Populist Mp3 Mush 

Fat Roland turns his sights on The Buttonistas of the DJ premier league, where the machines do the work instead of, er, Bavarian folk music

illustration: steve appleton

For years, I railed against the faded yellow of Coldplay, against Maroon 5’s billowing hogwash, against the bland pop pap dripping from Justin Bieber’s pants. I was wrong.

I’ve just realised the true denizens of dullness are much closer to home. So close to home, in fact, they’ve been banging on my door for the past 10 years in a perfect four-to-the-floor rhythm.

DJs, you disgust me. Your populist mp3 mush stinks. Your personal appearances are little more than farted slogans. Your number-vomiting machines turn beatmatching into a game of Snap. You look like you’ve stumbled out of a Topshop changing room into the middle of Dixons, your dull eyes wowing at all the buttons and switches. Does this button make the music play? No, it’s the spin cycle, you goob.

Through the rise of EDM (Electronic Dance Music, or as I like to think of it, Evening Disco Merrymaking), DJs have surpassed the wobbling Fatboy Slim heights of the 1990s. Their footprint is stamped all over the charts. In 2014, Calvin Harris earned enough cash to buy every track on iTunes three and a half times. I worked that out. With a calculator. Imagine buying all of iTunes on your wage. You wouldn’t even make a dent in the As.

Back in my day, when all this was just Creamfields, DJs had pipes and beards. They had dirty fingernails from rifling through records. They’d play Midfield General at 923rpm while scratching in Bavarian folk music and the crowd would stroke their chins and dance. Weird was good; obscure was a currency.

When I DJed, it was a sweat-on-vinyl endurance skill. We jabbed and stroked the decks like boxers. Compare that to the major EDM star who recently turned up to a massive gig and pressed play on a mix CD. Didn’t even bother with headphones. Such was his snivelling arrogance, when challenged about it, he said it was a necessary part of his job. Imagine a bike engineer looking at your Harley and saying they don’t “do” spanners. You’d spit bolts.

More people listen to electronic music now than ever before. We should all want to celebrate that. But an elite bunch of premiership button-pressers – the buttonistas – are putting showmanship ahead of music. It’s less Paul Oakenfold, more Paul Daniels. No-one wants that.

I’m off to funnel this anger on Twitter. Yeah, that’ll change things. Come join me: @FatRoland, #realDJing. Because I’ve finally realised these pathetic buttonistas are worse than Coldplay.

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