The View from the Booth

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Live review: Other Lives

Posted By on Thu, Oct 6, 2011 at 3:10 PM

Other Lives w/ Mates of State, Yawn
Visulite Theatre
Oct. 5, 2011

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Spread out along the front of the stage — pushed there by the piles of equipment for the yet-to-perform headliner — Oklahoma quintet Other Lives drew the audience to the front of the room, if only so the small crowd could get a closer look at the conglomerate of instruments being played.

The band's music fuses the psychedelia of early Pink Floyd with Thom Yorke-esque vocals on a mellow-yet-intricate backdrop. They may have been sandwiched between the stale indie-pop of the appropriately named Yawn and the energetic indie-pop of headliner Mates of State, but Other Lives did enough to impress those in attendance at the Visulite Theatre on Oct. 5.

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Don't even ask me...

Posted By on Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 2:53 PM

I would like to take the time this week to talk to you, Mr. and Ms. Party goer...

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had you come up to the dj booth and make requests, which, every now and then is ok. However, if I’m playing, lets say, an old-school hip-hop party, please don’t come to the booth and ask me to play Gucci Mane or Black Eyed Peas. If I’m playing a House night, do not take the time to come to the booth and ask me for “The Cupid Shuffle.” Especially in a place that is not known for that type of music.

I remember one of my first gigs. It was kind of slow, but I was still doing my thing, keeping the mood right. I was spinning house music, in a club that’s known for house music, and I had a chick walk over to the booth. She was nice and cordial, so I returned her vibes when I spoke. After we exchanged greetings, her true inner demon came out, “Umm….are you gonna play this techno shit all night?”

‘scuse me honey...but uhh... this aint techno, this is house.

“Well, whatever….are you gonna play this all night?”

Yes ma’am! Glad you asked. See, this is a House music club and house music is encouraged here.

“Well, can you play something that we know from the radio….”

...so I start to think about the house versions of radio songs that I have. Like the club versions of John Legend songs and Fantasia songs and stuff, but then she opened her mouth and finished her sentence: “…like Peety Pablo”

I died laughing... right in her face... right along with the bartender.

“Sweetie,” the bartender said “we don’t play that kind of music in here... Sorry.”

See, I thought that was funny the first 200 times it happened. Now, it just pisses me off. Would you go into Red Lobster and ask for a McFlurry? Understand your surroundings, your environment, and respect the job the dj is doing before making that stupid request.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Why am I doing this?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 10, 2009 at 10:12 AM

WHY??? At some point in your life you have to ask yourself this question: Why am I doing this?

Especially when the work you put into it and the hours you dedicate don’t equal out to the money you get. Yes, a lot of DJs don’t mind not getting paid for standing on their feet for four, five or even six hours at a time, and being responsible for the mood of the room ain't no big thang to them.

But when it is, the ones that don’t mind “playing to get their name out” can spoil the game for everyone else. The adage “you get what you pay for” not only applies to strip clubs, but for DJ services as well.

Yes, I occasionally take a free gig, but it’s usually for a friend who already respects what I do. But for some clubs to never offer any type of monetary compensation to the person keeping people entertained and your bar full, well, that’s just bullshit.

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Monday, June 8, 2009

A wedding at 145 b.p.m.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 3:16 PM

I recently drove to Raleigh to dj at a wedding reception, right? Easy money, because the company I work for requires that the bride and groom go through and pretty much hand pick all the songs they want played. They tell us what song they want for the first dance, the father/daughter dance… yadda,yadda,yadda.

Well, this bride and groom put down that they didn’t want any formalities... no song for their first dance, there would be no garter toss... just wanted me to show up and start playing.

Their music of choice was... interesting. Except for an Aaliyah cut here, and a Missy or LL cut there, it was all techno/trance/high energy stuff, at around 137-145 beats per minute.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

There's a special place for me in hell ...

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2009 at 11:48 AM

I cut my teeth DJing on an online reggae radio station. Imagine being a house music DJ on a reggae station... wooooo.

Anyway, the guy who owns the station is cool with the owners of a local reggae club, so we would go in on Friday nights (early of course) and play house, hip-hop, old school r&b — whatever we wanted. We’d have a few of our friends show up ... not too many, but it was cool. It was just good to hear our music over the loud-ass speakers; that was good enough for us.

So, I showed up one night, and there were more cars than usual in the parking lot, so I’m thinking “Hot damn ... we got a crowd tonight!!” Well, we had a crowd alright — a crowd of kids, 7 to 14 years old. “Ay!!! WTF these kids doing in here man?” Come to find out it was a birthday party. What parent rents a nightclub for their kid's birthday party?

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Friday, May 15, 2009

I got mines, get yours...

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2009 at 10:21 AM

One of the hardest things for a dj to do is to get into a club. Well, that’s the second hardest. THE hardest thing to do is to get into a club and get paid.

You’d think that with all of the “demo” cds you’ve made, all of the bar owners you’ve befriended and bar sluts you’ve slept with, setting up a residency or even a one-night gig would be a shoe-in, right? WRONG. It has little to do with skill and often times more to do with politics, and at the center of that political storm is... other djs.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

It's not easy being a DJ

Posted By on Thu, May 7, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Its hard out here for a pimp, but even harder for djs. Especially if said dj has a wife and kids at home. One of the most important things a dj HAS to do (no exception) is make sure his face is seen as much as possible. Especially if his name doesn’t ring out like a Smitty (he can cash a check with just Smitty on it) or Andy Kastanas.

So, you show your face in every club/lounge/bar that your target audience hangs at, but in doing that, you start to neglect things at home. You have to make up your mind quickly as to what level of dj you want to be? Do you want to be the next headliner at Ibiza? Or do you just want to be the next local hero, making enough to justify being out 4 nights a week?

With most of us, that desire to see people sweating to your beat, and making those “daaaaaaamn!!” faces when you put on something dope that they havent heard before, or seeing their minds walk down memory lane just by looking in their eyes when you drop that song they haven't heard in years is almost worth it.

Djing is disease, and sweating for the people is the only cure. The key is finding an understanding mate who enjoys the music just as much as you, and finding that balance between home and HOM (I know they’re no longer with us, but that was too perfect..lol).

Never forget who really has your back when you’re back behind the booth. Yeah, those couple of hundred moving bodies is under your spell for five hours, but when the music stops, who’s the one that’ll let you sleep a little later the next day? Who’s the one that puts up with you blowing the budget on new equipment and new music? Show appreciation for your number one fan, and never take them for granted.

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