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Re: playing with a live DJ

Matt Davignon wrote...
> I do completely improvised stuff with media sources. I guess I could be 
>called a DJ these days. (I do jockey discs, but my equipment is a far cry 
>from the standard DJ table.) I'm personally very happy to play with 
>others in an occasional, improvisational setting. I'm not very interested 
>in becoming a regular member of a "band" though. The reasons are:

One big reason is that you're uslally stuck with ONE terrible band name... 

I played a couple weeks back with a very young dj... it was two 
guitarists, keys and him spinning... I just took his signal into my mixer 
(and messed with it a bit with my sound tweakers as well... I could see 
reversing the arrangement and having him mix us dj style). 

First it was a good learning experience for all of us. Second: the dj 
seemed really stoked and was excited about expanding his vinyl library in 
search of more 'appropriate' sounds... (whatever that may be). I'd wager 
that revisiting this grouping (or a smaller one) from time to time would 
produce some great music. (So I guess I better email him!) 

> -I have way too many projects and ideas to fulfill (including 
>non-Dj-esque ones) to commit to spending a large amount of time doing the 
>same thing with the same musicians.

This is how it's working for me as well... If I want any chance of 
realizing some of my personal esthetic, I need some isolation and time to 
work on it. At the same time I try to play with a variety of people in 
rotation so I'm getting new perspectives as well and avoiding that 
plateaued feeling.

> -Patterns I've noticed with local musicians (LD'ers who I've met are 
>much better than these guys) : Guitarists (not often willing to let other 
>instruments occasionally be the "lead" instrument), Drummers (always want 
>to be loud and rockin' - don't seem to have an appreciation for dynamics 
>or quieter moments), Singers (want to be the centerpiece of a band), and 
>other DJ's (often want the rest of the band to just 'play along' with 
>their pre-recorded techno grooves).

You get the same problem with a big group of loopers though as well. The 
stereotypical thing being overly dense and repetitive. It takes a lot of 
discipline to interact in a groupthink-balanced way and inject variety 
into the landscape. It's nice to cover a broad dynamic spectrum as well... 
More discipline. Just relaxing and actually taking a break to listen and 
enjoy the other players seems lost at times. (Myself included here.) 

> -I'm kind of a control freak when it comes to actual songs. 

Yep... why have other people screw them up when you can screw it up better 
yourself! 8-)

> -I'm not crazy about the idea of "Play this progression of notes 4 
>times, then this progression 8 times, then play the chorus."

A problem for me as well... I like goal oriented situations like pit 
orchestra/theater stuff, or upcoming sessions where you learn something 
quickly, get a vibe, do the show, and it's over baby! No ongoing band-like 
misery requiring constant baby-sitting to keep things moving forward. 

> -I simply haven't met the right musicians yet. It would be really nice 
>to meet some musicians who play instruments outside of the standard 
>guitar/bass/drums/keys, or who would be interested in trying really 
>adventurous things (like trading instruments with other musicians in 

A good rule for trading instruments is having the throw-and-catch them... 
A sure crowd pleaser! I'm a little more stuck in my guitar playing 
persona, but striving to be a good listener. 

> Sure, sure I know. I'm being nitpicky. I guess I'm kind of stuck between 
>musical phenomenae. On one hand, I'm not particularly interested in rock 
>and roll or dance music. On the other hand, I really don't identify too 
>much with the academic "new music" community.

This has been a concern for me as well... I think there's this huge gap 
between noisemaker rock types, and the more jazz and classical influenced 
academics. Seems such a shame to have that polarity... 

Good food for thought! Have a good weekend all...