What is a DJ?

Wedding DJs IllinoisThe hardware of the disk jockey has changed dramatically in the last two decades. Analog turntables fueled by crates of records have gradually given way to midi controllers and laptops. While a few DJs have stalwartly refused to abandon the tools and traditions of the past, many others have embraced the versatility and accessibility of the new music making machines of the digital age.

This rapid and profound paradigm shift, the sort of which happens only once in a while in popular music, has inspired a heated debate among musicians and fans as to what exactly constitutes a DJ. Moreover, what makes a DJ a good DJ. So-called push button DJs have been alternately praised and ridiculed by their peers for their new approach to the craft.

Ideally, a DJ is an active participant within an audience, and as such they are expected to act and react to the energy and mood of the crowd. Does the somewhat more hands-off technique of these new digital age DJ’s detract from this intimacy, or should we judge a DJ’s merit based on the content of their beats alone? To think that we might find definitive answers to these questions in the near future would be downright audacious of us as critics. What we can address, however, is that ethereal connection with an audience that all DJs strive for, regardless of the equipment at hand.

It might happen at your cousin’s wedding reception. It might happen in the delirious heat of a summer block party, or in the smokey light of some dank hole in the wall venue on the other side of town. That moment of religious exaltation, of cathartic release when the perfect track is dropped at the perfect moment. Innumerable variables fall into place in just the right order and a minute and seventeen seconds of bliss is born. This is all we can really hope for from our DJ hosts. That minute and seventeen seconds when we forget that we think that we don’t like to dance. So why not go easy on the DJ, and try to look past the LED lit gadgets they swapped for the old Audio-Technica? We might as well stick around and hope for another minute and seventeen.

If you have any questions about DJs or wedding music, contact the professionals at A Special Event DJ.


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