DJ Badger:  The News and the Journal

Entry One Hundred Ninety-Four.
Wednesday, 2015.12.30, 11:36 PM CST.

Please don't be a "request hipster."
Current Mood:  Creative, but mentally exhausted.
Current Scent:  Visit by Azzaro.

Luckily, in 2015, I managed to perform at more events and parties than I probably had in the last three or four years combined.  I'm thrilled with that, and I hope to perform even more frequently in 2016.

I want to make it clear before I even go into this little rant that I usually don't mind requests.  Really, if someone's willing to dance to something and they're not acting like a douche, it's nice to be able to know what they want to hear.  This rant isn't about behaviour that's absolutely douchey, just kind of annoying.

In addition, let it be known that this rant is not about anyone who has recently hired me as a mobile DJ.  If you hire me for a mobile DJ performance and you tell me in advance about a number of specific, unconventional tracks that you want for that event, odds are I'll be really happy to work with you and purchase at least a large number of those songs before my performance, because you're hiring me and it's your party.  For instance, a couple hired me for their wedding reception early last month, and in our initial consultation, they mentioned some artists with whom I was, honestly, completely unfamiliar.  Tracking down those songs for their wedding was not only enjoyable, but it was eye-opening.  THAT was fun.

What I'm writing about tonight... is not fun.


Unfortunately, during my club performances this year, I found a new type of audience member that I'm going to call the "request hipster."

Here's the way I would describe a request hipster:  Someone who isn't as much interested in hearing stuff that will go over well as they are in showing off to the DJ that they personally know certain types of music far more than the average bear, in the presumed hopes of satiating their own ego.

It's almost like a variant of the classic game "Stump the Band."  The request hipster will come up and throw obscure track requests at the DJ, almost as if he/she knows the DJ won't have them and thus he/she will get a chance to watch the DJ squirm about it.


Example:  I was recently on one of my "off-shifts" during a performance with another DJ, and some guy I didn't know came up on stage and asked me for a Gary Numan song.  He specifically wanted some relatively unknown Gary Numan cover version (I think) that maybe two or three people in the room, including him, could possibly know.

I like Gary Numan, and I like a number of his songs - both classic and more modern.  That doesn't mean that I have his entire discography, nor that I even know his entire discography, nor that I would want to play a super-obscure cover song that practically nobody would recognize during a public club performance.

I explained that the only Gary Numan song I had on hand was "Cars," and proceeded to point out that "Cars" was the track which the other DJ hired for the night was playing, less than ten feet away, at that exact damned moment.  No, I'm not kidding.


Example:  At the same event, I saw someone (okay, the same dude as before) asking another person at the event if he could hear a particular KMFDM track.  However, this guy wasn't going to be satisfied with the track itself - he wanted to hear a specific remix, which he described as something like "The second track on the cassette single of such-and-such blah blah blah..."

If I'm playing a track, usually I'm going to be playing whatever remix I want, so it's usually best to just leave that part out... unless you're a friend of mine and we're just discussing that kind of thing.  Heck, sit me down with someone like DJ TMJ or Sam Propst or Scotticus O'Reallyus and we can build entire conversations out of the details of various remixes and alternate versions of songs that we dig.

That being said, if you don't know the name of the remix, don't expect me or any other DJ to use up our valuable time looking up an artist's discography so that we can hunt down whatever obscure version that you think might be better than anything we might be able to come up with.


Now, as a lot of people know, I am a massive music collector myself, and often I will throw in the occasional weird track - a non-single or B-side - as a surprise in my sets.  So, when I play Depeche Mode, for example, sometimes I'll play mega-hits like "Enjoy the Silence" or "Personal Jesus," and other times... I'll play something a little more obscure like "Pleasure Little Treasure," "New Dress," "Nothing," or "But Not Tonight."  Those are treats that I include on occasion for the megafans in the audience.

Plus, I LOVE collecting and playing rare remixes, preferably on vinyl.  So, I play tough-to-find versions - a LOT.  I think I've built a bit of a reputation for it.  I make sure that they're good remixes (there are tons of crappy ones out there), but rare ones nonetheless.  Sets that only include the same old radio/album versions that I've heard over and over and OVER usually (but not always) bore me.

However, as much as I personally love obscure remixes, I wouldn't ever go up to some other DJ that I didn't know during his/her performance and ask him/her:

"Hey, do you have the Fafa 'Superfunk' Monteco remix of Depeche Mode's 2001 single 'I Feel Loved' - but the shorter version of the Monteco mix that was only released on the French promo CD single, not the longer one that was released on the French promo vinyl and eventually got spread around as a bootleg 12-inch release?"


You know why I wouldn't ask that?

1)  It would be annoying as hell.

2)  It would waste the DJ's valuable time.

3)  Odds are the DJ wouldn't have it, and I already know that, so see #2 again.

4)  Even if the DJ magically had that particular version... would it go over well with the rest of the crowd?  It would need to be a pretty specialized crowd for that to be the case.

5)  I'm secure enough to know that I'm a bit of an authority regarding the work of Depeche Mode without having to go up to some DJ that I don't even know and rub it in his/her face to prove it and feel better about myself.

6)  Have I mentioned that it would be annoying as hell?


So, to sum it all up:  I'm usually a really nice guy.  If you have reasonable requests for songs that I might possibly have, and I'm not up on stage performing at the time, feel free to approach me and make your suggestions.  I'm not going to bite your head off, you might get your song played, and if you're friendly and courteous about it, odds are I'll be really happy to discuss your requests!

If you just want to make a super-obscure request in the hopes that you can catch me in a dazed "deer-in-the-headlights" look while I spit out apologies because you obviously know more about the works of one or two artists than I do... then I can pretty much guarantee that you're not going to have the best of times when you're talking with me.

Keep in mind that while I'm happy to learn more new things every day, I'm also quite secure in the musical knowledge that I've already acquired over the last few decades... and you're not going to make me feel bad for not knowing a specific weird track or super-tough-to-find B-side remix by one of your favourite artists.  I'm not there for your request hipster "Stump the Band" amusement.

So... don't be a request hipster.  Okay?  Okay.

Thanks for your attention.  More soon.