“Figure your own s*** out!”: the words of a DJ of 35 years and counting as poached turned gamekeeper Annabel Ross asks how you put a set together – but is it just a generational thing?

Things aren’t going very well in the world of Annabel Ross. That big exposé of Derrick May was meant to be her admission ticket into the big leagues – only to get beaten to it by Ellie Flynn. Then the pandemic played havoc with her work life and a rubbish 2021 concluded with a nasty bout of the coronavirus.

But I’ve noticed over the past few months that Ross decided to join the gamekeepers by suddenly announcing to the world that she was now a DJ. Which doesn’t say much, because it’s something the world and his cat can do now – but it still takes something special to actually be good at it.

So when Ross tweeted earlier this week that she wanted to know how DJs put their sets together, there was surprise in certain quarters – especially if an email received by this blog yesterday from a career DJ is anything to go by. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he expressed little short of disgust over the question.

He said “Any DJ worth their salt doesn’t ask this. They just practice and practice and find out what works for them. I choose the first track in advance, then I play whatever I think will work next. Other DJs do it other ways and that’s cool. You have to find what works for you, and practice is the only way to find it. Figure your own s*** out!”.

So what problem does he specifically have with the question Ross poses? He replied by saying “It’s just one of those things. Trying to suss out what everyone else is doing is just lazy and looking for a quick answer to something that takes time. Hell, I’ve tried different tactics over the years, but I always come back to the choosing the first track thing.”.

And is this possibly a generational thing? His reply this time is more nuanced, but he says “Maybe. I don’t know. Maybe new generation DJs are happier to talk about it, but that was s*** you didn’t touch when I was starting out. You practiced constantly, you were always looking out for tracks no one else had, and you learned the hard way. I bombed so many f***ing times when I started, but it made me what I am today. I just think trying to find out what everyone else does is lazy.”.

He’s not the only person I’ve seen expressing this opinion – but as is always the way with this blog, you can make your own minds up…

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