DJs; it’s a wide spectrum, it’s weird to associate Terry Wogan and Steve Aoki in the same category, but ultimately they’re both DJs, and they both simply pick songs to play for their listeners.
Yesterday I saw DJ Fresh while holidaying in the Greek island of Kavos- classy I know, and after about two hours of listening to another DJ ‘warm up’ the crowd, Mr Fresh finally graced us with his presence to perform for us. When I say perform, I mean we simply watched the top of his desperate bleached hair floating about behind his decks while his hypeman- whose name I’ve already forgotten, did all of the work interacting with the crowd and putting on a show. I stuck around for around 15 minutes before signing off on the night and retiring to my hovel of a hotel room.
What bemuses me is the crowd’s reaction and anticipation for someone like DJ Fresh, the way they screamed it was as if Tupac, Freddie Mercury, Jimmi Hendrix and James Brown had all come back to life or something. He churned through the expected hits, ones that anyone could have predicted- The Next Episode, Seek Bromance, Earthquake, and injected them with a bit of bass, seems lazy, but that’s just me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love my pop music, chuck me an Olly Murs track and you’ll hear here a stellar rendition right back, but it’s one thing to press play and watch the dollars roll in, have a bit of passion about your work, some charisma, some stage-presence, don’t just hide behind your decks.
In direct contract to DJ Fresh, at Glastonbury there were a DJ duo (who’s names I’ve also forgotten) that put every shred of themselves into their performance. They were obviously seasoned Glasto-goers- rocking full dreadlocks, lineup tees from ’94, festival bands up to their elbows, and as such they were up for it as much as we were. As unknown DJs they somewhat daringly didn’t go the obvious route, instead they dropped tracks like a rejuvenated take on Shank & Bigfoot’s Sweet Like Chocolate, and a revamped take on Blu Cantrell & Sean Paul’s Breathe, which collated with indie garage and hard-hitting bass tracks that very few seemed to know, made for one of the most unexpected highlights of the festival, and to think we only stumbled into the tent because it was raining.
As such, where does the credibility lie when it comes to DJs? At the end of the day they are all doing the same job, but the manner in which the approach the task surely determines their ‘talent’? Now DJ Fresh has had some significant success in the charts, numerous top tens and high-brow collaborations are under his belt and some of his tracks aren’t even that bad to be fair. So what annoys me is his laziness, he’s where he needs to be with more money and popularity than he could imagine, so now he can trundle along to his residencies and not even put any effort in, which I think is just frustrating considering the DJs at Glasto I’ll probably never hear about again.