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'If god Was a Mobile DJ.... #3' - Scott Ruddock

Author: Scott Ruddock
Monday, 27 March 2006
Scott Ruddock shares the tips, tales and secrets accumulated over 10 years in the industry


Never date a DJ! You can't trust them. They are only after one thing. But if that one thing is the search for the next big hit then yes, guilty as charged!

The trouble is, keeping up with music is like keeping up with the Jones's. You always feel you're one step behind. I liken it to drug addiction, except the only thing you harm is your hip pocket as you fork out more and more for each cd or 12" you 'must have'

After a recent series of dance parties and birthdays where 'doof doof' has been the order of the day, the requests that came from my maturing crowds had perplexed me. They requested music which I considered too cool to carry in my UDG bag, let alone play out. That was until it dawned on me that almost every tune they asked for was from the 'One Love' CD. I realised I had been charting my "cool" music in the wrong places - lesson learnt.

To further illustrate my point, at an 18th I played a month ago I was asked for The Chicken Dance! Can you believe that- This kid probably hadn't even been born when the origins of this repugnant piece of gobbledy gook were created. But I still had to be aware of it.

And that's what it's all about it - keeping abreast of music and the way it changes. Whether it's the revolution of the 60's, the funk of the 70's, the tragedy of the 80's or the panel beating repetitiveness of today's dance music (thanks folks for that last analogy). It keeps on changing and you as a DJ, any kind of DJ, have an implied knowledge thrust upon you that you must know every song out there ever created.

It's essential to understand that as a figurehead in charge of the music, your crowd and clientele will charge you with certain musical obligations and expectations. It's important to meet these, as that's what I consider being a successful DJ of any style is about: understanding the way you can link and weave music that is decades apart to form a free-flowing, fun-loving time for your crowd.

If you are just starting out then you may not be familiar with retro style music, or you may have only specialised in the R&B/Pop culture currently sweeping the charts. As cliched as it sounds, experience and time will help develop your musical prowess. Just when you think you have all your musical bases covered, a curve ball from the dance floor always seems to fly your way. I remember fondly how someone once asked me for the "MC Hammer dance". Trying to be clever I played Rick James' Superfreak (the song which MC Hammer samples from), hoping my fat pants wearing friend would recognise it. However all I heard was a scream from the middle of the room: "Hey DJ I can't hear the bit where it goes STOP, HAMMER TIME".

There are, of course, times when you get made to feel like you are a monkey in a cage for not knowing the third track in on disc two of the '2004 Ministry of Sound Annual', or why you don't have an acapella version of Killing me Softly as played by The Fugees at their concert, or even that you should have Kylie Minogue's entire back catalogue including the duet with Jason Donovan.

I now always make sure I carry a pen and paper to each gig, because I am guaranteed that at some point someone will ask me for a song I never knew of, or perhaps I never considered playing before. But after all the music I have accumulated over the years, nothing will ever persuade me to carry and play The Chicken Dance.

Scott Ruddock has been DJing at both clubs and privately for the last 10 years. Melbourne based, he can be contacted at ttmr@tpg.com.au for bookings, Mega-mixes and minor miracles.
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