As both an Designer and DJ, Gary Einloth discusses the age old question of whether DJing should be considered a form of art.
One of the most heated debates of the 21st century is whether or not DJing should be seen as an art form. Art is a term that was usually linked to classic paintings or sculptures and more recently it has been used to describe the work of songwriters or poets. Even though music has become an acceptable form of art in modern society, people are still divided on whether or not DJing can be part of that art form. The question thus still remains: is a DJ an artist or not?
In order to answer this question, it is necessary to understand what a DJ does. Many people think that it is one person who plays around with computer buttons and turns a few knobs in order to produce sound. As a professional, Gary Einloth has explained to his friends and family that it is not quite that simple. A lot of time and effort goes into DJing and the ultimate product is something new that has never been heard in the exact way before. It is a new creation which is what Gary Einloth and many other artists believe art to be. To help individuals better understand the art form, Gary Einloth provides a quick breakdown of what DJing is really all about.
The very first thing a DJ does is select songs in order to create a new mix. Just like a painter chooses different colors to paint his canvas, a DJ has to choose the perfect songs that can contribute to the greater piece. A good DJ knows that he or she cannot simply choose two tracks and play them at the same time; they have to completely alter the symphonic structure of the tracks in order to recreate a certain mood. They have to understand music and composition in order for the music to be mixed together seamlessly.
Why is this relevant to the question? During the song selection the DJ must keep the musical journey in mind. A painting, a song, or a book all take us on journeys and DJing is not at all different. The DJ has to make sure that people go through the highs and the lows of the song, build up to the climax and let it drop. To Gary Einloth, this is the essence or “art” of DJing.
After the DJ has selected their songs, they will then start mixing them. Here is where the symphonic structure is recreated in order for the audience to enjoy it. Because DJing is such a flexible art form, the DJ is able to change the mix in order to match the reaction of the audience. During mixing the audience has to be unaware of the transition taking place between two songs so that they simply flow into each other.
Apart from the fact that a unique set is created, every DJ will have his or her own style. If DJing was not meant to be called art, every mix would sound the same and no one would be inspired or entertained.
For more discussions and questions related to art, design, music, and beyond, follow Gary Einloth on Quora to hear his perspective based on his personal and professional experience.