TJ Cafe – Let’s have a chat…
gancho: We are very glad to have the chance to chat dearest Tango DJs. Good morning to all and let me jump into the questions: What do you think how should be a good TangoDJ?
Ramazan Toktay (Ramo): A good tangodj listens music. Not just tango music.
Dark-OH: Good morning, Sexy Admin! Just to love tango music, not just fame, sex, fake glam and other crappy things that goes with DJing…
Karolina: To me a good tango T/DJ apart from the knowledge about tango music and music in general, love for it needs to be able to feel the music and the dance floor, observe it and modulate the music she/he plays accordingly.
Jasmin: Here is my two cents: A good TangoDJ is a dj who plays good music! Just that simple J In order to do that he/she needs to be passionate about music, to know music by heart, to interact with the crowd (to read the crowd), to have needed technical and audio skills and last but not least to work regularly on his/her data base.
Vera: I believe a good tango DJ is the one who can connect to the people and create a good energy flow. Of course, everyone has a specific signature or taste, but on first place are always the dancers and what will give them the wish to dance and connect to eachothers. I like to improvise and create the tandas during the milonga, this keeps me free to feel the moment and give my best. And Dark-Oh, I can’t stop loving the other things going with djing 😀
Dark-OH: Side effects are Ok if they are just side effects, not the main “Spiritus movens” and its usually addressed to male DJs wannabe…
Tugba: For me the good Dj plays for the crowd and adapt herself/himself to the event that he/she is playing. Of course knowledge is important but on the other hand it can damage the feeling too. So for me it is a fine line. Feeling the crowd and adapting to the people makes a really damn good DJ.
gancho: Little bit provocation J Is there a difference between ladies and guys in DJing? If yes, what kind of differences?
Vera: Obviously there are two main differences: aesthetic and energy 😉
Karolina: For me personally there is not much difference apart from what Vera said 😉 . I cannot observe substantial differences in between these two groups that wouldn’t be true for what is in each of them, so in my opinion there’s no difference between ladies and guys in DJing.
gancho: Vera, what is the impact of esthetic, else than visual on dj table? And energy? Tell us more please…
Vera: Aesthetics brings spirit higher 🙂 But if i have to go more in details, I feel that female energy (in terms of choosing music) gives more sensuality and warmness, the music pieces are more connected to melody and vocals and the sequence of tandas is intuitively or emotionally related to the dancers and ambiance. In opposite case, male energy is more connected to rhythm and instrumentals, structure and how “danceable” is the concrete track. And I guess this is very natural as our roles in dancing. Even though I have these observations, I believe all is very individual and related only to the present moment. And transmitting the energy on the dance floor is not only gender related, but much more <3
Tugba: Mmmmm I think taste is different but as I said before if a DJ is adaptable to crowd there is not difference between ladies and guys. One thing is quite obvious in my opinion ladies play more vocal then the guys.
Jasmin: So far I haven´t found any significant difference between woman and man in djing. I think that a good dj should have a balanced approach. In order to hold a good level of energy during the set, a good balance between rhythm and melody, instrumentals and lyrics, and also between drama and melancholy is needed. As my friend Darko-OH once said: dj-ing should feel like making love: a right amount of passion and tenderness should be applied.
Ramo: I tried to find some differences. But I couldn’t. I’m deeply sorry. 🙂
gancho: Do you DJ any other genre of music than tango? If yes, what are the differences for you between a Tango DJ vs. other DJs? I f not, how do you see it: what is the main specific differences btw 2 DJs?
Vera: Yeah. I love my cortinas. 🙂
Tugba: Hahahah I would like to try and learn club Djing to see the difference J one big difference is the cache I guess ;) Actually I have just experienced in the last event that DJ playing from vinyl scratching and mixing, he was having fun not ME. OMG it was quite disturbing. I left the milonga earlier than ever.
Karolina: I don’t DJ any other kind of music, BUT I feel that – as Vera already said – cortinas are crucial during tango DJ-ing, they help you maintain the energy and mood you want and flawlessly switch between tango pieces.
Jasmin: I remember a funny story from one Dj friend who listen to the set of one tango Dj, kind of guy who has all the fancy Dj staff professional Djs are supposed to have, like controllers & co. During this set a friend of mine realized that a Dj put an early Castillo inside the Campos tanda. He was so annoyed that he decided to ask him what was the reason to do it and the answer was brilliant: that song had the same pitch like the previous one!
gancho: Hahahaha.. Nice story! Now few questions together to combine some similar thoughts: Do you think that dancers go to specific events based on DJs crew? And do you think that DJs are paid enough by organizers, and are they treated well e.g. like maestros in festivals?
Vera: Deniz, as an organiser you know this is a rhetorical question. 😉 Mainly DJs are not paid enough. Djing has been inspiration for many people in the last years and has been perceived mainly as a hobby, but to be able to dj you need to be technically equipped with good computer, sound card, program, to have good quality of music, to invest also time to listen, read and so on. So, in these terms I believe payment is appreciation and possibility to give more effort and time. As dj’s are also artists I do believe good environment is also needed /accommodation, technical support etc/, so we can focus on our work, instead on organizational issues.
Jasmin: I will try to answer your questions separately but please bear in mind that English is not my mother language and I don´t use it regularly, therefore I apologize for my mistakes in advance!
I think that the dancers primarily go to an international event to get a good dance, therefore the events with many good dancers are the most appreciated (the ideal case would be the event with a large number of very good dancers willing to dance with me ;)), than come all other things like maestros (in case of a festival), DJs, accessibility of the site, cost (cheap direct flights, cost of accommodation) attractiveness of the city, facilities (beautiful buildings with wooden floor?), organization, floorcraft (ronda), warm and friendly atmosphere, … Of course, one can ask what is a formula to attract good dancers, but this question should be addressed to organizers.
I find Konrad Krynski´s blog on this topic (good dj´s vs. popular dj´s) is very interesting and worth reading.
I think that a musical taste in different types of events (festival, marathon, encuentro) and in different countries or areas could be pretty different. Generally speaking, the tango community is selective on DJs, but I am not sure which criteria (popularity vs. good music) is prevailing, the crucial point here is the question how many of organizers/dancers really understand music and how important is the music for them. Some organizers really care about their DJs, others care less and invite even the DJs they ´ve never heard, but which has been recommended by some friend of a friend.
It is not easy to give a simple answer on this question (payment), because there are no widely accepted rules about the payment on international events, some organizers are treating DJs well, but some offer them to work for free (“dj-ing on my event could be a good reference for your future engagements” ;)), some even go further and expect you to pay your travel and accommodation cost (I wouldn´t wonder if one day one of the colleagues tell me that they even charged him/her for an event in which he/she dj-ed ;)). Some say that 30E/hour or 100-150E/set and cost covered should be a reference for an international event, but that is still not widely accepted.
Tugba: What I know is dancers don’t go to specific events because of Djs and even cancel the event when they find out who is DJing. Yes of course there are some people follow their DJ friends. And yes some organizers choose the Djs because of how many people they can bring.
I think this depends so much on the organizers but dancers are more and more selective and picky on DJs. At the same time so much politics going and yes on yes some organizers are selective depending on their needs .
(paid enough?) No and no but this is a general answer, it does not conclude everybody.
The organizers try usually to save as much as money when it comes to Djs (some even says it does not matter who Djs….!!! yes I heard that unfortunately) while they can pay fortune to the maestros. But yes of course this is ok and the maestros give more and work more during the festival. But this does not mean that some organizers will treat the Djs like they are doing us a favor inviting us to their event.
Since djing will not be my main job I have the luxury to choose and accept the events and organizers that I like. The money at the end not the main point but the appreciation.
Ramo: As you know, I was djing professionally before for 13 years. If I compare, the payments are very low in tango for DJs. In this case, respect is the main point. If the organizer is not respecting to my job and I think I will have problem with it, I’m not accepting the offer. I think it’s a process. I hope it will change in the future.
Dark-OH: Dear colleagues said it all, I would just like to add some things such as… even Maestros are paid 15 times more than DJs, which is Ok cause of the classes and other things, with organizer only can bother me their careless … DJs are not conductors, composers or musicians, but in a way they are an artists that can make your Milonga good or bad. Not to mention all the time, effort and money invested in building their taste as much as building the quality of discography of Tango music. And, yes, a topic… careless or some organizers in a way of running away at the end of event or giving you sealed envelope with less than agreed (especially if an event didn’t came up as good or even worse if they had 1000 people on a Milonga), behaviors such as: “Find your way from an airport by yourself”, “Can you buy a ticket and I’ll repay you”, “Play from 21h till Sunrise”, or “Ill kiss asses to Meastros and feed them whole event, but I’ll forget to bring you even glass of water during your set”… Buuuut, most important thing is that those organizers are getting more rare and that a word is spread about them so other DJs avoid them…
gancho: As DJs, I guess, you travel quite a lot and what are your observations on the different tango communities? Do you see any differences, cultural, music preferences etc..?
Gogo (Gokhan Toygar): In our country there is a number of cultural differences. There are knowledge differences. If you know more about tango and tango culture, the differences will be smaller. My opinion is valid for the whole world.
Ramo: Turkish dancers usually want to dance with rhythmical and melodical music together. They don’t use cabeceo and mirada usually. Most of them don’t count the songs in the tanda when inviting somebody to dance. For example, you can get an invitation at the end of 4th or 3rd song of a tanda.
Jasmin: Ramo – inviting someone at the end of 3rd or 4th song can be a good strategy, if you ´ve never danced with that person, it could saves your night J
gancho: Where do you see tango in 10 years in Europe? I think tango is evolving and changing all the time and it will not be the same as it is not now vs 10yrs ago. How will it be, do you guess? And how DJs will effect this change?
Dark-oh: DJ might extinct in one moment, but Tango will not. And I hope we all contribute a bit for His spreading.
Jasmin: Tango is evolving from its beginning continuously and it will continue to evolve as a music and dance style. Thus we can ask ourselves to what extent the evolution of the tango as a music style will influence the professional tango dancers (in terms of using new songs for their performances, but also as using new songs as an inspiration to develop new dance styles and techniques), the DJs (social dancers) and the listeners (both “pure” listeners and tango musicians). I think all three groups are playing an important role in the creation of a paradigm. For me as a DJ the crucial question is how inspiring and danceable is the (modern) music (in terms of predictability, complexity, quality, etc.) for the social dancing. We had in the post golden-age era of tango the evolution of the Tango Nuevo as a music style in the 60´s and the evolution of the Tango Nuevo as a dance style in the 90´s (2000´s). In the last ten years tango has got more traditional (as a result of that change many new “orquestas típicas” have evolved in the last decade) but it is hard to predict what is going to happen in the future. The forces inside the tango community are working in both directions (creation vs. preservation) so I am looking forward to see the future development!
Vera: Even though the society is very mixed nowadays I can find some differences between cities and local temper. You can feel it even with the sound volume, in some countries the music is much louder than others. Same with the music preferences when I was playing in Naples I was thinking that I can play tandas which I’ll never play per example in Vienna. Different temper and emotionality of people are finding more natural to express when they feel the music closer and it affects them.
Anyway after so many I words it is all about dancing, having fun, meeting friends, sharing good vibes or whatever else tango brings from you and enjoying our emotional range and the possibility to connect.