MANTRA: It's all about the music. Again.



benji b strings BBC DJ

One of my mantras when talking about DJing is that the gear is irrelevant – it’s all about the music. And I’ve been quite struck by a couple of clips that typify this perfectly for me, and have made me realise that there’s a lot of good music simply passing me by, and just how a simple piano riff can stir real emotion.

http://youtu.be/p61LaxStygA

First up is Benji B, a BBC DJ who plays a good spread of what one might class as urban. In the above clip, Benji has hooked up with a 16 piece string ensemble and created something pretty damned wonderful in every way. Laying down an eclectic mix of neo-soul, hip hop, trap and a few stops in-between, the result is a wonderful layering of real instruments with original tracks to create mashup, remix and fresh music too. This has actually made me go search out some of the music, as well as beginning to like things that perhaps I would have dismissed as rubbish. And yes, I know someone will say it’s nothing new, but it is nonetheless special.


Click HERE if you can’t see the clip.

The second clip popped up this morning on Facebook. Take a houseful of tipsy people of an age that would remember classic House tunes, and get someone to play a bunch of them on a keyboard. The result is utter magic, especially for old farts like myself who were around at the very start of House music. it matters not that he doesn’t hit every note, and that it’s off-beat at times – what matters is how it makes you feel. Those simple piano riffs stimulated memories of some amazing times. And if the reaction I’m reading in my Facebook timeline is anything to go by, this clip is going to be around and deeply loved for a very long time.

For me the clips underline firstly the importance of the human element in the music. There’s too much audio thrown out of studios that sound sterile and very lacking in the human touch. Perhaps it’s because I can see real people doing real things that I love these so much. I’m appreciating the dedication to learn and the skill that is going into each performance. I’d like them both if I’d only heard them, but actually watching someone craft and create is highly compelling and quite emotional too.

So repeating the mantra that I feel the need to remind you of from time to time – it’s not about the gear. It doesn’t matter if you weave your magic on über-expensive club gear, hunch over a multi-coloured arcade buttoned box, or lug Technics in the back of a van with a bag of just 100 tracks. It equally doesn’t matter if you have every track know to man, all tagged, looped and gridded to perfection and hammer the sync button all night long. Or if you play DJ russian roulette and grab a bag of random vinyl.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC.

T’was ever thus and ever thus shall be.

  • Daniel Morse

    Like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/flipsideclub Mark Stewart

    loving’ the piano party, so many memories … A real “house” party ..:)

  • Anselm

    are there still people that really can beyond “ooooh that bass is so sick” when sober? I miss those, who can feel the real love… pop music’s developement shows what I mean :)

    But still: »And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.«

  • Paco Loco

    Benji B rocks. His show on Radio 1 is essential listening.
    How awesome is the BBC for facilitating stuff like this?? Love it.

  • timsensei

    Wow. Buy that piano man a beer. I’ve goose bumps. Wonderful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/oscartownsley Oscar Townsley

    spot on bud

  • http://www.facebook.com/rock.well.10 Rock Well

    It should never be about anything else.

  • http://www.mobiledjforums.com/ GroovinDJ

    I think piano man lost ‘em a bit with the T Coy at the end!

  • Trik

    Great article and good to keep in mind given all the gear-lust I feel around CES & NAMM time; And every other trade show for that matter.

  • http://twitter.com/DJxDario Bachatero Ruben

    Great point. At the end of the day, is the music that prevails.

  • jarrod fullilove

    Man this project is amazing! I would love to do something like this! Big ups to DJ Benji B playing the Dwele track! Respect from California, US!

    soundcloud.com/uwolrod

    uwolrod.tumblr.com

  • schottky
  • http://twitter.com/accuslut Mike

    These are two of the best videos I’ve seen in a long time. Truly magical stuff here. Thank you DJ Worx. :)

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  • Çhristophe Thomas

    and now for something completely similar

    its
    http://youtu.be/64ln0ZUHH-0

  • Knights of the round table

    Correction, its all about the “older” music as a lot of the new one are shit, just crap, produced the same, sound the same, over, and over, and over. nothing original, nothing genuine.

    Just plain shit