"Stop playing the same s**t": The DJ gripe of 2012

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For sheer comedic value, Paris Hilton’s recent DJ debut far exceeded expectations. The dancing, the mini-flag-waving, the idle hands: all brilliant. However, the set-list was somewhat revealing in its similarities to some of the scene’s biggest earners, with a roll-call of familiar remixes, a capellas and mash-ups. With festival sets often published online after the event, it’s easy to feel dance music déjà vu these days.

Are too many DJs just rolling out the same easy wins? It’s a burning topic at the moment, and one that inthemix heard Electric Daisy Carnival founder Pasquale Rotella discuss in Vegas recently. “A lot of the big guys play the same tracks,” he said bluntly. “Eventually, we’re going to pull back on the line-up being so stacked.” Expert party-starter A-Trak summed up the mood this week in two Twitter posts, a sentiment that was then echoed by Laidback Luke.


“You look at dudes’ playlists after Ultra or EDC and it’s the same Beatport hits with a Gotye a cappella or Daft mash-up,” he added. “Zzzzzzz be original.”

It’s something that’s been on the mind of turntablist veteran Z-Trip, too. “I just wanna see more,” he wrote recently. “More skills, different music selection, more risks, more curveballs, less playing it safe, less predictability, less formula. I miss the inspiration I would get watchin’ masters put in work.” We heard a similar line from Armin van Buuren when he got on the phone to inthemix last month. “I was brought up in the days of Sasha and Digweed, Carl Cox, Judge Jules, Paul Oakenfold: these huge sets that build and build,” he says. “I guess people don’t have the patience for that anymore. We live for the quick fix.”

So why the repetition? One theory is that mainstage DJs roll up to a festival with the set already mapped out – it’s just too bad that the other guy is doubling up. Skrillex’s manager Tim Smith put it like this in the current issue of Rolling Stone: “Most DJs mix on the fly, but there are people out there with prerecorded sets who have very, very intricate production. And that can give the consumer a better show.” It’s a topic that keeps returning to ITM, so what’s your $0.02?

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