Techno Tuesday: Butch’s philosophy on a DJ’s secret weapons
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Butch is one of those artists who carefully treads the line between house and techno, attracting devoted followers in both spheres. Having been immersed in the scene for over a decade, his opinion is not only well-informed, but persuasive. He’s a DJ’s DJ — beloved by his compatriots and fans alike for his live abilities — as well as an accomplished producer, having been recognized in the past by Beatport, Groove Magazine and more.
We asked Butch to give us five of his favorite tracks in his rotation at the moment, because, frankly, who wouldn’t want to know five tracks from a German underground legend. Instead, we received a lengthy response explaining the epiphany he had regarding “Top DJ Weapons” in light of our request. Suffice it say that was alright with us.
Dear Dancing Astronaut,
Thank you for inviting me to share my favorite Top 5 DJ-weapons with you and your readers! I feel really happy that you care to hear about them and like to feature me on your site. I appreciate the chance to reach your readers through your site and want to thank you for that!
The request itself, stating my Top 5 DJ weapons though, I feel uncomfortable with and I appreciate the chance to express my thoughts:
In my career I have compiled such lists before and somehow it never felt right. I still did it, simply because I was unable to point out (also to myself) what part of the request rubbed me the wrong way. It wasn’t the promotion aspect, I love promo, for most parts I think it is fun and part of the creative process. I also love shining light on artists who have influenced me, because I believe in supporting one another and respecting your elders. Their works moved me to become who I am and maybe some young reader finds something life-changing through me mentioning great works of other artists, like I once did, when I first started reading music magazines as a teen. With these thoughts in mind, it was easy to brush my concerns aside and compile such lists again and again, but beneath this reasonable rationalization still lay my bad gut-feeling.
Your request has been a catalyst, for which I want to thank you! I finally see my blind-spot and I want to share it with you. Ta-Daa!:
The issue I have with naming top 5 weapons lies in the heart of my craft as a DJ. When I’m behind the decks I wish to take everyone, from the good people behind the bar, to all the dancers on the floor and myself on a trip. Excitement comes with uncertainty, when leaving the comfort zone. I intend to play music they haven’t heard before and if I do play known tunes, then I create a new context for them. A Top 5 list creates set expectations and it fuels the idea us DJs should fulfill a fixed repertoire in our sets. Suddenly, I seem to have an obligation to play a song I am well known for. If another DJ choses to play a fixed set with all the highlights of his or her career, then that is his free choice. But if I had to do that I’d feel like a jukebox, as if I am a replaceable machine and on the long run I believe a list like this supports the main-stream notion that a DJ is nothing more than a hype-man behind the decks to pump the parade of hits for the crowd.
If I now gave you 5 tunes, but neglected to mention, which songs I mix them with, to create something new, something that moves and surprises the listeners, then I only give all of you half the story. Maybe the list even puts readers off, because they are unaware of the context I create around the given songs. As I say, I see many valuable aspects in such lists also. I just won’t write them anymore.
I will however give you five random artists I love, who have moved me and maybe also open up a world to some young gun reading this, should he check them out. And this is a kind of list I can write anew every day, my gut tells me that we have no issue here ;).
Thanks for this!
5 random artists I love:
Thomas P. Heckmann
Check out last week’s edition of Techno Tuesday: Popof on falling in love with techno