Here in part 2 of my interview with DJ C-Reality he explains some of the inner workings of DJing, the personalities of Djs and some advice from a purist on how to get stating in his line of work. If you missed part 1 you can check it out here An Interview With DJ C-Reality: He’s Not Just A DJ He’s A Hip Hop Purist Pt.1
Kurt Cobain, late lead singer of “grunge” band Nirvana, once said “people who really love music usually make it” (paraphrase). DJ’s don’t exactly “make” music- or do they? And where do you think DJs fit into the Cobainian Theory?
DJ’s totally make music, real DJs that is. A DJ has the ability to be any sound that exists on that record, whether its an instrument, a voice, an effect, anything.The art of scratching is so complex and involved that even after 20 years of playing I am constantly learning new things. Working with groups as I have done has give me a whole different outlook on how cutting can be applied like any other instrument. Just look at some of the things Rob Swift has done,working with all kinds of musicians. Its the human jukebox DJ I spoke about earlier that gives the real guys a bad name. Just like today’s bullshit rappers give real lyricists a bad name. People on the outside of the culture are only exposed to the fake shit unfortunately, so they equate DJ’s and MC’s with what the see and hear on TV and radio.
I’m just going to ask the question flat out and elaborate later if you like: Are DJs manipulative?
I think we can manipulate hearts and minds, and really have the ability to make people feel a certain way, which is very gratifying, I know as a person I am not manipulative at all, all the years I have been doing this and all the people I have worked I don’t think any of them would call me manipulative at all..
I didn’t think so. I don’t want you to think I’m coming at you sideways! This question comes from a study I read about the personality profiles of bloggers. I thought it would be more negative but it mentioned bloggers being people who crave new experiences etc. I don’t know of any studies on DJs unfortunately and I wondered about the characteristics of the persons attracted to this profession. Are the persons generally attracted to this job particularly sensitive to people’s moods and adept at changing those moods?
I think we are sensitive to people’s moods, but more than that I think most of us have a feeling of our own or a mood we may be in at that moment that we want to share with an audience. It’s almost like saying,”Hey, I feel this way tonight how about you?, can you relate to me?”
Photo credit: “DJ C-REALITY with Turntables” by Gigi Bio
When I found out DJs played certain song to make people leave when the party is ending I thought that a strong effect to have on people. I think you use your powers wisely, sir. In a conversation with a friend DJ Jimmy Sky he said “ultimately the DJ’s job is to educate”. He explained if the crowd likes one song it’s the DJ’s job to expose them to something similar but maybe more obscure or another version as opposed to “jukeboxing it”. Does DJ= educator? Doctor, healer, shaman? What profession do you see DJing as being most like?
I think of DJing more as atmosphere setting.You really have the power to set the tone of the evening, granted you are playing for an audience that “gets it”. I think that’s why a lot of the early clubs years ago like The Loft and The Garage required that people be members, so that they could create that family kind of atmosphere and not have to deal with people who just wanted to go out and party.
Photo credit: “Sorry Ladies, This DJ is Taken” by Gigi Bio
Would you like to offer any advice to anyone wanting to be a DJ or anyone that thinks they already are one?
To people that want to become DJ’s I would say you have to make a decision as far as what they want to be able to do as a DJ. Do I want to become a human jukebox and DJ weddings and Christmas parties, or do I want to learn the most I can about my craft and really try and perfect my skills so I can take it to the next level.To people that may think they are already DJ’s, I think they need to ask themselves, “How much am I really doing for this art form?, have I learned anything along the way, or am I happy with being able to make a little money and just consider DJing my side job. Don’t get it twisted, some of you guys may get all the glamorous gigs and get the big checks, but when you see real cats play you know what time it is! The audience may not care, but deep down inside you know!
What (music) are you listening to these days?
As far as music I am listening now, not really much in the way of Hip Hop I hate to say. There are not many artists that give me that feeling that I remember getting from this music years ago. I listen to a lot of Jazz, classic breaks, and anything that is soulful. Soul I think is the most important element of any song, that is how I personally make my own connection with the artist.