Focusing a raging river into a joyous stream.
I have too much music. So much it's actually become somewhat difficult to DJ. I have tons of awesome songs, but now when the hour arrives I often find I'm paralyzed by indecision. What to play first? Will I forget something? Didn't I just play that song last time I spun? How can I justify playing the same music twice when I have SO MUCH other stuff that deserves insertion in to the rotation.
I think this started to happen when I switched from CDs to iPods. With CDs you had a finite number of tunes to choose from, and you had to physically flip through sleeve after sleeve of aluminum, often reading your own itty-bitty Sharpie printing song titles on homemade mixes of the current faves to cut down on the sheer number of discs to tote around, and this created a sort of clarity that can a=only be achieved through pre-editing your number of selections. Now I have songs that I have never played in a set, buried under 75GB of other songs I have never played, and I only have band names or then song titles and nothing else to help me navigate the sheer influx of options. It gets dizzying. I actually find myself growing jealous of the copmuter DJs, envious of their ability to browse their libraries with some sort of context, context and iPod just does not allow.
I've suspected this for a while, but it wasn't until I recently stumbled across a couple DJ sets from 2006, which would have been right around when I switched from CDs to iPods, and realized they had a vitality that I don't notice in my current sets.To be fair, I probably thought theyr were tired back then, but i do think there's more of a playful breadth to the rediscovered set-lists.
Part of it can't be blamed on the iPods. Part of it is due to the fact that I probably sift through so much more music than I did back then -- which in itself is kind of mind-boggling because back then (a whopping 4 years ago) I was already beginning to reel from the volumes of music I was sucking down-- and this in itself causes a sort of paralysis. But even this could be alleviated by either allowing for more visual context or pre-editing related to DJ sets.
So is there a solution? Is admitting you have a problem the first step? I assume that the next logical step will be DJing from a computer, should the day ever come where I have enough disposable income to afford a computer I can dedicate solely to DJ gigs. Until then? I'm just going to have to work that much harder to manage the mammoth river of music at my disposal and focus it into a single rushing stream to baptize anyone within earshot with something honest and joyous.
Top image: Aaron Landry