Who killed the star DJs?

Who killed the star DJs?

Who killed the star DJs?

It appears that the age of the Star DJs has come to an end. DJs like Tiesto, Paul Van Dyke, Daft Punk, Paul Okenfold became international phenomenon. Even today, there are a few like David Guetta who are in star DJ league. But the influence of star DJs is increasingly waning.

The maiden tour of Fatboy Slim (Norman Cook) in May this year in India, including Bangalore, failed to attract crowds befitting his star DJ stature. Has social media killed the Star DJ in the same way as the music video killed the radio star?

“DJs killed themselves by not adapting to new technology. Today, 15-year olds decide what they want to listen to on the internet and may decide to buy tickets for a show. They may not be buying CDs and records,” says DJ Mux Mool (Brian Lindgren), Brooklyn-based DJ, producer and electronic artiste, who was in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore recently as a part of the Heineken Green Room sessions.

The song, Video killed the radio star (1979), by the British new wave group, The Buggles, celebrates the golden days of the radio, describing a singer whose career is cut short by television. With the launch of MTV over three decades ago, music videos became a rage. Singing stars who couldn’t adapt to this new format failed. But today the influence of music videos has declined and are often dictated by music companies to promote their music. In much the same way the internet and social media has changed the way people listen to music, and also make music. The old model of record companies pushing artistes through to listeners is passé. Today, music fans are going online and seeking out new music from new artistes.


Music as art

Says Mux Mool, “A lot of tunes are made by ‘nobodies’ on the computer which you can download for free or pay donations (whatever one wants) to support music. There is a significant change in how music is sold. You can’t fight against it.”

Mux Mool feels that music as an art form should be free. Then, how does an artiste make money? “If you make music and you are sincere about it, people choose to pay. It works for me. It is attraction, not promotion anymore,” he says. His recording debut in 2006, Lost and found, found its way on iTunes. Today, he is widely recognised online and in the American party circuit.


However, Mux Mool is critical of how some of the music is made today, “When Kraftwerk, the band from Germany, made electronic music in the 1970s, there was very little technology, except for synthesisers. But today, despite digital technology, artistes limit themselves. They do not challenge themselves. They just want to be popular or famous, but do not want to expand themselves. They do not innovate or create something. There is a lot of copy work. They are not in music. They are more for popularity and parties. Audience don’t know the difference. I may have my opinion, but you can’t fight against it.”  
Mux Mool’s music is described as IDM (Intelligent Dance Music), but he himself brushes it aside saying it is a creation of the media. “My music is 100 per cent software-based. I don’t like carrying stuff (all he has is a laptop and a beatmaker). Nobody wants to see vinyl spinning and scratching anymore,” he declares. But he does collect a lot of CDs and vinyls. He describes his music as ‘instrumental hip-hop.’ “I enjoy the history of hip-hop. It is still very open,” he says.


Multi-dimensional

‘Skulltaste’ is his first full-length album of 20 tracks from which he performed in India. It features everything from eclectic ambient loops that merge with mono-vocal samples in one track to a happy clap-clap aesthetic reminiscent of French disco circa 1990 in another.

He explains that ‘Skulltaste’ is peeling back the skin on his scalp and getting a sample of what is in his brains. Each track is independent of the other and runs three to four minutes, except for one track which is of eight minutes. His sound is a textural delight.
“I learnt a lot about the music industry in the making of this album. A friend of mine did the artwork for the album’s covers based on my drawings,” he says.

There are interesting stories behind some of his popular tracks. “Lady Linda is a song about a snack cake by the same name which I liked. So the song is not about a lady, but a romantic song about a cake,” he says.

“Viking Funereal takes inspiration from my Norwegian roots, from where the Vikings come. In Viking funereal, the body is taken in a boat to the middle of a lake and set on fire. It is like leaving your ties behind. I left my ties behind in Minnesota,” he explains.

About his appellation ‘Mux Mool’, he says that it was a name he found on Myspace while browsing seven years ago. “I liked the way it sounded, without knowing its meaning. Only later I came to know that it in electronics, a multiplexer (or Mux) is a device and ‘Mool’ is an ancient Meso-American statue.”


About his experience in India, he says in Delhi the audience was curious and in anticipation of what’s about to happen and in Mumbai, the response was even better. On the tattoo on his right arm, often sported by DJs, he laughs, “It is not mandatory for a DJ to have it.”

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