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Rave Rock Strikes Back

Props to my friend Tricia Romano for a great piece on "rockstar DJs" in this week's Voice. Particularly enlightening was the fact that Martin Gore apparently beatmatches (why am I not surprised?) and, moreover, spins German minimal techno (again, not surprised!). But one graf in particular jumped out at me:

A few months ago, Sunshine was at Happy Ending when he saw Alexander Technique wearing a T-shirt that said "No Beatmatching." Alexander explained that Princess Superstar was asked to play the MisShapes party, but with a caveat: There was to be no beatmatching and no playing of electronic dance music.

This actually happened to me once, except I didn't find out until mid-gig. It was in San Francisco, one of those parties that combined rock bands with DJs, a sea of black bobs and black eyeliner and skinny black blazers — in other words, the kind of scene that invariably makes me feel old and way out of touch with Generation Myspace. The band was pretty "meh," or actually probably worse, five skinny, stylish guys with perfect hair doing a capable-but-nothing-more ape of every other guitar band on earth. Afterwards a colleague of mine played disco and electro, and the dancefloor thinned as the crowd moved increasingly toward the bar and the bathroom stalls. I thought I'd have a chance if I brought things down slow, so I kicked off with Isolée's incredible "It's About" on Freundinnen, and then worked my way up through slow, gritty jackers like Vibert's "I Love Acid" and a long, agonized Losoul B-side. (I remember the setlist only because this is a trio I drop with some embarrassing frequency.) No one was dancing, particularly. Then the promoter came up. "Could you maybe play something a little less, uh, electronic?" On another day, I could have, sure — but no one told me the brief, and I'd brought my usual bag of house and techno and minimal; they'd told me the party was intended to bring together SF's divergent rocker and raver communities.

Maybe I needed a t-shirt too. Not "No Beatmatching," but rather the one hanging in the window at Tweekin': "No Fucking Requests."


You probably know that Martin Gore is a bit of a Lawrence fan, even asked him to do a remix (forgot the title, actually that song with a german title.)

Que tal? I'm Sergio, from Brazil, friend of Marcos Boffa. I guess you met in Berlin. Anyway, been reading for a long time, your blog is great and this particular post was awesome.

yeah , the t-shirt could be , "no beatmatching , thanks !"is there going to be a new trend now ? of no-beatmachers?

Curse those San Franciscan indie-rawk scumbags. They always remind me why I'm so happy living back in Sacramento.

This is why I always keep a stash of oldskool electro, bowie and some factory records the back of the crate; you never know when people are going to be insufficiently jacked to appreciate jacking! But those rock kids are helpless against white funk and the urge to pretend they can breakadance.

great article in pitchfork again philip! finger on the pulse as always. personally i look forward to a greater separation of minimal and "minimal" in the months to come :)

they'd told me the party was intended to bring together SF's divergent rocker and raver communities

This sounds like such a bad idea! It's not like they told the rock bands to play "a little bit more, like, electronic" to appease the techno crowd. It sounds like you were being subsumed into "open-minded" indie values, where every music is subsumed into the narrative of indie and judged according to its proximity the indie sound.

I used to think like this!

generation myspace making you feel old?
don't feel old, there are tons of other genXers on it :)

my instinct upon reading this was to leave recorded in your comments that "you rock"; however, i then realized the irony lies exactly in your apparent failure to rock on demand. maybe you jack? or you glitch? whatever it is, don't let this fuckin' town get you down: people who play dressup in their parents' attic before going to shows aren't gonna like anything anyways, you just need to turn down any offers to DJ to such crowds. at least they didn't ask you to play the cure...

p.s. don't give in to the pragmatism of carrying along a few bowie records in the crate; let them eat cake.

hey philip,

just got back from sf and leaving was like "get me the fuck outta here!!"...i've never seen so many homeless people in my life! worse than last time i was there ( which shocked me then! ). how can such a wealthy (?) country let people die in the streets like that? in calgary, hometown, they've built truly dignified (albeit small but ultra central) apartments for homeless people... true reintegration.

Here in Madrid it's a revival of the indie clubs again too (as the 90's)....a lot of amateur people are djing without beatmatch. The worst is that they are proud of it.

re: hometown... that was meant to read 'birthplace'. hometown: paris

well, I don't care that much about beat-matching, but those fucking requests may be so irritating... I think that every dj has experienced something like this, having the feeling that the crowd expects from you something that is not your cup of tea at all. Basically, it's all about open-mindness.

plus greetings from Latvia, btw.

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