I started 2022 thinking about a few things and decided to write a bit of a ramble to see what discussions may arise. I apologize in advance if it’s a little hard to read, I couldn’t do a better job of putting thought to virtual page. This is not something that came to me this year specifically, but it was exacerbated by the return to attending a couple of parties & friends’ gigs and observing a few things after spending a couple of years at home.
I have a few friends who throw some of the bigger “underground” parties* here in São Paulo and who for the most part are quite good DJs in their own right. I’ve been attending these for a while and have watched them go from occasional small 50-100 people gatherings in local bars, to big monthly bashes in open spaces with attendance in the hundreds if not thousand and a bit people. It’s cool, they have made money and their reputations on that and it’s all well deserved. In the past I was very much looking forward to becoming a part of this scene as a DJ (in some cases I have), but having spent a good time looking at the people attending these events has also given me some pause, and made me think again about a few things.
It’s funny how the better known these parties became, the more people would ask for more - and quite aggressively so. Once you’re talking about the high hundreds of people at a party, with proper promotion, lineups and $ spent on the event, it becomes a case of the more you give, the more people ask for of the event itself, and, what’s craziest: the less they were willing to give. It’s inversely proportional - the bigger the crowd, the more it expects of the event - and the DJ in particular, whilst giving back less and less in terms of that energy we can all feed off of, both as dancers/listeners but especially as DJs.
What I mean by that is that when the parties were small, it seemed to me like there was a 50/50 exchange between DJs and crowds, where each would uphold their part of the bargain and thus make for a memorable night. When crowds grow big, at least here, they grow to become this boring mass of “gimme more” without ever really a) properly appreciating what they have, and b) giving back simply by opening their ears up, and dancing - and yes, social media and the like has made this worse. In fact, these days I think most crowds don’t deserve the kinds of parties that some very passionate people put on for them, a lot of the times losing money in the process.
My point is, now that life is coming back to normal, I’ve been thinking more and more about what I want as a DJ (important to note that I do not make a living out of it!), and I’ve more or less come to the conclusion that going back to the small room might just be the best way of simply having a great time playing music. A residency at a no-bullshit basement, with a small bar, a decent soundsystem, and 100 people who are there, ears open, ready to dance for the sake of it - that has suddenly become my dream gig again, and I think it’s well within the realm of possibility.
I was just wondering what the TP Forum’s opinion is on all of this. Is this big crowd dilemma something you observe where you are? Given the choice, for the sheer fun of it, would you prefer a smaller crowd to a bigger one? Or am I completely nuts? Does this strike a nerve?
Let me know either way…
*(just the fact that there is such a thing as a big underground party is really the crux of the issue here)