Juno Player




Thursday, March 14, 2013

Have a listen to my demo...

Sometimes I get so excited about having my labels music on Beatport.com that I forget that there are other sites hard at work pushing the HSE sound as well.  Have  a listen to the Junodownload.com music player.  We are also available on Amazon.com and you can heaar us on Spotify and Rhapsody.

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

Choosing sides only works at KFC...

There is a war going on in Chicago House music.  It's not broadcast out loud but you can catch rumblings here and there.  It is a multi-front war.  It has different factions.  Let's talk about these factions.

There is the Old School versus the New School.  
There are some DJ's that have been in the game since the beginning of it.  These guys have been spinning since the early 80's and, with the exception of a few breaks here and there, have not taken any time off.   Now let me clarify something about these guys.  It's not that they are legendary but just below that status.  They were the guys I like to call "and the rest" which would be the Professors and Mary Anns.  They have always been there but are just now getting their recognition.  They still have to quote their resumes to get jobs but they have impressive references.  This group feels that in order for them to recognize you as a peer you either have to have the same time in or have to have done something like produced a well known song.  If you started your career 10 years or more later than they did they consider you new school.  That is where the rub is.  They stick together and don't feel that a new guy can understand the struggle they have endured to be the headliner after living in the shadow of legendary DJ's.  In fact they question why they are not legendary in the eyes of the fans and often tag themselves as such.  

Current DJ's versus Newcomers (Up and comers)
Current DJ's have been in the game for at least 10 to 20 years.  They may be the hot guys on the scene right now.  You can tell who they are by how much they complain about the difference of DJing on real turntables versus "Hotplates" or using MP3's and Serato/Tractor programs.  Surprisingly enough the argument used to be about Turntables versus CD turntables but the latter has been quietly accepted because the Virtual DJ programs have taken its place as the demon of the culture.  These guys want to battle all the time because they feel that the new guys have not learned the required skills to have the title of "DJ."

Female DJ's versus Everybody else
Female DJ's feel that they are not given the proper or equal respect as their male counterparts.  Often times they complain that they are not being paid an equal amount or given the same consideration.  At the same time as wanting to be equals many of them often organize all female DJ functions and advertise it as such.  This is the Catch 22 of the struggle along with the overly sensitive nature of DJing with them.  It's like DJing on eggshells.

The Skilled DJ versus the Assisted DJ
This is more extreme than the Current versus Newcomers because there is still a basic knowledge of DJ skills and functions in that struggle.  The Assisted DJ has never used any equipment that does not have a "sync" button on it.  That means that he or she cannot hold a simple blend.  Now there are levels of DJ's out there.  There is the guy that can juggle a beat and scratch his life away all night.  He is the guy that breaks your mixer and blames it on your shitty equipment.  There is the guy that keeps the dancefloor packed all night but that guy plays all the crowd favorites and if you don't go on before him your set seems tame.  Then there is the top 40 guy that fades all his stuff in and out.  He is the "request guy" that will play your requests (kind of like the wedding DJ).  The Assisted DJ tries to do blends but can't count a beat and often brings in music on the wrong count and ALWAYS uses the sync button other wise he would "trainwreck" all over the place.  Real DJ's hate this guy.

Where do I fit in this crazy thing?  Well, my first gig was in Highschool in 1984.  I've produced a few popular songs that have been played in the clubs and on the radio.  I can DJ using turntables, Pitch controlled tape decks, CDJ's, Serato, Tractor or what have you.  I'm known to a few legendary guys as well as the general public.  I guess the only group that I can't say I identify with would be the female DJ's.

This would not be an issue as far as I'm concerned because I judge DJ's on their skill level.  I don't really care about the Gender thing.  If you train your dog to hold a blend and pick out good tunes then I will support him.  I do, however, have issues with the whole female DJ movement.  You see they are not getting gigs as good DJ's.  They are playing up on the gender thing and use it to their advantage until it becomes an issue then they shout "equality."  I don't like that.  I was at a function recently and a female DJ was doing her set.  She is a newcomer but  well known in the industry due to her other activities related to the industry.  I was watching her spin as most DJ's do when at a function of another DJ.  She looked up and started doing this flirty DJ shit that I see most female DJ's do.  At that point my admiration for her skill was somewhat diminished.  I was a fan of her technique and it seemed cheapened by her "Hey look at me!  I'm a sexy female that DJ's!" moment.  Hey lady!  I'm not attracted to you and I did not come here for the Cinemax version of House Music.  What's crazy about it is the more attractive female DJ's seem to not have to learn many skills versus the less attractive ones.  I've met some cold ass female DJ's and have nothing but respect for their skills and I've met some mediocre DJ's who would not get gigs if it wasn't for the fact that they were female.  

I'm also bothered by this "All Female DJ" functions.  I'll look at the roster and say "hey So and So will be there and Such and Such will be too" but then I'll see a bunch of names that I've never seen before and may never see again who are on the bill just because they are females.  That seems as if it would be counterproductive to the DJ's that have real skill if half your roster are train wreck DJ's.  

The world of House Music is judgmental.  Often times you have people that will judge the overall night based on the worst DJ there.  They will say your function sucked because of one fucked up set.  I went to the birthday bash of a legendary DJ and had a ball.  He had legendary performers and DJ's all night with two parties simultaneously pumping the jams but all anybody could talk about was the 5 minutes or so that the power went out on stage.  REALLY?!  That whole night was a great experience and you want to bitch about a glitch.  For some reason House demands perfection.

I really hope that the female DJ's abandon this crusade and just strive to be awesome.  If you are awesome DJ's no one will care if you are female or not.  At least that is how I feel about the whole thing.  Oh, and about that whole not getting paid equally thing?  If you are a headliner the promoters will pay your price to get you.  If you are not getting paid then it is because you are accepting the lower payments and complaining about it later.  You can put a stop to that in the door so if you are not getting what you think you are worth then who's fault is that really?

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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

And the horse you rode in on...

So recently there was a minor crisis in the DJ coalition of which I'm a member.  The issue was that a member that was brought in for her talent as a DJ abandoned the group in favor of another group of DJ's.  She said it was a business decision made to advance her career. That was not the entire truth but it was enough for her to leave.  Now stuff like this happens all the time especially when the DJ feels that membership is not conducive to his or her advancement in this field.  This was the general feeling throughout the group.  Oh, well, on to the next thing.  The problem that some of the members had with it was that she dropped out of the group without telling anyone that she was no longer a member.  It was kind of like she was testing out membership in the other group before she made a commitment to leave the first.   Some of you may say big deal but put it in perspective.  This is like dating a new person before you break up with the old person.  When the old person finds out, they want answers.

Now, as far as I'm concerned, I have a different take on the matter.  Her membership came at a time when the group was actively throwing parties.  I mean A LOT of parties.  She was at a lot of these functions and would DJ some of them.  In her eyes she may have believed that if she was a member she would get to DJ more often at the coalition's functions and she would also have the support of the group at her functions.  I know I personally attended a couple of her functions as a member complete with me wearing the group's t-shirt.  I also know that she had the benefit of the vast talents of the group's producers and songwriters in the form of unpublished music.  If the group believed her membership to enhance the group it was definitely a symbiotic relationship.

The funny thing to me is that her leaving came at a time when the group was hibernating for the winter.  Our activities slowed down during the winter months due to the weather and maybe a bit of plain old laziness.  There was also the fact that a new DJ had been put up for membership.  A person she didn't like andshe made that fact known.  When confronted with the issue she stated that this was a business decision.  That means this move was well thought out and , in her mind, justified   She had convinced herself long before she had to justify it to anyone else.  She also had reasoned that it was the right thing to do because "no one had been supporting her functions and  no one in the group put her on to any functions."  I can't say that I showed up to all of her functions but I did make it to a few.  I didn't have any functions of my own so I could not "put her on" with me.  At that point the question was put up that if that was the case when did she offer to put any of her group members on to her functions.  The whole situation was getting to be like a nasty divorce.

The real issue I had with it was that the only reason she joined was to get more parties for herself.  When that didn't happen like she wanted she jumped ship.  Did she do anything to help the group promote more functions?  No.  Did she bring any of our DJ's up when promoting HER functions?  No.  Did she properly promote the group by wearing our gear at her functions?  Not that I saw, no.  Now I don't lend a lot of credence to female DJ's as it is.  I think it's a gimmick at best because most female DJ's are not very skilled as they are playing up to the fact they are females.  The ones that are skilled get my support because I respect the talent.  If you are good then you are good and your gender has nothing to do with that.  If you suck then you suck.  This particular DJ is good and the loss of her talents was not a good thing for the group.  Will the group suffer?  No, not really.  The group has about 20 really good DJ's if not more.  It just leaves a bad taste in the mouths of the guys that stayed despite the fact we were dormant.

The group she joined believing she would prosper there?  That group recently lost half of its members due to internal strife.  That group also seems to focus on  Rap related artists and music.  She is a House DJ.  I understand that she felt it to be a career advancement but if that is true I don't think she researched it very well.  The truth is she left because she didn't feel like she was making the money she wanted.  The other truth is she left because a new member was proposed and she didn't like the guy for some personal reason and she gave an ultimatum:  Him or Me!  She didn't even wait to see if the guy wanted to join or not and then she got an answer for which she didn't bargain.  That's what happens when you put people in a corner and force them to choose.  You force them to choose whether or not you are worth the trouble.

Now those of you that read this may call a foul saying that I'm putting business out in the open.  I named no names but the rumblings of the internet is enough for you to draw a conclusion over the identity of the person.  I'm not trying to make it public but sometimes you have to vent otherwise things like this will eat you up inside.  Yes, I'm bothered by this because I put my support behind this person.  I attended the same amount of her functions in the last year as I did the group as a whole and I've known these guys for nearly 18 years.  I feel as betrayed as the group does and I can't even talk to her directly to ask my questions.  I feel like the kid in the divorce.

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Your mission, should you choose to accept it,...

To be fair I should mention that I have a mission.  My mission has been to restore the DJ scene here in Chicago.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  But the way I see it if we can at least restore a unified front maybe we can raise the pay standard for DJ's here.

The main problem is that we are interchangeable.  You can hire just about any DJ and get the same results.  Unless it is a specialty party you will get the same music from just about every DJ these days.

Speaking of music maybe you should check out my music.
My music on Beatport.

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