Remember when you started DJ’ing because you had the best music collection out of all your friends, and you just loved the music and you didn’t care if you got stuck playing music all night at a party, remember? Remember when you got asked to play in another city for the first time and not only were they going to pay you, they were actually going to pay for a flight to get you there, remember? Remember when you had no idea what a rider was and you were just happy to get a couple free drinks while you were playing all night, remember? Remember when you were grateful to get a free dinner and good company and you were cool with crashing out in the promoters spare room, or anywhere for that matter, remember? Remember flying coach and being thrilled when you got that free upgrade to business class and you couldn’t believe how lucky you were, remember? Remember those days when you showed up somewhere to play and nobody even knew who you were, but it didn’t matter because you were just thankful to have an opportunity to do what you love, remember?
Remember all that next time you get on your private chartered flight with your 2 page rider of demands. Remember that the drink service you expect on stage before you even play costs more than most people on this planet make all month. Remember that a bed is just a bed and most people don’t even have that to sleep on let alone ever see the inside of that 5 star hotel that you’re demanding. Remember that at the end of the day you’re playing music someone else created, and that they are probably struggling just to keep the lights on and live in obscurity while you reap the benefits of what they created. Remember that everything comes to an end.. remember that.
I always hear people say that politics and heavy topics shouldn’t be mixed with art.. I think that’s precisely the reason nothing changes today. Yeah once in a while someone gets worked up enough to start an online petition and everyone voices there “outrage” at the injustice, then proceeds to go on about how fucked up they plan on getting this week in Ibiza.. My personal thoughts are that art SHOULD be a reflection of the condition of humanity and the world around us.. that being the case, look at the current fluff of music that’s infected every corner of the globe and ask yourself why nothing changes, or will change anytime in the near future. Apathy and this constant drive for pleasure and escape, music and art that is empty and artist only creating to please, not inspire. Aldous Huxley wrote about this concept in Brave New World, and also something he called “soma”:
"Bernard also laughed; after two grammes of soma the joke seemed, for some reason, good. Laughed and then, almost immediately, dropped off to sleep,…"
And so they sleep…. art/music has always been a powerful means to reach and inspire people. Look at the punk movement, early electronic artists like Cabaret Voltaire, hip hop’s Grand Master Flash’s “The Message”, Public Enemy, KRS One, Pablo Picasso’s “Cuernavaca”, Frida Kahlo, and so on. Every medium and time in history is sprinkled with artists, musicians, and writers who inspired movements and action that would change cultures and history. So who will be the vanguards and voices of this generation? Yeah yeah… you say it’s all about just having a good time and escaping, I get it. We all went nuts when left unsupervised as a child with a big bag of sweets, but we all quickly learned that you can’t always do that.. you get sick from too much sugar. You simply realized that as you grow up you actually need some substance and something of more nutritional value.
I don’t think we should expect artists to just shut up and keep their opinions to themselves. Seek out and support artists that bring that substance to your life. Encourage them and they’ll inspire and be inspired themselves. Then maybe, MAYBE more people would put the “soma” down, wake up, look at what’s really going on around them and actually do something about it…