How to not write a DJ-profile
August 16, 2010 5:22 AM   Subscribe

What are some common clichés, patterns, or unwritten rules that you find in profiles/bios for DJs? I'm putting together a bit of writing on how DJs are marketed through the strategic presentation of their biographical information. Some examples inside.

So, some of my friends have already suggested some examples:

- "She started playing records when she was 10 years old."
- "He has shared the decks with techno legends such as Richie Hawtin and Villalobos." (i.e., he played 6 hours earlier and never met them)
- "He payed for his first records with money saved up from some thankless, low-wage job."
- "DJ [x] is a total auto-didact. She somehow acquired all the necessary gear without any instruction and then figured out how to use it all through her Awesome Natural Talent."

Anything else that comes to mind? I'm mostly interested in the biographical tropes that pop up in house/techno DJ profiles, but similar observations about other genres (dubstep, turntablism, trance, etc.) are also welcome. Thanks!
posted by LMGM to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
DJ Bio Generator
posted by mkb at 5:25 AM on August 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Well, I've read and had to write a fair few house/techno DJ bios, and most of them will lapse in cliché at some point, simply because there's never much to say about someone who plays records for a living. Unfortunately for bio writers, ultimately the talent of top DJs lies in their performance, not how interesting their lives are. Aside from what you've mentioned above, some other tropes that come up with great regularity:

- "Originally hailing from Quietville, X soon found the club scene of nearby Trendycity irresistable, and so relocated at age 19 to try his hand behind the decks" - i.e. some mention of their home town, some attempt at trendiness via adopted home city.

- "X has influences ranging from Kraftwerk to Miles Davis, via George Clinton, Joy Division, and classic sixties beat pop" - Especially when there's absolutely no evidence of these sounds in their fairly straight-up minimal techno.

- "Not just a whiz behind the decks, X is also a talented concert grade trombonist and has a doctorate in quantum physics" - Again, especially when these facts have absolutely no relevance to the type of records they make.

- "X's banging tune Y, with support from Ritchie Hawtin, DJ Hell, William Orbit and others" - Where tune Y probably isn't that well known, and "Support" is vague and ill defined.

- "Whips the crowd into a frenzy" / "Drives the dancefloor wild" etc. There are countless variations on this theme, and ultimately it's the core proposition of any DJ bio blurb.
posted by iivix at 5:58 AM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's drum'n'bass centric in the specific namedrops and musical reference points, but most of the cliches transcend genres well enough if you mentally replace those: bio generator.
posted by Slyfen at 7:58 AM on August 16, 2010

Oops, just realised that was in the first answer. Sorry for the idiocy, if anyone can delete my posts, please do.
posted by Slyfen at 10:00 AM on August 16, 2010

They have always been DJing since they were in elementary school and their first record was always something like Don Cherry or Holger Hiller.
posted by rhizome at 10:42 AM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

DJ X benefited from his parent's vast eclectic record collection and so started from a very young age.
posted by ellieBOA at 10:59 AM on August 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, folks! I'll post a link to the essay in this thread when I'm finished writing it…
posted by LMGM at 3:36 AM on August 17, 2010

Response by poster: Done! Here's the post that I was working on with this AskMe. Thanks again to all of y'all for the help!
posted by LMGM at 5:14 PM on August 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

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