Over To You: Why Do Older DJs Give Me Such A Hard Time?

Phil Morse | Read time: 2 mins
Young vs older DJs
Last updated 30 August, 2017

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The kids are alright! 11-year-old DJ Young 1 shows off her skills at the Musikmesse trade show. But why do some veteran DJs get so upset at new talent coming through? Pic: DJ Times
The kids are alright! 11-year-old DJ Young 1 shows off her skills at the Musikmesse trade show. But why do some veteran DJs get so upset at new talent coming through? Pic: DJ Times

Digital DJ Tips forum reader James writes: “Why are some older DJs so bitter of younger DJs? There is some genuine talent out there, yet a lot of older DJs I have met seem to want to take out their anger on me and others alike. I am only 22 but I have been DJing for many years and have always been around it. I have had comments thrown towards me in the likes of ‘ah typical controller DJ’ and this is before they have even seen me play. I am actually happy to play on a pair of vinyl decks or CDJs, and I can read and relate to the crowd just fine.

“It just seems like I have tried to show utter respect and learn from these people that I have looked up to for many years, but now I have met them, all they have to say to me is ‘no, you’re too young…’. And while luckily this is only some (most of the olders have been great), it’s still annoying!”

Digital DJ Tips says:

The above has been taken (and adapted slightly) from a post on our forum, and there were some really interesting replies from our members and moderators. So rather than wade in myself, I’d like to reproduce some of those here:

from Squarecell: Maybe because there used to be many artificial barriers to entering pro DJing (cost, learning curve, etc) that don’t exist any more. Now everyone with an iPad app considers themselves a DJ. But good DJs adapt; bad DJs gripe. Then again, it’s no different than any other profession. My other job is that of pro photographer and many of the same sentiments have been echoed at every step along the way (autofocus, auto exposure, digital)…

from DJ Vintage (moderator): I am guessing there is envy of youth (and youthful talent) in any business. Another thing is I don’t necessarily think everybody who thinks he/she has talent actually does. It is true that in the old days, entering the DJing realm required some serious personal sacrifice in time, money and effort. Those who committed that got at least a modicum of respect from those already there. No guarantee for talent, but at least you showed you were willing to do the work. Now, with zillions of young guys and gals stepping into the game, it’s a) harder to spot the real talent (and yes, there is still real talent out there) and b) the noise the wannabes (without talent) are making is deafening.

from Terry_42 (moderator): As a DJ for 20+ years, I find fresh input and new ways of seeing things as really exciting and I love it when a young DJ blows my mind, as they can surprise you, while most older dudes I know in the business just “do their thing”. This is probably why some DJs throw such comments at you. They did not develop, they are doing their thing for 10+ years and are stuck in their loop of how they do things. So yeah there will always be haters, but do not get angry yourself over it. It is wasted energy, just stick to the people who enrich your experience…

Do you experience this kind of thing from older DJs? Maybe you’re an older DJ who believes the new generation genuinely don’t have a clue? Or are you just amazed that this kind of thing goes on at all? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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