Paperhouse: On DJing

During the summer, superstar EDM DJ deadmau5 caused a bit of controversy when he wrote a Tumblr post that called out fellow DJs (and himself) for the lack of skill involved in DJing. He wrote, “I think given about one hour of instruction, anyone with minimal knowledge of ableton and music tech in general could DO what im doing at a deadmau5 concert.”

As one might expect, throngs of DJs lashed out at deadmau5 for his oversimplification of their performances. While aspects like song selection are undoubtedly important when DJing, the more relevant point deadmau5 brought up is the lack of improvisation in the EDM world.

Most major EDM DJs show up to a venue not only with their DJ equipment, but also with a massive light and sometimes fireworks show — shows that are planned out, moment by moment. Although the DJ may be twisting knobs, triggering effects, running loops, and making dramatic gestures, these movements are all pre-planned.

I’m not saying lights and fireworks are a bad thing, but when it comes to the point when an artist lets his live act dictate his musical performance, I have a problem with it. Deadmau5 and most other EDM DJs are like pop stars who lip sync their shows because actually singing would interfere with their dancing.

The creative tools that modern DJs have at their disposal are endless, and part of being a DJ is reaching beyond your comfort zone. Don’t plan out your sets track by track and don’t script out your knob turning. There are scores of DJs who follow this, still have fancy flashing lights, and still lead the crowd into a dancing fury.

So go home and start DJing. You’ll be a professional within the hour — unless it really isn’t as easy as the man with a flashing mouse head makes it out to be.

(Originally published in The Tartan)

Welcome to Fall Schedule

The leaves may fall, but WRCT stays strong.

The days are getting shorter, school is back in swing, and soon the trees will be changing color. You know what that means! It means the Earth is in the part of its orbit where the northern hemisphere is tilted away from the Sun so that we get less exposure to its rays in a 24-hour period. It ALSO means WRCT’s Fall Schedule is up and running, full of vim and vigor.

After a somewhat uncluttered summer, WRCT’s DJs have come back from their vacations ready to kick some auditory ass. We’ve got the olds, the news, and the what-the-heck-is-this-I-can’t-evens. “Consolidation” is now followed by “Post-Progressive Disorder” (so you can have a full 5 hours of loud), the “Power Block of Power” continues to dominate Thursday afternoons, Zombo still messes with your brain on Friday, and we’ve got our good friend Juan doing “music to ink by” from the wilds of Vermont!

If none of those sound appealing, just give the schedule page a quick glance and I’ll bet you find something you like, especially since we have near solid live-programming from 8 a.m. until 2 a.m. everyday. Stay tuned, keep those dials at 88.3, and maybe you’ll find something you didn’t expect.

For the week of September 11th, 2012

  1. Wild Nothing: Nocturne
  2. Patti Smith: Banga
  3. Robert Pollard: Mouseman Cloud
  4. Passion Pit: Gossamer
  5. Nickodemus: Moon People
  6. Minus the Bear: Infinity Overhead
  7. Golden Retreiver: Occupied with the Unspoken
  8. Dr. John: Locked Down
  9. Various Artists: Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute To Fleetwood Mac
  10. Faceless: Autotheism

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