Tuesday, May 25, 2010

People Lend me your ears!!! Pt.2

I did an interview this week with an online publication & found myself telling Jeff the interviewer that I was rethinking my role as a DJ / Promoter.

Time for change, things are just not what they use to be on so many levels.. Man I’m getting old. I remember a much simpler time when promoting parties & spinning was so much fun. It’s rare that I find myself feeling that way. Don’t get me wrong.. I love what I do.. but getting the support I need to keep doing it isn’t as easy. My age group has dropped out of the party scene, each year we lose more & more. Whether it’s to family, job’s, school or just the responsibilities of adulthood. There seems to be less people coming out to support. I don’t want to live in the past & talk about the good ol days.. Yes, we had some good times.. but now I’m ready for some new ones. The flipside is I don’t want to dumb it down & do what everyone else is doing just to make a buck.

It’s funny & sad that there is no shortage of people complaining about the scene, going on & on about how there isn’t any place to go out any more. People you can’t complain if you don’t participate!!!

It’s unfortunate that there are less quality events.. but there are still a handful of things worth checking out. I can't urge you enough!!! It may not be an ideal night to go out like a Friday or Saturday .. but these events still needs your support. I’m not saying you have to do this weekly but make an effort to drop in on your favorite dj, musician, band or promoter every once in a while to show them their efforts are noted & not overlooked. At least pass it on to a friend who may enjoy it.

I can’t thank my friends & fans enough for their support over the years. I really wish the game was a bit different. I think we need promoters to be a bit more creative in what they do & how they do it. We need you to rethink some of these B.S. events they are selling us. We need more venues to look past the dollar signs & easy money when it comes to what they book & the deals they are willing to offer us.

I often think about the people who helped me out in the beginning. I am very grateful.. What would things be like without some of the nights, bands, musicians, etc. that were spawned because of their forward thinking & belief in our early visions.

I do agree with some of you guys & gals on FB that say chicago has become stagnant or pretty lame over the years. I know some of you younger people are scratching your heads saying.. What the hell is this guy talking about? The scene rocks!!! Trust me .. things were much different back in the day. You have no idea what you have missed.. Everything that is going on now is not new, Bookmark this blog & revisit it when you get older : )

I'm just not sure I have the energy to try & change things here. I feel like i have already done my part over the past 25 yrs. My job is done, my time may be better spent someplace else. This new Chicago is a young persons game..

I do feel caught in the middle.. Yeah some people know who I am, but I'm still out here hustling like the rest of you for pennies. Trust me .. this shit ain't easy!

I will let you in on a little secret: The last thing I want to do is bombard you with party invites & flyers. But this is what's expected of the DJ nowadays & that's just how it works. It's rare that a flyer, poster or even an ad will be purchased by a club. We are left to pick up the slack, some of us try to relay the message in a less abrasive manor & keep it fun, others not so much. This long list of things we need to do to have a successful party keeps getting bigger & our return keeps getting smaller.

Not only do we have to deal with obnoctious drunkards & tons of bad requests that the crowd thinks we are obligated to play. We now are the promoters, Soundmen / Technicians, Creative entities behind the promotions, publicis, Graphic Designers, street teams, etc. All for a rate that is a fraction of what a DJ should be making.

If you are familiar with the parties & events I promote.. you will notice I have shied away from high covers & now rarely even charge at my nights. The recession has changed the way we party & just how we live. I have kept this in mind & have chosen to work with venues that have a modest cover or none at all. I know some people still have a hard time reaching in their pockets to contribute a measly $5.

People this is what the cover charge was in 1985, so 25 years later .. that's not a lot to ask is it? The cost of doing business has gone up so much in that time. Can we get a little something? LOL! It cost money to have guest DJs & performers, a host for the evening, CD give aways, flyers, posters & Free pizza.

So the next time you are faced with paying a cover or tipping a bartender.. please keep all this in mind. There is a good chance that the person you came out to see isn't really getting paid very much. Unless it's DJs Paul Oakenfold or Tiesto.. Some people don't have a problem paying $50 or $75 for a ticket to see them. I think I need to start playing Trance & pumping my fists in the air.. like I just don't care! : )

To be continues (check back later) Rant over for the moment. will be back soon. LOL! DJ JDLP : D

PHOTO Dimitre.com


Yvonne said...

As a spectator...I feel some of us dont 'fit' in the young man's game either, we also feel frustrated,so I for one look for the opportunity to be where i do 'fit' - where quality venues, book quality people. We're all getting to an age of maturity, where we cant pick to pay a cover over a life expense...so what some of you professionals do is greatly appreciated, by me at least. I hope this helps in some way to wake some ppl. up to the nature of the beast & appreciate you and what you do more.

Majel said...

I've been feeling this frustration for my friends for a while... I work in the service industry (hair) which has been absolutely dead for the last year and a half, so I've been frustratingly unable to go out and support anywhere near as much as I could before...

I can't believe there are people out there complaining that there's "nowhere to go!" Man! If you have a little money to spend, there are places to go every night of the week! I know that's my bitterness talking, since I honestly can't do it now, and all the weekday nights that you and others are part of have awesome drink and food specials...

Anywho, I want to tell everyone to give it another few months and see if it picks back up; if not, move to a sunny climate and/or put some time into another skill for a while, like I'm about to do!

Good luck, and don't lose hope! If we pick up this summer I'll be in to see you more for sure!


nico said...

good post jesse, i def feel you. i dont have the answer, so heres to hoping you keep doing what you do, its appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work Jesse! I always have a great time at your events. I cannot thank you enough for the night before Thanksgiving party you threw with Pumpin' Pete, the break dancers, Harv, Hitman Wilson, the free give a ways, etc etc. Your events are always classy and fun....KEEP IT UP and I will do my part to spread the word.

Jeremy Sole said...

maaaan, do I hear you on this one, Jes! It's been a weird road for me too, relocating to LA from Chi and basically starting over. You were a big inspiration and mentor to me, so I know I won't be saying anything here that you haven't heard before, thought of, and already done, and done right...

1. Perhaps this wasn't how it was at all, but from 40 years later where we are, it seemed like Jazz artists (or maybe it was the labels) FEATURED one player while all the other badass players were playing too, then on the next record is was the other cat's day in the sun. We DJs/Promoters can do this too, by all getting our email lists and FB/Myspace friends to highlight and hype one of our friend's big gigs, then he/she reciprocates for the next one. That way each DJ has a packed gig with the whole city behind them... and that'll hopefully wake the city up to that person as a prominent character in the scene.

2. Folks like you and I, Jes, need to remember to be guest deejays at the new folks' popular spots nowadays (god that sounded like an old geezer, hah!). I know you're good at being open to up-n'-comers in the scene (shiiiit, else we wouldn't have become so close!). Those new folks, if they know their local history, will most likely be really hyped and promote the crap out of the fact that you're coming through. This lets the younger crowd see a glimpse of the history behind you, and re-introduces you to a crowd, with the momentum you've earned over the years, ya'know?

3. Again, you're a master at this stuff too - collab w/ these record labels/magazines/companies for release parties for their product. We all know record labels don't have the budgets that they used to, but they do have big-ass email lists that'll big up you and the party, and if they're putting something out and looking to "urban" and "nightlife" target audiences to promote, best believe they've compiled a hell of a list of folks that go out.

4. Take chances with your selections. Jes, I owe everything to you for giving me the unspoken permission to be freaky. When I would go hear you I would find all these mainstream folks bugging out to your perfect balance between popular and quirky records, mixed together so smooth that they didn't know it wasn't their "fave" tune anymore. The more personal our selections are, the more we might stick in people's heads as an ART-oriented deejay, instead of a SERVICE-oriented one. I have definitely cleared my share of dancefloors over the years, but even at those gigs I might have gained one loyal fan who really felt something sincere and it stuck w/ them... and they stuck w/ me from then on.

4. RELEASE ALL THOSE FRESH TRACKS YOU HAVE. Either charge, or just give them shits away!!! Let them be ways of showing the other folks in other cities what you're up to... and then (almost sad that it needs to happen like this), travel. It's a shame, but when local folks see that other cities are paying attention to you when you come to town, they're more likely to appreciate you at home. Plus, you're local promotion will always be more effective when you play less often. I'm kinda bad at this because I try to play as much as possible, and then my promotional impact is watered down.

Chicago as a scene has the ability to be a tastemaker, to be a hub - it just takes everyone getting behind their most unique and well-seasoned talents... and PUSH THEM UP!!! Jesse has been pushing things forward for decades, and no matter how many times I hear him, he ALWAYS surprises me. WATER THE SEEDS IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD, FRIENDS! ...and then revel in your forest of freshness.

Ever-spinning wheel,
// Sole.

Jena said...

I used to come to many of your events and pay a cover. I never had a problem nor would I now. I realize that DJing is an artistry and I highly respect those who can move a crowd the way you do. It's sad to hear Chitown is not what it used to be. I live in Indio, CA. now, as of 9 years ago. It's about 8 minutes from where Coachella is held.

I really wish all the DJ's I used to listen to, back in the day, spinning from '88-'98, before I moved here could be on the venue. I believe, you all, are so deserving of the exposure and money that Coachella shows provide. We don't have too many clubs that are worth going to. I could turn on the radio and or listen to my vinyl and be happier with the music than what is played out here.
I'm now 40 and have nowhere to go, when I can go out, out here. Time to open a new club and relocate out here!!!!!!!!!!! Anyone up for that?
- Jena - Who will always have love for my hometown DJ's.

kimia k said...

u r a HUGE AND MAJOR influence/inspiration to sooo many people i know. u r a gift..a truth..a force to be reckoned with.
i hear what your sayin..i mean,i dont know how things are in the chi now..but i still hear ya. the music worlds would not be the same without you de la..i'd like to see you come spread that vibe of yours in the bay.
i am blessed to have you as my friend.
mucho love forever..

Bryan D. said...

Elegant post Mr. Sole...
Jesse is an inspiration for every DJ I know in Chicago. No doubt he does things the right way. It's a shame the support for artistic DJing has died down in a city that helped pioneer it. My hope is that he, and quality DJs like him, continue to push their craft, and the people will come around again. It's now summer in the Chi after all! Jesse, if you played "Trance", you'd probably trick me into liking it.

Keep your heads up Chitown DJs and good party people! New York is not any better, believe me.