DJ Badger:  The News and the Journal

Entry One Hundred Eleven.
Sunday, 2009.11.15, 3:38 PM CST.

Depeche Mode Tribute Night:  My setlists/thoughts.
Current Mood:  Worn out but relieved.  Current Scent:  Messe de Minuit by Etro.

I am so tired.

I'm currently sitting at home, watching "Sesame Street" clips on the laptop with my son X while I try to relax and type out this update.

Last night was the Assimilation Depeche Mode Tribute Night at the Marquee - my Assimilation debut and my most anticipated (at least, by myself) DJ performance this year.

Unfortunately, it will be my last DJ performance at the Marquee.


The Marquee has a wooden stage, which causes vibration in turntables when the bass is cranked up excessively loudly, which is how they like to do things at the Marquee.  When I performed there at the "True Faith" event earlier this year, my turntables had a big problem with "rumble" due to the vibrations in the turntables.

This time around, I used some special devices called FreeFloats - inflatable turntable stands which act to alleviate the vibration problems in turntables.  During sound check, I was told by the sound techs that there was still some rumble in my sound (even in my CD players), although later during my performances I was told by people in the audience that there were no rumble issues.

The bass coming from my mixer - even with the equalizer turned completely off - was supposedly so heavy that on certain tracks (especially remixes I personally had produced), it was too heavy for the Marquee systems.

Thus, even though one of the other DJs was able to play one of my "Martyr" mixes on my behalf (thus starting my second set), the brand-new remix of "Hole To Feed," upon which I had worked for countless hours, was deemed unplayable.  I unknowingly had produced it with way too much bass.

I don't doubt that.  I have often churned out tracks that were just plain too bass-heavy.  I've never produced a track that was unplayable on my equipment at other venues before.  Strange.

So, anyway...  My equipment, which has worked perfectly fine at other venues and on my own sound system, is not compatible with the sound system at the Marquee, especially when playing tracks I've produced, which have played fine elsewhere.

Those sound techs at the Marquee have been doing this for years.  I agree with them.  It's gotta be something I'm doing wrong.

I still like the Marquee.  I still like the staff of the Marquee, including the sound techs.  And, I now consider a great deal of the Assimilation staff to be personal friends.  But, considering the sound incompatibilities we had to endure last night, I'm not going to plague the Marquee with my music or sound equipment in the future.

This means that, unfortunately, I can't perform at any more Assimilation events as long as they're at the Marquee.  This is no big deal, as they have plenty of qualified DJs to assist with their events.

This entire experience - the event and the months leading up to it - has really made me think a lot about what I'm doing with my life.  I'm taking my ball and going home.  Read into that what you will; I'll give details in another update soon.


I was pretty pleased with my sets overall.  They were far from perfect and my relatively low amount of mixing practice was fairly evident, but I think the track selections were decent.

My official setlist page is here if you don't want all my commentary.

SET #1

My first set started at about 8:45, which was early enough that we didn't have much of a crowd yet, and very few people dancing for any of the DJs.  I did what I could, track-wise, to provide something to which the Assimilation crowd would dance.

1.  Depeche Mode - "Never Let Me Down Again" (Be-Love in Funky Mix).  I picked this one to start because it was the song that really got me into Depeche Mode way back in 1987.  The Be-Love in Funky Mix is one of my favourite remixes of the song, with new percussion and an added bassline.

2.  Depeche Mode - "Corrupt."  Track 2 was originally scheduled to be "Hole To Feed" (DJ Badger Fetish Over Substance Mix), but due to the aforementioned sound problems, the bass-heavy mix was not playable on the Marquee's system.  So, I went for one of my other favourite tracks from the new album, "Corrupt."

3.  The Gruesome Twosome - "Hallucination Generation" (Syametic Nightmare).  After two DM songs, I wanted to head straight into a song that demonstrated my love for old, sample-heavy, semi-gothy club tracks.  "Hallucination Generation" fit the bill perfectly.

4.  VIM - "Maggie's Last Party" (M Mix).  This spot was originally going to be filled by either Nitzer Ebb's "Come Alive" or Recoil's "Edge To Life."  I made a last-minute choice to head straight from the Gruesome Twosome into a similar club track, a cult classic made famous for its use of Margaret Thatcher samples.  The rare mix was released on Steve Masters' "M" DJ-only remix service, hence the name.

5.  Depeche Mode - "Enjoy the Silence" (Violation Remix).  This was one of the biggest tracks for DM, and one that I had very specifically been hoping to play at this event.  In fact, for months, I had been working on my own brand-new remix of "EtS," and I'm rather glad that I didn't take the time and effort to complete it, because I'm sure it would have been unplayable at the Marquee as well.  So, I played the Violation Remix, a rare mix which was released on the tough-to-find remix album Violator 2000.

6.  A Split-Second - "Rigor Mortis" (Transient Straight Mix).  One of my favourite old-school industrial tracks, from way back in the days of the Edge of Insanity and Ikon, was "Rigor Mortis."  I knew I needed to include it somewhere in my set.  Tony Garcia's Transient Straight Mix is my favourite of the 1991 mixes, because it still includes the familiar synth line but still sounds "updated."

7. Depeche Mode - "Fly on the Windscreen" (I See Dead People Mix). "Fly on the Windscreen" was a special request from Wes, the gentleman who runs Assimilation. I've loved the song for years, so I didn't mind including it at all.

8. De/Vision - "I Regret" (VNV Nation Remix).  I like a lot of De/Vision's music, and I know that VNV Nation is a favourite of many an Assimilation fan.  So, I figured it would be a good idea to include this remix combining a good song by one group with the production work of the other.

9.  Camouflage - "The Great Commandment" (TOY Mix).  I've loved "The Great Commandment" since it stormed the clubs back in the late 1980s, and many years back I picked up this extremely impressive new mix as part of the "Great Commandment 2.0" record.  The TOY Mix is basically a much heavier, more industrial-sounding, turbocharged version.

SET #2

By the time my second set started, around 11:45, a lot more of a crowd had shown up and was dancing, so I kept the energy level up to keep them going.

1.  Depeche Mode - "Martyr" (DJ Badger Black Cherry Chainsaw Mix).  DJ Sokmonkey was kind enough to play this one on my behalf, since his equipment was much more Marquee-compatible than mine, especially when dealing with a track like my bass-heavy Black Cherry Chainsaw mix of "Martyr."  Thanks, Sokmonkey!

2.  Depeche Mode - "Oh Well" (Edit).  I love the feeling of this track - the only Depeche Mode song so far to be credited to both Martin Gore (who originally composed the track as an instrumental) and Dave Gahan (who come up with the lyrics).  This edit was only made available on the red-streaked-vinyl pressings of the 7" single of Depeche Mode's recent hit "Wrong."

3.  Eurythmics - "Sweet Dreams" (Nightmare Mix).  Since the first time I heard this mix, in the summer of 1990 at Kinetix in Oklahoma City, I have been a huge fan.  With a fantastic bassline and a range of samples from a wailing saxophone to heavy, clanging gothic bells, it provides an unusual, dark club interpretation of the Eurythmics classic.

4.  KMFDM - "Naive" (Secret World Mix).  I decided to throw in some KMFDM since I knew they were the favourite band of one of my other friends among that Assimilation ranks.  (Ironically, she was tending the entryway to the event at the time, and couldn't come out and dance to it.)

5.  Moskwa TV - "Generator 7/8" (Klass-X Mix).  This is one of those semi-obscure club classics that many people recognize, but not always by name.  I'd known the track since back in my early club days, but even one of my fellow DJs at this event said he wasn't familiar with it!  To be honest, it didn't go over as well as planned (but, luckily, didn't clear the dance floor).

6.  New Order - "Blue Monday" (Wicked Mix).  I quickly shifted to "Blue Monday" to try to rebuild the dancing crowd, and it worked.  Due to the length of the mix, though, I was forced to cut out of it before the best part - a very creative breakdown from 131 BPM to 95 BPM.  (Maybe I'll play the full version in all its glory at another event someday... but we'll have to see.)

7.  Gary Numan - "Cars" (Looking Back Mix).  This DJ-only remix is my favourite mix of this well-known retro monster - lots of samples, gating, and other tricks.

8.  Tiffany - "Panic (Hang the DJ)."  I had recently received this track as part of a Smiths tribute compilation, and was quite blown away by this rendition by Tiffany.  (Yes, I'm talking about the mall-performing, "Think We're Alone Now" 1980s teen-queen Tiffany.)  It's one of those bizarro tracks that is in no way evident of its performer; if you didn't know it was Tiffany, there's no way you could guess that it was Tiffany.  Heavy beat, great synth work, basically a terrific electronic club track - and it's a Smiths cover, so that gives it even more bonus points.  After listening to the track the first time, I made it my (almost sadistic) mission to bring it to the event and watch an unknowing Assimilation crowd happily dance to a Tiffany track.  I'm happy to report that it went over very successfully.

9.  Lords of Acid - "I Sit on Acid" (2000 Soulwax Mix).  It was also fun to go straight out of Tiffany song into the dirtiest track I played all evening - the relatively uncommon Soulwax overhaul of "I Sit on Acid."

10.  Depeche Mode - "New Dress" (Emulator Mix).  After so many non-DM songs, I decided to close off my second set with two classic Depeche Mode tracks in a row.  I've always loved the rather aggressive, dark nature of "New Dress," so it was good to include it.

11.  Depeche Mode - "Strangelove" (DV-Serge Love'n Version).  I had originally planned to close my second set with the very downtempo Symbion Project Remix of "I Feel Loved," but doing so would have been too risky considering how drastically it would bring the room's energy down.  (Plus, the only copy I had was on a CD-R I'd brought, and considering the venue's "issues" with my music and equipment, I was hesitant to even play any CD-Rs.)  So, I decided to play the one main song that Depeche Mode had screwed me out of on their ass-tacular 2009 tour.  I was surprised that nobody else had played "Strangelove" yet, and I was pleased to use it as the closer.

Overall, I think my performances were pretty good.  There were a few tracks that I had really looked forward to playing which I regretfully removed from the setlist for various reasons, but in retrospect I think my track selections were generally quite good.

The evening as a whole went pretty well.  A lot of canned food was collected for the needy (this was a canned food drive event as well as a tribute night) and while the crowd wasn't as large as I had hoped, there were still quite a few people there.

I have a lot more to post - and some news that will probably surprise a lot of you.  More soon.