One of my earliest and fondest memories of being a kid was having a Bruce Lee poster on my wall. All the way back in the early 70s, I was influenced by this cool guy who could kick serious butt. But it was only later in life that I understood that he was so much more than a movie star. And I’ve just been reminded of this after watching “I Am Bruce Lee”. He eventually viewed his classical Chinese Wing Chun Kung Fu training as limited and absorbed the parts of other styles (such as fencing, boxing and grappling) that he considered useful into his own Jeet Kune Do style.
This morning, this really got me thinking, and thinking hard about how so many DJs are fixed and limited in their perspectives. There’s an assumption that as a DJ, you have to hang your hat on a particular musical style, and in doing so, only stick to the prescribed hardware. And if anyone dare disrespect your style or your sensei then you will fight them to the death (aka forum flame war) defending your prescribed genre’s honour. A short trip around any DJ forum will soon display streams of this type of behaviour.
Speaking as someone who has come from a mixed Hip Hop and House heritage, I tend to not be fixed in my styles. I like to do long Trance style blends with Hip Hop, and hardcore cut over Techno, and will try to do this on whatever gear I choose, if only these days because it’s fun to try different things. I have never liked to be limited or held back by arbitrary barriers. I see them, and step past them. Some of the best fun I’ve had in recent times have been applying a Hip Hop mentality to controllers.
So what say you? Think hard about how you DJ, your styles and gear – do you stick to established dogma and only use what is accepted? Or do you look at what works for you and your own creativity? Is a pair of decks and a mixer with real vinyl just fine for you? Or do you have a real hybrid of musical tastes and hardware in your DJ life? Also, who do you feel are the DJs who embrace different technologies and genres to deliver a diverse performance?
Please do not turn this into a digital vs vinyl discussion. If that’s what you think this is, then you have missed the point. I simply urge you not to be fixed in your approach, to have a look around at the technology that’s out, to try it out and come away with stuff that works for you. Try new things – you might like them. I don’t like seafood, so for a long time I assumed I wouldn’t like tuna. I was quite wrong.