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Is a DJ a musician

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by WarriorJoe7, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. Yes a DJ is a musician

  2. Nope a DJ is not a musician but something else (post what he is)

  3. Carrots are good musicians. Carrots make good fretboard wood too!

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  1. WarriorJoe7

    WarriorJoe7 Banned

    Mar 12, 2004
    Syracuse, NY
    Hmmm so if I was looking for a DJ to add to my band, would I be looking for a "musician?" let me explain a bit more.

    Now I don't mean a DJ who plays a musical instrument. I mean a DJ who plays with samples and adds them to the music and does other things that DJs commonly do (other than playing a traditional musical instrument, which I intentionally exclude, and I guess we have to leave out vocals too.)

    Now I don't think I can make this about DJ Shadow because (I am not sure) but I think he plays some instruments too. His first album was 100% samples, and he got into the guiness book for that. If I were looking for a DJ with the skill set DJ shadow used for making his first album... would that person be a musician?

    I don't think he would be an instrumentalist... well because what instrument then? But you guys can argue all that for me.
  2. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas
    I use my laptop as a musician - a DJ is a whole PERSON.
  3. Sure, a DJ is a musician. He's going to apply samples in a certain rhythm that add a texture to your music. I think that qualifies.
  4. This can be a really touchy subject. There are **some** DJ's that have a strong concept of ryhthm, key centres and know how to scratch, mesh songs, samples and beats in a musical way. I feel very strongly that these DJ's are an artist in there own right but not a 'musician.'

    The person that created their loops and samples is the 'musician'. Their role is much more of a live producer. I would argue that DJ has not composed anything, not created any original musical idea but found a way to almagamate existing ideas. Sure, it's a skill of its own but it's not what musicians do.
  5. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
  6. Dogbertday

    Dogbertday Commercial User

    Jul 10, 2007
    SE Wisconsin
    Blaine Music LLC
    I didn't really think so until i saw common and kanye west live at lollapalooza and both had 10 minute DJ solos... it was exciting and physically challenging and there were deffinate musical ideas as well as tension and release of tension... I call that music
  7. absolutely
  8. If you're talking about DJs who just spin records and mix them for parties, then I wouldn't consider them musicians. But if you're talking about guys who mix sounds and scratch to create unique songs then of course, especially when scratching, which has its own unique sound and is very rhythmically centered. And if you're still not convinced, they actually have records with just notes sampled on them so some DJs could use them to compose songs live. I'd even consider Incubus' DJ a musician (not counting that he plays guitar too), even though I think a lot of times his DJing is more a gimmick than a big contribution to the band.
  9. Linkin Park, man. That guy is an integral part of their sound, especially on Meteora.
  10. middlebit


    Sep 10, 2005
    Some few DJ's make interactive musical statements, which in my mind would endow them with certain musician-like qualities. But honestly, the common DJ just presses play.
  11. YEssire!
    Here in Belgium (of all places) we have the DJ Grazzhoppa's Dj Big Band ... 12 DJ's, each doing their scratch thing, taking care of a sound/instrument. They even invented a notation to write songs that way. Impressive to say the least!
  12. mustang-monk


    Feb 1, 2008
    if theyre just playing other peoples records theyre not a musician. if hes adding samples as part of a band that qualifies.
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Actually I know of many excellent musicians who say this is exactly what they do - as in : there is nothing new out there - it's just a case of combining existing ideas into something pleasing!

    So - you take an existing tonal system and choose existing notes and chords, use instruments that in most cases have existed for centuries and are basically incapable of making a new sound.

    Being a musician is all about using ideas and sounds that have been around for a long time!

    Generally as a musician - you take bits of existing theory, patch them together with things you have heard other musicians do and really there aren't any notes or sounds that haven't been played thousands or millions of times before!
  14. +1... I can't believe people are saying yes! :eyebrow: Meshing songs (even with a strong concept of rhythm and key signatures) is not what a musician does. Playing an instrument/singing, reading notation, composing are all things musicians do...not a DJ.

    If you think a DJ is a musician, you might as well think your studio/live engineer and producer are musicians as well. After all, the good ones have a strong concept of rhythm and key signatures and manipulate sounds--they may even mesh songs...

    EDIT: Oh, and if the DJ plays and records some instruments for his samples--he/she is a musician in addition to being a DJ. But DJ and musician are not synonymous.
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    In answer to the original question, I would prefer to say that :

    Some DJs are musicians.
    But the fact you are a DJ does not necessarily make you a musician.
    If you are doing nothing other than pushing a button on recorded music - that makes you a listener.
    If you are creating your own musical 'collage' - you might be on the way to becoming a musician - you might not.
    Similarly - just because you plonk a few notes on bass doesn't mean you are necessarily a musician...:meh:
    It's never black and white!
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    They certainly can be - there is a view that George Martin was more of a musician than all the Beatles, on an individual basis! :eyebrow:
  17. +1
  18. Right, and let us not forget Tom Dowd...

    But my point was musician is a separate term. I am an audio engineer, but I am also a musician. I could be a DJ too...three separate things (thoughI can use them in conjunction with each other).
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    But my point was that George Martin's "musicianship" was in great use on the Beatles albums he worked on - even if he played nothing!
  20. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I think DJ's and electronic music composers aren't really musicians at all. I have had discussions with some before, and they argue about having expertise with software, mixing, and whatever they do as thier "live" act.

    Learning how to play an instrument proficiently requires much more time and dedication. I'm sure I could learn how to interface my laptop with a mixer and cut-up some mp3's in a week or so and take that to a club. I know if I was just starting out that I could not do the same with a bass or any other instrument for that matter. I've been playing for nearly 15 years, and I still learn something new everytime I hook up with a new bunch of musicians.

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