The original article by Michael Serafini can be found HERE. It’s a must read if you are a DJ or have any interest in electronic music culture at all. Below is my personal commentary.
I’m here at PromoSe7en to be a purveyor of health and wellness tips, but little do you all know that once upon a time I was a DJ. I was a relatively successful one if I could say so myself, at least according to now defunct local rave ‘zine Brilliantly Mad which featured me on its list of top Chicago Techno acts. Yeah, I’m that old. I DJ’d in warehouses, parties in the middle of the woods, AND clubs. I traveled the nation, played lots of records, opened for lots of big acts, and saw lots of diverse crowds. Michael’s rant raised my eyebrows a bit. It’s good. It’s really good. And I felt a connection, because once upon a time I bought my vinyl at his store. I’m not talking about Serato records with digital coding either, I’m talking about real life vinyl records that contained music and that cost $10 a pop for one or two songs.
One thing I took from it that might get overlooked by some is that it holds a secret to running a successful club. It holds the very secret to why weekend upon weekend Spy Bar is slam packed for years on end while every other club around it has folded, changed names, remodeled, resold, repackaged, respawned, and re-birthed itself on a nearly annual basis. Spy Bar SETS the trends. They make what’s hot, hot. Now to be honest I’m not as big a Spy fanatic as I once was but you have to respect it, and you have to acknowledge that Spy Bar along with Smart Bar are probably the only two EDM based clubs in this town that are actually doing it right. Their longevity is proof of that. Proof of that can be found in our few rock clubs as well. Delilah’s, Liar’s Club, Cobra Lounge, Neo…all long standing establishments to their respective niche. Rather than follow the latest trend, MTV top 10, or mainstream radio playlists these establishments set a tone. They pick a niche and they stick to it. They promote it, and they keep at it, bringing in the clientele that appreciates their niche and that will stay faithful and appreciate it.
Why does this work? Because, trend’s change on a quarterly basis, sometimes even monthly. Trends rise, fall, are born, and die. The lifespan of a trend is similar to the lifespan of a mayfly. It lives a day, breeds, and dies. Building a business model around that is about as intelligent as taking a wad of cash and flushing it down the toilet while you and your friends dance around it with a bottle of goose and served to you by some scantily clad girl waving sparklers. It’s time to take lessons. DJ’s, club owners, promoters, and patrons, I implore you to take a look at long running, well established successful clubs and take notes. Success in the industry really is about the music, it really is about the dance, it really is about getting out, letting loose, and hearing something new. In the rave days it wasn’t about the drugs like everyone says. The drugs were an additional enhancement, but it truly was about the music. It was about finding the room in the party with YOUR niche and just grooving all night long, sober, high drunk, or otherwise. We have to get back to that, and the clubs that have lasted the longest and continue to be jam packed every weekend for over a decade are proof positive of that.
Love, Peace, and Chicken grease,