OBLIVEUS BLOGSPOT

Here you will find everything to do with me, DJ Obliveus. I make edits, mix beats, book venues, do graphic design, dig for 45's and live and breathe music in Melbourne, Australia. Hit me up if yer in need of something as I love working with new folks on many things...

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Peter Andre...



I reckon I’m not an a-typical DJ (or human for that matter). Never conformed to what I was supposed to do (hello college football, life in the states and lack of home ownership for better or worse). I can’t really peg it. I do remember hanging with my friends in primary school and if they all got up to go somewhere at lunch or recess, I’d purposely wait 2min to get up and follow or not follow. For some reason, I could never bring myself to “go with the flow”.

Coming to the end of university, I was actually well-placed to get my bachelors degree, a teaching credential and live and work near my home town of San Jose, which is what my family expected of me. But then I met this girl (yeah, we know how that turned out).

Anyways, this lack of conformity has translated well to my DJ life as I have never listened (or currently listen) to what people tell me I’m supposed to play. I do my own thing. That said, I always nod politely when punters request tunes and always agree to styles the venue wants (knowing full well I’m going to do my own thing anyways and that it will work — it always does). I always nod politely and tell every punter, “yeah, I’ll totally fit that in...great idea”; knowing full well it won’t be played. Unless, I feel like playing it later (it always has to be much later).

It’s not that I’m a dick, I just like being in control when DJ’ing and trust those instincts. Not a chin striker either. I’ll just as easily drop Whitney Houston as I would some groovy number from Roy Ayers; I don’t give a fuck. I either like it or I don’t. 

I’m only saying this because although we hit that moment where punters want every and any song they can think of because, “hey, anyone can DJ now”, they are now getting ruder and ruder about it. Self-entitlement is at an all-time high.

It’s now an expectation the DJ will play YOUR song and when YOU want it played, I.e. “wait 10min, I’m going to the toilet before we leave and want to walk out singing along to Stevie Nicks.” FFS!

This leads to many verbal confrontations with punters these days because not only do I NOT play their songs, but I’ve usually forgotten the shit request the moment they walk away expecting to hear it. When they return (they always return) demanding the song, I just say it’s not the right time or, “my bad, that songs on my other laptop. I brought my wrong laptop tonight.” And that usually works.

People actually believe this shit...like I have multiple laptops for different nights. 

Regardless, due to their obvious anger which I realize I have had some part in creating (cuz I can be a dick), the next step in this charade is when they always go to, “but I have it on my phone”. 

Which leads to...

“Yeah, this program doesn’t work like that. Really sorry, anything else you may like? If I got it, I’ll play it.” Which is really another lie.

Or this old chestnut...

“I’ve only got these 45’s tonight and that song was never released on a 45.” Not a lie.

Which then results in...

“Wow, CD’s. How old are YOU? Ok, let me go have a think about it.”

Hook. Line. Sinker.

3 hours later (long after they were supposed to leave), she or he will be losing their shit to something I chose, not them. Usually, it’s something polar opposite to what they wanted in the first place, too. 

DJ mental warfare usually goes a bit like this:

Shania Twain? No thanks, but thanks for making me think of System Of A Down because I saw some Shania interview in SF whilst channel surfing back in 2003 when she toured there. Of course, this memory just so happened to remind me of an old mate of mine who managed my friends Bay Area band Salmon (Gary Avila) and he hyped me to SOAD way back when as I think they opened for them at The Edge in Palo Alto (near enough to SF) but I didn’t go and now regret it. 

So I’ll play SOAD instead and it will work for a sizable chunk of the crowd. The rest will walk off, grab a drink and will probably be back on the floor 2 songs later when I play Shania Twain after the initial requester has probably left. 

I really do think like this. I’m also a dick!

See, I don’t see music for genres. I either like it or I don’t. Pop music: if it’s catchy and I can sing/hum along to it, I generally think, “this will work on a dance floor”. So I play it. It can be any genre because I don’t see music for genres.

Oftentimes, I make genre specific mixes for Mixcloud, cuz that’s for “listening”, not “dancing”. I actually have gotten to the stage in my life where I like to listen to particular genres for long stretches as it calms me down (you can probably tell I’m a bit all over the shop). 

But all bets are off when I play gigs, because genre hopping is what it’s all about (for me). But I want catchy tunes when I play out; there’s gotta be a hook. 

Even with instrumental tracks, there needs to be something memorable there that I can instantly recongnize and process as “catchy”.

I inwardly laugh when people play out pop music like it’s some tainted bastard of mediocrity. I reckon the vast majority of these people have very little idea how difficult it is to create great pop records, songs, albums; whatever. It’s an art unto itself. 

Just because a song is picked up by commercials, movies, game shows, sporting events, etc doesn’t mean it’s shit. It means it’s that good. We may all hate it whilst it’s force fed to us by the minute, but it’s still a good song. 

I don’t care if it took 20 songwriters to write it, a good song is a good song. Popularity does not factor into that.

Still, as a DJ, I tend to stop playing songs that are currently popular, not because they are bad, but because they are expected. I usually won’t play them again until they are forgotten and sometime will never play them again (unless it’s a wedding where all rules are off lol).

So yeah, pop music. I love it. Til it’s requested. Then it’s shit. Til it’s forgotten. Then it’s good again. 

BTW Peter Andre Rocks!!!

Drops mic.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Briefs...

This is LOL:



To all of our DJ’s…

Music at (NAME WITHELD FOR ECONOMIC REASONS) is very important to us, as we feel the vibe of our venue is dependent on the tunes our hand selected DJ’s are playing. Musically, bad selection = bad business in our eyes. You have all been chosen because we trust your selection, but please play within the parameters set by our staff, i.e. the ones who are here often and know the vibe better than anyone. Obviously, we don’t expect you to play exactly what’s in this short brief, but stick close to it if you wish to continue playing here:

Late-Arvo/post-work weekdays...

Keep it chilled. We like background beats that have a bit of some psychedelic, thumb-thimble type action with a sprinkle of “Buddhist monk chanting” over the top. Preferably, record some little shits sounds plopping into the toilet (synced, of course) to really give the chants some “bottom end”. Bear in mind, that under no circumstances do we want volume past 2-3 on the mixer (it is a Berringer, and you’d know how great their output is). The music should be so background that punters will be huddled around you and your headphones listening for anything remotely close to a beat so that the vibe by the DJ console promotes “touching”.

Also, make sure you “layer in”, not mix, some Balearic circus vibes (as long as it’s layered and chilled). We kind of have that Cirque De Soleil thing going in the back corner by the Daytona Driving Games so want those punters to feel welcome, too. It’s all about diversity.

Also, I know we mention this each week, but remember that staff love wiping down tables to anything that remotely sounds like 1998-2000 era Deep House from the Drop label, so play that, too. But please, keep it “chill” and “layer”, don’t mix. Some of you have been playing a bit more 2000-2005 era deep house and that’s not what we want…unless it’s funky. I trust you with that one though, because you’re the selectors.

Also, you’ll get a lot of accountants, lawyers and marketers rolling through after work. If they ask for Stevie Nicks, under no circumstances are you to play anything from Fleetwood Mac. We prefer originals, so only songs written while she was boning Jimmy Iovine are acceptable, i.e. the stuff Tom Petty wrote. 

If any of that fails, play RNB.

Club Night begins...

So about 7pm (after we’ve hosed down the toilets and kicked all the lawyers out of the stalls), we get a bit of a drop in attendance. This when we trust your selection most of all, so would really like you to play any of the Ministry of Sound Mix CD’s that came out for free with Mixmags back in the day. Start with the Pete Tong 1999 Essential selections (my fav) and then I trust you to select any of the mix CD’s I’ve left for you in the booth in sequential order, with time of night we want them played. 

I know, I know...you’re probably thinking CD’s??? Well, we do like to be a bit old school and feel the punters respect the fact that we’ve put the time in to find these mixes from the Mega-CD Wallet from the back of my 95 Commodore sitting behind my Nan’s shed. I personally ripped these CD’s from stuff downloaded off Napster, so it’s what sets our club apart from other clubs. We’re dangerous.

Bear in mind that anything from Sasha and/or Digweed goes down a treat while we transition into a nightclub and these CD’s are full of the songs everyone was loving back well before these club kids were even conceived. Your creativity when pushing play during the blends is quite important, so please make sure this is done with minimal disruption to the flow of the night. But really, we do trust your selection when you play these CD’s (in sequential order)…so I do not think this will even be an issue. Kill it!

So after you’ve played the CD’s I left for you (reminder: in sequential order), it’s really important you try to hold onto whatever punters remain until the “real crowd” arrives, so only play remixes of popular songs circa the naughties. Better yet, if you could just push play on my iPhone which is plugged into Channel 1 and make sure to stay out of the red, that’s perfect. As well, we really need you to look interesting as punters walk in, so please angle your ear (and headphone) at 65 degrees above CDJ so that punters think you’re doing something. As people walk in, choose my “8pm mix” or “Eightpm mix”, as either will get the party started. This is where your selection abilities come to the front. One of these mixes starts about 80 BPMS and the other clocks in about 92 BPMS, so obviously you need to be reading the vibes to know which one to play. I trust you with this though.

Speaking of trust, on the rare occasion I am using my phone, I trust you to play Calvin Harris type funky house with a bit of tribal overtones, but now we want you to “mix” (not “layer”). I prefer at least 16 bars of high hats “layered” (sorry, I mean “mixed”) over 4/4 kick drums during mix transitions starting from 120 BPMs up to (but not over) 125 BPMs. Bear in mind, we need you to nod your head in beat with the music while occasionally chucking the filter on before massive drops. I suggest at least two “filter drops” (as they’re called in the industry) per song but you may want to do 4-6. I don’t want to stifle your creativity though, so we leave this in your capable hands.

Another thing...really pay attention to the dance floor and the bar, too. We want a 60-40 ratio between line up at the bar and dancers. To assist with this (because we are a team), we’ll send 3 of our bartenders on break at this time, which means we’ll easily pack our bar but need you to get that 40% on the dance floor. I cannot be more serious about this.

Literally, walk out and count the punters. You’ll be playing my mix CD’s anyways.

We have a calculator behind the bar, so you can get the percentage right. 60-40, it’s the way to go. If Maths isn’t your thing, we understand. There are plenty of You Tube clips that can show you, so I recommend watching these first (before you arrive). Actually, I’ll send you the links in a second. Don’t forget the red lining, too...

As the venue fills back up, start playing more “upbeat” but not popular “upbeat”. Our expectations are that the DJ can take the punter on a journey so they stay all night. Therefore we need you to not play anything “shit”. Shit music is bad music so refrain from playing disco (too cheesy), pop music (too cheesy), rap (too gangsta and cheesy), funk music (not funky enough), soul music (what even is this), reggae (cheesy), dancehall (absolutely not), Bass music (way too hard), techno (too underground), nu disco (too cheesy), disco edits (too close to cheesy), house music (too popular), hiphop (too cheesy), gabba (this ain’t 1998), drum’n’bass (too underground), country or western (too Shania), jazz (absolutely not) and/or spoken word (unless it’s an intro to one of my mix CD’s).

Of course, being such a pro, if any of that fails…play RNB!

So that’s just a brief description of what makes our venue tick. You are very much welcome to stop in any time so I can draw you my diagram of how to control the vibe in the room (it’s actually tattooed on my back). Regardless, we look forward to your continued support of our little Mecca of musical taste. Again, don’t take this brief as something you need to follow 100%, but stick to at least 98% of it if you wish to continue working with us. Your professionalism is something to be commended.

Cheers,

??? (Venue Manager)


PS A reminder to everyone that pay is $40ph invoiced and our managers do reserve the right to end your set early and just play my mix CD’s if they feel you are not sticking to the vibe. Don’t forget to send your invoice to our accounts department and we’ll get you into the following month’s pay cycle.

Friday, February 1, 2019

North America

When I first moved to Australia back in 2000, I got hooked up at this new venue called International Lounge Bar (through playing open decks at Laundry Bar - same owners). For those that don’t know, this place became Ding Dong Lounge and this happened within my first 2 months of living here. Obviously, beat mixing skills were not required but I wasn’t totally atrocious anyways. 


So they asked me to come in and do the late set, 1-4am on Friday nights for $25ph and being that I had no idea what I was doing, I happily said yes. $75 per week was a lot more than I had been raking in as 1/4 or 1/5 of a band for the past 8-9 years, so I thought ch Ching!!!!


So upon rocking up the first night for my set about midnight, I met the residents who were playing before me. One of whom was Nick Thayer (who was playing when I got there) and the other was Mark Brand (who’d already played but was most likely drinking all of our bar tabs before he went home).


Anyways, Brand and I hit it off right away. First off, he’s Canadian so I understood what he was saying easily enough. Second off, he loved Hiphop and we immediately connected on a long list of jams that we both loved. I realized through the convo he was into the “scratching” side of things but not overtly a “turntablist”. He seemed more about the culture and TBH, I was still so new to DJ’ing I didn’t know much about the culture of Hiphop other than what I had read and my experiences over my time going to Hiphop shows since I was 15. 


Brand was Hiphop to me; I was (and still am) a fan.


Anyways, we talked for about 30min before I went to set up and play (meeting Thayer for the first time — we got along, too) and that led to weekly hangouts with both these legends for the next year or so.


We’d do other parties together and they played all over whilst I was getting Beats Working started with Scott, Hans and Spies. But I was like a sponge with both Nick and Brand cuz they just seemed to know what they were doing and I was a total 100% novice. Whilst both were awesome DJ’s (and Nick was just starting to get into his production — I still have about 5 early CDR versions of tracks that would one day be signed to some cool labels) it was the way Brand handled business that really taught me a lot about how to “make it” as a DJ at the time.


I mean, I was my bands manager for most of my time doing it so it’s not like I had no clue about getting myself out there, but the way Brand did it made it seem so professional and business like. I think I got my ABN through him telling me how to do it.


He opened my eyes and a lot of doors to new venues and crews. I met a lot of people through Brand during those early years, ie Nathan Flagrant, Doc Felix, Jarrod Fox (the legendary J-Red), Mexi (and by default, No Name Nathan) and we did countless gigs together at Laundry, International, Lounge and plenty of joints I forgot about. He also introduced me to this cool dude named Ben Stacey, who just quit his band and got into DJ’ing and we’d end up doing quite a few things over the years (and we still try to hang whenever I’m up Sydney way). Brand even brought down a couple of up and coming rappers to freestyle on stage with me at Brown Alley one time by the names of Bliss n Eso and I still can’t remember who was more drunk, them or Brand (who also got on the mic, I think).


Brand was family to me and still is. I’m super stoked to see him doing so well after his move back to Canada, his constant world travels supporting those that need it, his culinary skills and I’m even more stoked that he and I get to hang tomoz at The Penny Black from 2-5pm, where we’ll be going back to back with a couple of bags of Hiphop, soul, funk, boogie and assorted treats all on the 45 format.


So for those that know Brand, get down to get down. For those that don’t, come meet him...you’ll be stoked that you did.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

JUKE JOINTS: The Melbourne Launch!!!!


Very excited about the launch of our new monthly 45's night here in Melbourne AND the launch of Sydney's Juke Joints (which may not be a monthly, but hey, it's a start). Both Shan Frenzie and I are super stoked to be pushing the 45's sounds and the fact that I've now teamed up with a good mate and started our own 45's label, Juke Joints Records. You can find us at: jukejoints.com.au and we'll hopefully have a new release by mid-year, hence, me heading up to Sydney to plan it all out.



Anyways, anyone that knows me knows that I'm passionate about 45's, so the fact that venues (I'm looking at you Penny Black, Section 8, SPQR, Cafe Lounge, Ching-A-Lings, Little Mess, etc) and punters actually support guys and girls like us doing this is quite comforting and inspiring. So hopefully, we'll see you down getting down to sounds from the past (and plenty from now considering how many new acts are releasing 45's).

We all know the demise of vinyl was crock of shit, yeah?

Peeze,

Eric OB