There was a time when few people were DJs. That was when you had to pay to collect vinyls. Finding that rare record was a big deal.
DJs spent a lot of time going around record shops and charity shops looking for killer tunes, undiscovered classics and cool samples. Getting dubplates was a sure sign of being in the know, of being connected.
In those days people who had 100 tapes or records (and later CDs) had a ‘music collection’. They were considered to know something about music.
And then came along the mp3: an equation to squeeze down a track to its bare bones, taking up virtually no room. Along with that came the iPod and the mp3 player. Hand in hand came legal and illegal downloading. Sites offered recommendations ? if you like this then you might like this. MySpace exploded and suddenly everyone seemed to have a massive music library and as a consequence everyone suddenly seemed ‘to know something about music’.
With so many people carrying 40, 60 or 80 gigabytes of music around with them it was sure to happen that many of these people would want to inflict their music tastes on everyone else. And so everyone became a DJ. Overnight people decided that vinyls were a thing of the past and that computer programs like Serato and Ableton Live were where it’s out. No need to buy records, just download them for pennies or nothing and plug your computer into the mixer and away you go.
In my opinion this is awful. The art of mixing is dying. The art of scratching is dying. As the skill of the DJ becomes less, so the showboating and boasting becomes greater.
You can’t get a job anymore as a DJ unless you are famous. There was a time when they let DJs play at the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan. Now it is closed shop. It is strictly the Thai crews with a few hanger-ons. Some of the bars in Bangkok and clubs in Koh Tao are a bit more open to new DJs but really the whole scene is being ruined by CD and computer DJs. They love their music and are convinced everyone else will do to. They forget there is an art to DJing. iPods and computer programs like Serato have killed DJ music as far as I’m concerned.