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Joined: 22 Oct 2015
Age: 43
Posts: 21
Location: Asheville, NC USA

14 Apr 2018, 10:44 pm

I was tempted to believe that I was the only one in my area. Then I spotted a friend and fellow DJ posting about his ("hers" at the time, since he is TG) ASD on Facebook.

I actually had a doctor say to me once (not too long ago) "How can you have ASD? You're a performer; right? You DJ?"

Yes, I am (and have been for almost two decades now) a DJ. IMHO I'm a good one. I dare a NT to keep four tracks beatmatched perfectly for minutes on end. My brain is practically made for this. The same strengths that made me a good studio, recording, and sound engineer translate to DJing as well.

The only caveat is this thing that DJs are meant to be able to do: "reading the room" or put another way "pleasing the crowd". I can't really do this like the NT DJs I know do. I watch it happen when they play, but I just don't know how to do this. It is a gestalt thing, which seems nigh on impossible for me to do. This was something that really hurt me in my art and design classes in college (which was pivotal in my repeated failure to graduate). It's very frustrating.

The only way I have found to compensate for this is to have a bunch of very different tracks cued up and quickly mix through them until people seem to start to dig it (you can tell because they move more).

I really wonder if there are others out there. If so, how do you deal with the lack of that "psychic connection" that NTs have?

Thanks for your attention and time! —D of AVLien


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Joined: 6 Feb 2005
Age: 44
Gender: Male
Posts: 23,987
Location: 28th Path of Tzaddi

15 Apr 2018, 2:34 pm

Not a dj, spent maybe 12 or so years producing (dnb) but I had friends back in the late 1990s and early 2000s who were rave dj's (some house, some dnb) and I've gotten a sense as well for what kinds of parameters that the dj's at the local top 40 clubs are stuck within.

I'm not sure of you're venue but I'd say this - if you were at the run of the mill bar with a dance floor the appetite for the crowd is really stringent - ie. it has to be current top 40, anything older or anything stylistically variant will clear the dancefloor and most dj's in that situation know that it's very dictatorial and the tracklist has to stay as vanilla and poppy as possible.

If you're in a situation where you're at a club where people want to hear new and good music, whether or not it's something they've heard before, you just have to know what the crowd is like and what their preferences tend to be. I think for either the guys or the girls they like something with a savvy vocal hook somewhere in there, something sly and socially-charged. Maybe half of your set can be strong melodic stuff either without vocals or just some small vocal samples. The NT dj's I think who can manage this have less of what you might think of as an actual psychic connection and more just shared background - ie. friends they can talk to, people who they know who are in the flow with how a lot of clubbers feel and the types of people who can give feedback about what a good cannonical build-up is, what tunes might be a bit weak on production but will get a huge rise out of the crowd and which tunes are technically well put together but the crowd will think is wack.

Something more of an anecdote, ie. you probably won't find yourself in this situation unless you and a tight group of friends have a label and club night, but Warhead by Dj Krust was one of those tunes where Full Cycle agreed it was huge and yet they spun it for a full year, it would clear the floor and hardly anyone would dance to it, and after a while people just gave in on familiarity. Once in a great while dj's can just ram a tune through after a while but it's not a common situation.

With you're ASD I think your ticket though might be showing up to some of the club nights at the places you play, before you play them, and sort of scout the venue - ie. watch the dj and crowd dynamics like it's a sporting event, keep track of tunes that the crowd reacts to, and see if you can spot the commonality. If it's purely familiarity - well... not much freedom there but you at least know to go pop most of the way. Otherwise they might be big on the build-ups, big on the hip hop vocal samples, big on smashes, drops, and heavy personality in the tunes, etc.. You won't really know unless you do a bit of that. After that when you're on the decks you'll be able to see whose on the floor, whose nodding, whose starting to talk to other people and just trail off, and you'll never keep everyone riveted but ideally you do want to pull more people to the floor than not.

“Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word "love" here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace - not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.” - James Baldwin


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Joined: 28 Mar 2018
Gender: Male
Posts: 698
Location: Tokyo

17 Apr 2018, 3:46 am

I tried it but didn't enjoy it. The knowing-the-crowd thing was a problem, but the real issue was that I felt like losing my heart in music when I had to pick tracks depending on hype rather than (what I perceived as) quality. I can't do 4 plates, but here's a sloppy mix with 3. Probably isn't up anyone's alley, since it basically just ends in techno-percussion mayhem.