This post has been inspired by the RA Dj poll. Not something I expected to be doing when I woke up today but there you go. I apologise now if you are hoping that this will be a rant about how rubbish it is or about how contrived it is, you’ll have to go elsewhere for that (pro tip: just go straight to the actual comments on RA’s page. It never fails to amuse me how wound up the commentators get over a poll they voted for themselves).
It’s the outliers on the list that stood out to me this year. Well, they are not really outliers as they are obviously extremely popular but the automatic association with these lists is that many of these big name djs are fairly boring, bland and have gotten to be so popular by playing it safe. And for the most part it is true. Dixon wasn’t near the top of any polls when he was playing quality underground deep house records 10 years ago.
But Hunee has come crashing in, Ben UFO continues to rise and you have Motor City Drum Ensemble increasing in popularity. They are Djs who mix it up, dig deep and are willfully eclectic – yet keep the party rocking. And while we presume that many bigger crowds will trump for the tedious wooosh merchants like Adam Beyer and Marco Carolla it does seem like if you bring them the more eclectic they will actually go for it. Obviously the good ole hype machine helps these guys – I’m guessing Hunee hasn’t changed his style suddenly in the last year – but it does intrigue me that at the moment you don’t have to just become a boring new age Prog dj to become popular with the dancers.
It will remain frustrating that there are many other djs similar to these guys – and its very notable that Theo Parrish has disappeared from the list – who don’t get the coverage because of how the machine decides to pick and choose but I guess it gives me a tiny bit of faith? Maybe I’ve had too much coffee today and I’ll wake up again tomorrow and realise how foolish it was of me to think like this and just go back to being pissed off that many many great djs who play like this continue to get ignored just because people aren’t told they are cool enough to give them a chance.