I am from the old (DJ) school and think that you can't call yourself a DJ if you can't do perfect mixes. Basta.
When I'm talking mixes I mean the oldschool way, with your ears and your hands.
That is the minimum you have to know if people are letting you play in their places in front of a public. Its your professional pride.
F'course if you play like 50's music and stuff like that it's a bit hard to do perfect mixes sometimes, but otherwise it is really the minimum knowledge you should have as a "DJ".
I am not very technical otherwise, hardly use the loops and any of the other effects ( Hey! I'm not dj'ing at Ibiza or at L'Arc in Paris ;) But I can do really perfect and good mixes.
The worst thing I know is people who call themselves DJ's and are totally braindead and only in it for the money or cause they think it's "cool". Playing for other braindead people with no musical culture or real interest in music what so ever. Slick slacks with Diesel jeans, too much gel in the hair, a too hard UV burnt face flashing with the newest Sinclair, Guetta, Black Eyed Peas or other commercial crap"music" which is unfortunatly common in certain places in Paris and elsewhere.
Luckily I never go to those places. I Just know they exist.
I have never been into dj'ing for the money or to be "cool". Never even thought about it, just went through my head that people apparently does it while I discussed it with someone the other day.
It's not even that well payed if you aren't lucky and stumble over some brand-gigs that pay you 1500 euros a night, but those are rare. Otherwise the money you get for a night is hardly enough to pay a descent dinner at Le Meurice...
I started dj'ing 13 years ago out of pure love for music and a genuine interest to share my amazing discovers and my musical universe with other people. That is how it should be.
I am moving very fast in music. Discover new really good stuff every week and never listen to the same music more than a couple of months. Afterwards I get tired of it and start to look for new stuff. (All kinds of styles, new and old.)
While discussing with other dj's I've understood that we listen to music in a different way then the "mass" does. I take in the whole song for example when I listen. It touches all of my senses and I hear all the different instruments separetely and recognize the voice of the singer immidiately (if there is one.)
The lyrics talks a lot to me and helps intensify the total feeling of the song, specially if there are lyrics I can refer to.
When I hear a random song on the radio for example, I get memory flashes from the song (my memory is strongly associated with music) and I can often tell the singers whole name, the name of the album, which year it was released and who did the original track (if it is a cover)
I often instantly think of another song which would be perfect to mix in with the song I am listening to, guess it's an effect of all dj'ing during the years...)
Some people who are not as interested and responsive to music as I am can have music more as a background sound and doesn't pay so much attention to what they are actually listening to. They are never looking for new music and to know more different styles but listen to their random 15 albums they bought 10 years ago over and over again.
This is so wierd for me and I can't understand it.
Discovering music is a progres over time, it is a bit like developing your personal style . I mean you are not wearing the same clothes and the same style since when you were 18 are ya?.
I Can't understand people who only listens to and like one style in music either. That is so narrowminded.
I like everything from jamaican reggae to ska to dubstep to rocksteady, rock, pop, 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's,60's,70's and 80's music, hip hop, funk, soul,electro, some house, some minimalist, new and old disco, italodisco, old chansons française, singers and songwriters,etc -just everything that is good and that touches my heart.
I think it is very important to be open to all kinds of styles in music when you are a dj. To have the knowledge . That makes you a much better dj and you understand the roots of where the music you play comes from and you can play with it in your set and do a journey through music for example.
Dj'ing is all about showing people what they didn't knew they loved.
Get them discover new cool artists and tracks, remixes and versions and be amazed. Just like when you discovered it. Dj'ing is not to play tired old Sinclair hits from your laptop, if you do that you should stop right now...
Dj is an art for those who knows how to use it.
I just know that I will continue to listen to music and to dj for as long as I live.