In recent weeks well known musical acts have been receiving a most unceremonious boot of the DJ decks. The debate rages amongst the EDM heavy weights is it okay for musicians who have no previous DJ experience to call themselves DJ, and is there a problem of sacrificing quality DJing because venues are catering to the lowest denominator and only playing the top 40 hits.
The most-quoted reason for this rather unsavoury mishaps to well known artist such as Tommie Sunshine, Sia, Calvin Harris and Cassian, ‘is the set wasn’t working for the bottle-service crowd‘. Sia an Adelaide Native now based in the U.S was forced to cut her live DJ set short after a disagreement with the club ‘The Bank’ owner.
“The general manager called Kanye West and Jay-Z, Big Sean and Snoop Dog ‘elevator music’, asked me to play something up-tempo so I played the ever crowd pleasing Toxic, by Britney Spears,” Sia told inthemix via Twitter. “Britney hasn’t had a f*cking hit record in 3 years! Current Top 40!” [the manager said], so I played Carly Rae Jepsen which wasn’t house enough for him. I am not a fan of doof doof music. It sounds like an alarm system to me. They had approved my playlist earlier so it was a shock to be told to play dance music of which I am not a fan. I don’t have or know anything about that kind of music, so he got more and more juicehead vein throbbingly irate to the extent of chest bumping my 122 pound manager, a quarter of the size of him. I felt scared and uncomfortable so we left.”
Another artist to suffer the same fate is Tommie Sunshine, who playing at the New York club Stalwart, who was kicked off to the decks, “A bit past halfway into my set I was informed that I was being taken off the decks while standing with Askay from MTV & my booking agent Cody from AM Only” Tommie recounted. “We all had a good laugh about it because everyone is now an expert of this music, especially the ones who pay BIG $ to consume it. Not to mention the clowns who supposedly ‘run’ clubs.”
“Basically their #1 priority is their ‘clients’ who spend money in bottle service & what they say dictates the music direction. The DJs who have to play to people who act this way don’t deserve this kind of abuse. Not only will I never play there again but they have a huge mountain to climb for pissing off AM Only who sent them both Skrillex & Wolfgang Gartner for shows there & now they pretty much spit in my & my agent’s faces.”
Although this behaviour is despicable, should people like Sia be able to call themselves a DJ and be booked into big jobs on their name alone with no credits as a DJ? On the flip side for people like Tommie Sunshine who are well respected DJs, this behaviour denotes to a rather more sinister problem in live venues- that money is the driving factor rather then quality of the music, and the main feature that dictates these venues is increasing revenue even to the detriment of its hired artist clientèle. Perhaps clubs are actually shooting themselves in the foot as these big stars are the ones in long run that could actually be the money makers for clubs with their fame and popularity.