it. The difference is we are actually going out and finding the music and playing it for you. Could your iTunes shuffle do the same thing and play exactly what you like? Yeah, well Yes. The difference is how boring is that really? Nothing new, the same artist shuffled in together (yeah you know shuffle sucks), and ultimately no story being told. A story? What? Yeah, that’s right. When you ultimately pick your own playlist and tracks depending on your mood, you’re essentially playing a small piece of your life with music that allows you to just listen as you go. That’s how it is for me at least. I can’t allow music to just be there if I don’t want it to be there. It’s gotten to that point.

The other day I was driving and randomly was reminded about that dreadful day as child, Show and Tell. It came to me because it’s sort of what being a DJ is, but with music. You go out and collect pieces of music that you feel connected to, and share them with everyone. At first I was just listening to music, but then it consumed me. The life of a DJ can get so complex and deep that it’s changed my life forever. It can be a simple hobby that you take up and do on your free time at home, or it can become something that takes you all around the world. It truly is that remarkable.

The life of a DJ who devotes their time to music is much more complex than most people think. It’s ultimately the job of the DJ to listen to obscene amounts of music you normally wouldn’t be subjected to, unless you absolutely love music. There are many of you who I think feel that way about music because let’s be honest, how did you even get to this and then take the time to read this.  The main difference is that a DJ’s job is to select and find music they are going to share with the world. Some would say being a DJ is just about hitting play. They are wrong. The true payoff is being able to go through all the music, and find what you are looking for, to tell the story about a certain time of your life. There is so much music out there that you can use to create a story and share a piece of you. The journey is about finding the music that makes you feel good. The true art is sharing a piece of yourself with the world.

Being a DJ can become a lifestyle. Two years ago my life became quite different. I finally bought some gear and start playing music. We all have an epiphany at some point where we say we want to do something new, since life has changed. I took up DJing. It became obvious that it wasn’t normal how much music I listened to, and how much I searched for it.  
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This is the first installment of a weekly column I’ve been given on The UNTZ. This is Part One of What it is to be a DJ.  I plan on writing more about this subject, and felt this would be the best way to introduce myself and tell you a bit of what I do, why I do it, and how I do it. I’ll be touching upon my take of many different things going on in the music community and several other topics in regards to music.


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