Photos by Dave Schilling & Jamie Lee Curtis Taete
I understand and appreciate the rise of EDM and DJ culture. I see how it brings people together, allows for personal expression, and gives you a great excuse to do tons of molly and "accidentally" rub up against women in a club. I get it. And yet, I do not accept that DJs belong everywhere. DJs should not be at mundane events like baby showers, Christmas-tree lightings, sentencing hearings, art-gallery openings, dog shows, rollerblading competitons, political rallies, traffic accidents, Chinese New Year, or the Super Bowl. Not everything needs to have dancing. Actually, most public gatherings are awkward, especially when the event is one in which the host is trying to sell you something.
I went to the E3 video-game trade show this past week, and like every other convention or industry gathering in our modern era, DJs were shoehorned into the proceedings. I don't need the "bass to drop" while I'm waiting in line to see the new XBox or to use the bathroom, thank you very much.
I decided to take a stroll around and see if anyone was actually getting down to the music the many, many E3 DJs were playing.
As you can see, our first vinyl master was totally striking out. I commend this fellow for his commitment to traditional DJ techniques. Sure, he's got his laptop, but he also "keeps it real" with the turntables. He even has the "one headphone slowly creeping off his head" look that screams, "I know what the fuck I'm doing, but also don't have the time to fix a glaring issue with my equipment." Unfortunately, he's doing it for an audience of zero. Perhaps playing loud dance music inside a giant convention center where everyone else is also playing loud dance music and no one is there to dance is a waste of time.
Hey, maybe the DJs should go outside? You know, where there's less noise? Oh, wait—there's no one here either. Perhaps he needs a little help from his friends...
Oh shit! It's Pac-Man! He's back, and now he's twerking up a storm! There's no video-game character in the world more into EDM than Pac-Man. He ingests tons of mysterious substances and is always hugging people with his weird stubby arms. In spite of Pac-Man's best efforts to seem inviting, no one came to keep him company.
There's a guy that's actually yawning. He's right in the DJ's line of sight, and he's visibly disinterested. It's not like this gentleman doesn't love to party. Anyone with that many buttons on their messenger bag strap must be a barrel of laughs. How much auditory and visual stimulus does this guy need? Get a coffee, for Christ's sake.
Even if no one is around to listen, taking an intense interest in your craft is vital. I assume that this dude is keeping a close eye on the sound levels and tweaking his playlist to perfection. Either that or he's updating his OKCupid profile.
After hours of searching, I finally found a crowd of convention-goers having a blast and feeling good vibes. If you've ever wanted to see four color-coordinated hot-steppers doing an interpretive dance to "Careless Whisper" by George Michael (and I know you do), then this was your Woodstock. There was a crowd, and they were all grinning ear to ear. There was even a kid at the bottom of the stage who is clearly high—but there wasn't a single DJ in sight.
Let's all remember that DJs don't actually do anything, and add very little entertainment value to events that aren't raves. They sometimes get paid thousands of dollars to stand around and press buttons awkwardly. At least these people were doing something interesting. They practiced for hours to look this silly, and it paid off. They look very silly. Now, I'm sure there was someone who hit the button to make "Careless Whisper" play, but guess where he or she was? In the back, out of sight. Sometimes, I don't want to party. Sometimes, I just want to watch people embarrass themselves. Is that so much to ask?
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