I played my first show in LA in the springtime, I think. It was goth as heck, or at least I wanted it to be. Tbh my set totally sucked. I had a revelation: goths in the 80’s didn’t quantize their drums. Did quantization even exist back then? Maybe all the tracks were ripped from vinyl, and the subtle warp of the record made the songs’ beats shift off-grid.
Either way, I trainwrecked so much! It was truly brutal. It was already awkward, because I was opening the night for an art show afterparty, and the artist in question is so cute and cool. Then some folks started asking me to play Madonna, and I sighed.
Sometimes I think of my failure to deliver a perfect goth set as an affront to my lineage. Surely a person born and raised in a goth bar and taught to DJ by the best 80’s alt DJ in Texas should be capable. I really should be! Maybe nightcore has ruined me. I remember at my first show, I played a beautiful mashup of Throbbing Gristle and some random techno trash. It sounded good. I felt like I was being true to my roots. Then slowly, the goth left my body. I’ve been playing fewer and fewer goth tracks the more shows I play. If you let me spin til 4 am and give me cocaine, I’ll start playing Revolting Cocks, but otherwise there’s no way.
I’m so much more comfortable with other genres. Nightcore makes me leap with delight. Slick af techno makes me feel cool. Everything in between just works. But not goth music. I don’t know how DJs used to do it. So many of the songs have breaks that last for 5 seconds and then turn into a sick guitar solo while the singer shrieks. Even the Lord couldn’t mix out of a shitshow like that. Everybody’s just gonna request 90’s pop anyway.
But honestly until I can make a perfect #’s Tribute Mix, I won’t feel like a good DJ. I gotta figure this out.