Atlas was last night. Several hundred people on a hot, sunny day and I can’t complain. I was looking forward to hearing E3 play all his latest finds as he has just returned from France. He was even kind enough to bring back some scores for us. (Sniper, yes!) His first set started out with Rai, and then moved into French hip-hop, Dancehall, Balkan beats, a great Sukshinder Shinda track, and the wonderful “Ishq Naag.” Quite impressive and mostly new stuff. There was probably even more to his set that my short-term memory has not retained. Little did I know what he had in store for his second set. He started devastating with Algerian Drum’n’Bass, Arabic Drum’nBass, a sick remix of “Bhangra Fever,” a sitar’n’bass track neither Anjali or I knew, Samba’n’bass, more French hip-hop. His set was so hard and so brutal. I was blown away. Single best set I have seen him play in three years. I would love a mix of it, which I promptly told him. Sick, sick, sick. He was so good I was trying to put off going on as long as possible.
When I finally did go on after 2am I found myself playing a much harder, faster, more electronic set than I normally do, following what E3 had done. I wasn’t embarrassing myself terribly (allow me my delusions) and I got an energetic desi dancefloor to a “Rang De Basanti” remix, but my final song was a brick for the ages. I have never liked the Mika Singh “Something Something” album but I have been well aware of what a big hit it is. With this in mind I thought people might be up for some Indian cheese-pop bhangra. Well the song “Marge Sohniye” begins atrociously (“Girl when you move you’re . . .”) and I totally flubbed the transition into it for a double whammy of high-suckitude. After this astounding belly flop I had the proud pleasure of watching 80% of the late-night dancefloor immediately form a line to the door. “Bye.” “Goodbye.” “See you later.” The club immediately brought the lights up and I got to feel like the biggest ass on earth. If I could’ve stopped one song earlier I wouldn’t have to have spent the waking moments of the last 12 hours feeling like a complete suck-ass.
I always bring cheezy stuff because sometimes cheese can be fun, but when it’s not fun, it just sucks. Having cleared many dancefloors in my time I can attest to how the different methods of clearing dancefloors feel for a DJ. Let me tell you that the worst is playing a song that you don’t like, don’t respect, don’t think is any good, but play because you think it is going to work for a particular crowd. That method of clearing a crowd truly eats at the soul of a DJ. It’s one thing to play a great song that people don’t get, is too obscure, or too ahead of its time. At least in that case you can maintain a modicum of self-respect. But when you low-ball it and the crowd steps away and lets the ball hit the floor and roll to a stop, you just suck, and you’re playing shitty music.
I felt equally horrible after my first set, despite several compliments. I felt completely off-my-game, off-time, and fucking up. One flubbed ball-drop after another. It felt like I was only getting a lukewarm response no matter what I did (people liked the Tigarah, seemingly) and I wasn’t getting a strong sense of where to go with my set. Afterwards I felt like crawling under a rock and hiding. Like I said, people said nice things but for me it felt awful. Time-to-hang-up-the-headphones-bad. Well, next month at Atlas we have the pleasure of hosting DJ Rekha and I play the opening set, avoiding embarrassing myself in front of too many people, hopefullly. Thanks to everyone who came out. Thank you to Jeevan and Todd for being our street team.