I was out with some friends the other week when I met a DJ. This topic came up as we were talking about one of my favorite spots to frequent called Smartbar - a club in Chicago where there's usually good house music, a good crowd, and plenty of Dancing.
He told me that he used to play there, but that it was back in the 80s back when he was playing "the real music, not any of this new crap."
I wasn't sure if by new he meant in the last year, or the last decade and we kept chatting. I told him how I started going there pretty often back in about 2002 but that lately I had only made it over there a few times per year.
It became clear that "new" basically meant anything after about 1991. But, he seemed like a pretty interesting guy and had some good stories and I enjoyed chatting with him for the most part. It also happened that some neighbors and I had been talking about throwing a party and I asked him if he still spun every now and then.
He did, and said that he did either private events at clubs, or private parties. Sweet, I though to myself, and then asked if he had a website where I could listen to some of his music. The short answer was no. The long answer was "no", with a slew of excuses as to why the answer was no.
So here I was, talking to a DJ that assured me that he "had every kind of music anyone could want", with no way for me to listen to any of it.
So from my perspective, he had no music.
It didn't matter that he had thousands of records in his home because there was no way for me to see if I liked the way he combined songs, mixed beats, or built up the energy of a crowd as a set went on. He had everything, but in this case it was the same as having nothing.
The theme with everything we talked about though was that basically he thought it sucked that anything changed. The music changed, the club changed, the crowd changed, the technology changed. But the DJ stayed the same. And so, all these changes were bad because the would have forced him to change.
The lesson though is that I think there are a lot of music less DJs out there. There are writers without blogs, programmers without github projects, photographers without websites, and millions of ideas that were never turned into something real. And the unfortunate reality is that a lot of this is simply because some people don't want to change.
Ask yourself, what's your music? Can anyone listen to it?