Band vs DJ

Galadrm

Senior Member
Had a college gig last weekend, was probably the best/largest and most fun gig my band has ever played. We were scheduled from 7:30-10pm with DJ to play 10-late. Turns out the crowd was larger and more enthusiastic for our set than the DJ.

Probably a mix of the fact that we were playing tracks that everyone knows and loves, while the DJ's song selection was somewhat alternative. Either way it was great to see and play to such enthusiasm for our band. Have others had experiences like this? Generally I would say from my experience that people really get around a DJ more so than they would a band... who knows why.

Just to be clear not hating on DJ's here... just commenting on the attraction of one over a live band in a entertainment situation.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
DJ's are to musicians as fire hydrants are to dogs.

Frank Zappa
 
Last edited:

running

Member
Apples and oranges really. If I had to choose personally (and I should mention DJing was my first gig in the industry) I would pick the band, because I like live instrumentation more than recorded music and I think a performance from the best band will always trump a performance from the best DJ.

If I had to guarantee a successful party and knew nothing about the attendees in advance, I would pick the DJ, because a professional DJ who knows what they're doing will never miss. The sheer advantage of library size and improvisational ability gives a professional (again, emphasis on professional -- lot of "DJs" out there these days) an advantage in the flexibility and adaptability department.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
'People' view music and its purveyor differently than musicians view it, in that there's usually an agenda/resentment with the musician, whereas the audience just hears the music. Some people prefer what the DJ plays, some prefer what a band plays, it varies. If the music is good, that's what counts.

DJs play music that a live band couldn't and shouldn't play, and if a DJ is just playing classic rock & oldies, the establishment is probably better off paying a band to do that instead - DJs are expensive!

Bermuda
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
This thread echoes some of the responses in this thread. All depends on the crowd and the purpose.
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=131987
There's the old axiom of if you never had it ,you won't miss it.

I was lucky enough to grow up in an era where live dance bands were common and easily accessible.

Now that is the exception rather than the norm.

I find most DJ's an Aspartame substitute for the real thing.

People actually paying to see DJ's to me is a joke.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Same here. We went to a teen center, or the CYA, Catholic Youth Center almost every weekend and saw some great bands and danced all night for about 2 bucks. Now all bands want to be rock stars and play for huge crowds, rather than local events. I'm not sure what proms do. $2000.00 for a dress and a DJ? How depressing.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
People actually paying to see DJ's to me is a joke.
Seeing a DJ? Yes. If they're dancing, that's fine.

Many DJs aren't even real DJs anymore. A good DJ today is also a producer and remixer, and I'll admit being fascinated by watching them create on the fly. It's truly an art that transcends the turntablism of the '80/90s. But they're few and far between, and they're not making music that a band would otherwise be playing. They're often different things, and that's fine. Like drum sequences vs live drumming, there's a place for both, with very little crossover.

Bermuda
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
Same here. We went to a teen center, or the CYA, Catholic Youth Center almost every weekend and saw some great bands and danced all night for about 2 bucks. Now all bands want to be rock stars and play for huge crowds, rather than local events. I'm not sure what proms do. $2000.00 for a dress and a DJ? How depressing.
It's all about convenience.

Don Ellis once remarked that sooner or later we'll get our music fix from electrodes wired to our frontal lobes.

Now that's progress for ya.
 

running

Member
People actually paying to see DJ's to me is a joke.
In defense of DJs think there are some out there actually performing that are definitely worth the price of admission, e.g.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44F0d2CbjM0

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msdFDCcdwaA

There's also the idea of paying more for the ambience (dancing with 10,000 people) and less the DJ that makes sense to me, too.

But then there are guys like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZP4Ugev82I ...
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
It's all about convenience.

Don Ellis once remarked that sooner or later we'll get our music fix from electrodes wired to our frontal lobes.

Now that's progress for ya.
We already do. All of us go around singing to ourselves, in the shower, humming, whistling. We really don't need devices at all. Can you imagine how many songs you have heard in your lifetime.??
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
In defense of DJs think there are some out there actually performing that are definitely worth the price of admission, e.g.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44F0d2CbjM0

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msdFDCcdwaA

There's also the idea of paying more for the ambience (dancing with 10,000 people) and less the DJ that makes sense to me, too.

But then there are guys like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZP4Ugev82I ...

This is cool, if you like your music to sound like a skipping record. One needs to be conditioned into it tho. In the past- "Hey, did you hear that guy? He made the record skip." "Yeah man, that's cool, but Im gonna go home and work on making the record skip a bunch a times in the song, I'll be cooler!"

What else can you really do on a turntable anyway, what other mechanical FX?






A friend told me his DJ buddy went to a paid seminar where supposedly a (cooler than anybody) DJ was teaching the next big thang. Guess what he said the next big thang is? Its the DJ playing an instrument onstage.

Apparently its not enough to just stand there and look involved with your laptop, its considered way cool to also play an instrument while you're pushing buttons on the laptop. Oy Vey!

Drum, Cajon, percussion, stringed something. I thought it was weird that Tiesto (in 2005) brought a violin player, an actual musician onstage while his canned stuff was playing.

Now that 'anyone' can become a DJ they need to up the game. DJ's need to get talented, actually play an instrument, not well, just make it look like you can do something other DJ's can't.


Rough ballpark of what the top DJ's get for a show:

Calvin Harris: $350,000 – $550,000

David Guetta: $350,000

Tiësto: $350,000

Hardwell: $100,000 +

Martin Garrix: $100,000

Afrojack: $50,000 – $100,000

Armin van Buuren: $50,000 – $100,000

Oliver Heldens: $10,000 – $30,000
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
For me it is more about the crowd than the entertainment, and nine times out of ten a DJ will have a better crowd, better dancing etc.

The main point here is that a live band demands to be the center of attention, and well that is kind of annoying. However, DJs have getting people up and moving down to science.

There are bands that don't have this problem, many swing, salsa bands know it's about the dance.

The other nice thing about DJ's is that it is easier to be different. You if everyone in your town is rock drummer but you don't like rock, you can play something different.

I just saw a reggae duo, a keys player, a steel pannist/singer with an electronic tracker. It was fabulous. Would it be nice if they had reggae drummer, yes however I'm pretty sure the reggae talent just isn't here, and the tracker was tastefully executed.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
In defense of DJs think there are some out there actually performing that are definitely worth the price of admission, e.g.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44F0d2CbjM0

and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msdFDCcdwaA

There's also the idea of paying more for the ambience (dancing with 10,000 people) and less the DJ that makes sense to me, too.

But then there are guys like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZP4Ugev82I ...
A turn table is essentially a friction instrument like a guiro, wood rasp, or wash board.




So is an iPod then.

A turntable could also (pervertedly) be considered a percussion instrument, tap on the needle. Hmmmm, no DJ has mastered needle tapping yet... there you go kids, be the first.
 

running

Member
Seriously? Worth the price of admission?

Nope
What are you basing this off of? I understand it may not be your musical cup of tea, but do you know how much sheer skill and dexterity it takes to pull off a set like that? They make it look easy, it's not.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
What are you basing this off of? I understand it may not be your musical cup of tea, but do you know how much sheer skill and dexterity it takes to pull off a set like that? They make it look easy, it's not.
Juggling and dancing at the same time also requires dexterity and practice ,but to try and equate those skills to musicianship is a reach.

I was in Vegas a few years ago at a sushi bar and a guy came in and proceeded to tell another patron how dope his set was a local disco.

Dude,at best you are a good sound reinforcement tech,but musician,really?
 

running

Member
Juggling and dancing at the same time also requires dexterity and practice ,but to try and equate those skills to musicianship is a reach.

Dude,at best you are a good sound reinforcement tech,but musician,really?
If you want to say that Paris Hilton and that guy at the sushi bar and all the other push play DJs out there are not musicians, I am with you.

But truly mastering DJing requires every bit the musical understanding and physical skill required with a traditional instrument. The sheer number of DJs who have gone on to have very successful production careers is not a coincidence... they know music.

What's funny is it's far easier to grasp basic drumming than it is basic DJing (again, talking about actually performing, not just hitting play and using sync).
 
Top