Friday, December 17, 2010

The Conduit

At the end of Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton eloquently distill the DJ's essence, what in my opinion every DJ should constantly aspire to be: a conduit; a channel through which pure creative energy flows.

"The disc jockey has been with us for almost a century now. In that time he has been ignored, misunderstood, despised, worshipped and adored. He has stayed in the forefront of music, twisting and shaping it into fresh forms, perverting technology and forcing from it stunning new sounds. He has conjured a series of novel genres in his endless search for material to keep his dancers moving. In the U.S. the DJ created amazing music, then the UK gave him a home and made him a star. He continued his magic and around him there grew a musical culture more revolutionary and more enduring than any before.

"Having forged music more truly universal than any preceding it, the DJ is arguably a conduit for celebration and communion on a global scale. It's possible that the DJ is the ultimate expression of the ancient shamanic role; that the DJ is the greatest witchdoctor there has ever been, unmatched at shaking us out of the drudge of the day and into the life of the night.

"Why do we worship at the knees of the record-slinger? Because he is occasionally capable of divinity. When it all connects in a club, there's nowhere you can have more fun.

'A really great DJ is capable of making a bad record sound okay, a good record sound great, and a great record sound fantastic - by the context they put them in, and what they put around them. How they steer them. They can do all kinds of tricks. A great DJ can make people spontaneously cheer just for a little squelchy noise. Which is quite insane really. A little noise like wha-wha-wha and people go, 'Yeeeaaah!' They can have people clapping along to a cymbal, just by the way they're bringing it in. When it's done well, it's fantastic. If it's done really well, it can be quite transcendental.'

"It's a mystic art indeed. It seems so banal, but it holds the potential of phenomenal, inexpressible power. A great DJ can arouse more raw emotion in his audience than the composer of the most bittersweet opera, or the author of the most uplifting novel, or the director of the most life-affirming film.

"When you're DJing and you're great at it, you're not playing records, you're playing the dancefloor. You're not just mixing tunes, you're mixing energy and emotions, mixing from surprise into hope and happiness, cutting from liberation to ecstasy and love. When it goes right, you're inside the bodies of everyone in the room, you know what they're feeling and where they're going, and you're taking them there. You're sweeping them off the earthly plane and transporting them to a higher place. You're moving their bodies and their souls with the music that flows from your fingertips.

You're putting them in the moment."

1 comment:

  1. I remember reading this part of the book before I started DJing. It changed my life. I love you!