Wednesday, December 06, 2006

christmas gig


I'm supposed to DJ this office Christmas party this year. It’s this huge digital art commerce company based in the west village. It pays more than any gig I’ve ever had at a club. At least one in the same city I live in. I have to bring my equipment down there, and because the guy who’s hiring me put hard stress on the quality of sound and volume, I might rent friends speakers for the night. It’ll cost me $150 bucks, but I’ll look more professional and the gig pays enough so that I still come out a few hundred ahead.

What I'm most concerned about is the music this guy wants me to play. He made it very clear to me that there should be nothing considered “deep,” as he understood the crowd and most of them would be older and just want to hear some fun music to dance to towards the end of the night. “They don’t want to hear anything do intense, just a lot of recognizable vocals and some upbeat mixes”

He seemed like he knew what he was talking about. He spoke quickly, like he was stuck in a conversation with me, and really needed to wrap things up. He pointed out where we would set up the decks. A cramped corner next to a set of stairs that wound down to the lower levels of the office. I swept the room with my eyes, gauging the amount of sound I would need. A lot. The offices are built in a converted parking lot. Huge ceilings, cement walls. My home stereo set up would hardly suffice. Right then I made the decision to rent extra speakers.

I nodded my head and said, “sure,” a couple times and, “no problem,” a few more. Then we shook hands and I sent a text message to my friend that was just a bunch of dollar signs. I asked if he could send me a playlist, just a small one, and I would fill in the blanks.”

He did.

Now before I really get into the list let me be clear: I can play whatever style music, especially if you are paying me well, but at some point I have to step in and veto some tunes, because honestly, no one wants to hear that crap. Anyway, so this guy sends me his list and I'm looking over it and not seeing much of a problem, like I said, I can play whatever. But I have to admit, at some points I'm sort of concerned. Lets discuss:

Early: Christmas - New stuff: Mariah, Sarah McClauchlin, etc. Some older stuff: Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday - Some good lounge music mixed in first thing would be good. There's a CD by DJ Dimitri called Sacred Bleu - don't know if you know that one or pretty much anything Kruder & Dorfmeister or Zero 7 put out.

This is not a problem. I don’t have to mix Christmas music. No one is expecting any jaw dropping blends of Jingle Bell Rock with the Silent Night vocal dropped over the chorus. I own loads of lounge and downtempo records, having worked for one of the bigger downtempo labels in the world for 5 years. Easy. What’s next?
We can do a little top 40 for transition - Christina, Justin, Deborah cox, gnarls barkley, outkast, beyonce. I'd personally like to stay away from reggae i.e. sean paul stuff

This is pretty easy too. I'm not the best hip hop and R&B DJ, but I can put 2 records together fine. Plus, it’ll be a good excuse to get all the cheesy pop tunes that I pretend not to like the rest of the year. Some secretary of his flipped out when he said “no reggae” so it turns out I will be playing some Sean Paul after all. Bully for her!

I'm not big on a long transition period. I pretty much want to take the tempo right up and get these people moving. We can feel out the crowd. The partiers will stick around and others will leave early. Think peak hour vocals or tea dance on fire island:
Ok this is where I get confused. He wants to go directly from Christina Aguilera into some main floor boys with no shirts on apple martini spilling crystal meth in the bathroom progressive house music? I thought he wanted something that was “fun” and “accessible” to the picky middle age crowd I would be playing for. Suddenly I'm wondering if I’d sound good regardless of the equipment I bring. Oh well, i've never gone from Frank Sinatra to Peter Rauhofer before. It’ll be an experience.

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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at downtownalleys.blogspot.com.