Are DJ's really doing anything on stage?

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Is it all an act?

You're likely to have seen a DJ adjusting knobs, hitting, and twisting things, seemingly mixing the record live - but is that really what's going on? You may have asked yourself this question: What in the world is going on up there. To the normal person the DJ's actions are an enigma. It begs the question could it all be an act?

It would make sense for a DJ to be "performing" as opposed to undramatically standing there. People go to live performances to see a show, afterall. 

If you've watched a professional DJ do their thing, and been familiar with their music, you're likely to have noticed the live remix is hardly different from the original, despite the DJ seeming to be incredibly busy with all sorts of stuff during the show. 

As Deadmau5 shed light on, it's no mystery to anyone in the industry what goes on with DJ's on stage. They click play. Dj's aren't complaining though, from this lack of understanding on part of audience goers. This is evident in the popularity of DJ's, can you imagine such thing as celebrity DJ's if all they were given credit for is putting songs together in a way that transitions well?

Now don't think DJ's are elevated jukeboxers, that couldn't be farther from the truth.

If you are a DJ reading this you should be transparent of what you do. If all that's happening is mixing then tell the truth rather then the lie that it's being broken down and built from the ground up using your decks. The thing a DJ's known for, and their most valuable skill is the transition. Doing this right takes a surprising amount of skill and talent, which frankly a lot of DJ's overlook completely. During a show it doesn't need to be pretend, you can and should be doing something up there, but don't pretend to do something your not as those in the know will see right past it. Simple vibing out, head bobbing, and making sure your tracks playing perfect is more then enough to set the tone. Just master being real and yourself on stage, and you'll have nothing to worry about. Otherwise, you can be assured people will notice, and you will eventually be called out.

loopazon dj in action

It's necessary to state, there's a huge distinction with oldschool DJ's and what we have today. Nowadays technology has attained a level of advancement enabling anyone to become a "DJ" in no time. For the savy DJ though, it has opened a conondrum of possibilities for greater advancement in the music industry. Ean Golden, for example, is a patron of the idea of "Controllerism", a form of DJ'ing that has basis in oldschool DJ ethos.

Check out the video here:

As you can see there's a slight difference from what original DJ'ers do, it's much more similiar to what we've always understood about live performances - the sound is directly dependent on the actions of the DJ, just as any instrument player is. A true live performance DJ must initiate everything you hear on stage in that moment.

The unauthentic DJ's have little to worry about though, the line between these DJ's and the other is unrecognizable from the mainstream perspective. Because of some DJ's live performances being "true", and most not, there is always the question in backs of the audience's mind whether it is all being faked - and that's a shame.