OK, that’s enough tweeting now please. At first it was exciting – we all know DJs are the new rock stars and I got a buzz finding out where my DJ heroes were, what they were thinking and most predominantly what they were eating. We were all riding the crest of Hunter S. Thompson’s high and beautiful wave until Twitter very quickly revealed the crushing truth about our DJ overlords: that they are just like us – maybe even worse. And nobody wanted to know that.
Johnny Depp has always maintained a simple and admirable tactic when it comes to being a celebrity: in his own words, “Don’t complain and don’t explain.” Spot on, Johnny. If DJs have any hope of maintaining any mystery or magnetism they should be following Depp’s code, but it seems that on Twitter the temptation to complain and over-share is simply too great. I want my DJ to be a charismatic enigma - a mysterious nocturnal creature which comes to life behind the decks, rules our body and our hearts for five hours then recedes back into the secret villa or townhouse from whence it came, emerging only for the occasional set, interview or trip to Curries Digital for miscellaneous cable.
Presumably I’m in the minority on this otherwise Twitter wouldn’t have been such a success. People love to have that direct connection with a DJ, DJs love to talk about themselves, and everybody froths off the fact that they’re just real dudes or dudettes like us, man. Figs to that – I get up every day to my middle class existence in the hope that there are DJs out there who are 100% cooler than me and blazing through an incredible life of creativity, debauchery and dedication. I want to believe that my DJ is waking up in the middle of the night full of excitement to play a record that just came to him in a dream, snorting a line off a passed-out groupie’s exposed armpit then creating a remix of that record into the mid-morning and playing it as the last track of their gig in Bucharest later that night. I don’t want to hear that he is bored in an airport, that his coffee is too weak or that he thinks Nina Kraviz needs to get some. As soon as they start complaining and explaining on Twitter my creepy illusion is shattered.
The second best Twitter account in existence (after @thebigbenclock and his most honest and concise ‘bongs’) is @DJsComplaining, which re-tweets all the plaintive cries of DJs who are currently living The Life right now but, like, totally hate airlines :( :( :(. Deadmau5 and Scuba feature quite a lot on this; the former can’t stop cussing and complaining about things which have absolutely nothing to do with his fans and everything to do with his booking agent, the latter just really hates it when The Help gets his order wrong.
If you really want to see a DJ self-destruct via social media however, look no further than the self-declared House Gangster, DJ Sneak. Passing quickly over the noobish concept of promoting yourself as a house gangster, I'll focus on his reputation as the instigator of ‘twitter beefs’: the modern day duel, the ‘house’ gangster drive by, or perhaps most simply explained as a cyber bitching session.
Let’s look at the latest beef in Sneak’s long carnivorous history. He played to a near-empty room at a Circus gig in Liverpool last month, because everyone was in the next room watching Fatboy Slim eat, sleep, rave and repeat. He moaned about it on Twitter (what did Johnny Depp say about this!) advising it might be time for Circus to ‘pack it in’, which was outrageously unprofessional and mean-spirited. He also made a harsh dig at the scouse clientele, alienating himself from an entire city by declaring they were all c***s (this was later deleted, no surprises).
So there is a general online uproar, expressions of support for Circus and Liverpool and derision towards the House G, several hundred people take to Twitter to point out Sneak is a fat c**t, he tells them all to go f**k a goat and dance music websites run articles on it for days. Compulsively, I read them all, but a little piece of my cultural soul dies every time I spend five minutes of my life reading an article about what one guy said to another guy on Twitter. It’s like those facebook quizzes – Which *insert sitcom* Character Are You? I didn’t care before I did the quiz, I couldn’t help but do the quiz, and once I’ve done the quiz I wish I hadn’t wasted my life on it. Besides, I am so not Monica.
We all have our opinions but I believe Twitter to be one of the worst forums in which to air them, especially for anyone with any form of celebrity. It’s too easy to say nasty things when you have only your iPhone screen to face up to, it’s too easy to make a casual comment before you’ve thought about the repercussions of that comment being broadcast to the world, recorded forever on the internet and potentially picked up by journalists. Check back to our Sneak interview in 2012 and his opinionated nature takes a far more productive form as he explains what’s driving him crazy about the dance industry. Music is something he’s incredibly passionate about and more power to him for calling out the bullshit that obviously upsets him. But when that passionate opinion gets boiled down to a 140 character sound bite that he reels off without thinking too hard about what he’s saying or whom he is addressing, the message gets lost and the abuse starts flying.
Whether Sneak’s aggressive tweeting will actually affect his bookings I can’t say, but it absolutely has affected public opinion, turning fans against him and giving him notoriety and renown for reasons entirely separate from his music. He says he wants to look past the bullshit and the hype but can’t resist the temptation to stir it all up, a weakness facilitated and exaggerated by social media. Maybe Sneak is the Miley Cyrus of the DJ world: it’s too early to say if they are wreaking their own destruction, boosting their image and exposure, just being themselves and damning the rest, or all of the above. Let’s just be thankful only one of them twerks.
Not all DJs blast through the Twittersphere like a wrecking ball the way Sneak does, but even the milder, more amiable types will fall into the trap of over-sharing and leave me wondering what the benefit of it all really is. So DJs, let’s nip this one in the bud - maintain your mystery and cease the tweeting.