Opinions and thoughts of an expert ranter and raver

dj buddah

What is your name ?

My name is Phil but I go by “Buddah” (yes it’s spelled wrong on purpose)

When did you first here dance music?

The first time I was introduced to it , I think when many children of the 80s were exposed to it , about the mid 80s when bands like Depeche Mode, and Kraftwerk  , and other synth pop bands were just exploding onto the mainstream, kind of pushing traditional rock and pop to the side and making a real name for itself. I was never a Michael Jackson or Madonna kind of kid. I gravitated toward the dark synth pop and the synth driven stuff. The first time I think I put a face to the sound was Flock of Seagulls “I ran” and “Cars” by Gary Nuwman, I finally witnessed “what was making that sound”

Later in the 90s I think for many kids it became Nine Inch Nails , The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, The Crystal Method groups like that.

Why did you want to become a dj? 

For me it was personal, I finally got to experience the place where the music I loved played, and I didn’t feel alone anymore, but I wanted to be more involved in it, it was just a natural progression for me, although I was terrible in the beginning, no one showed me how to do anything or what things worked, because where I was there were maybe 2 or 3 party kids, and they were more interested in glowsticking than DJing.

What was It like then?

Well in the late 90s early 2000s you could only go to a few record stores to get flyers n such. My home base was SWELL records and Clothing, and sometimes we would go to PLASTIK records, where then unknown Marcus Schulz  and crew had a smaller but similar store.  Really the only way you heard about parties was at these places, flyers by the door, only a phone number for the map point later. Lots and lots of records for everything. I bought a lil of everything too. You felt very much apart of a bigger family at these places, because everyone met there.  I did stay steady at a place called “Pompeii” aka “Club Freedom”  in Tempe, I started attending said club the day of my 18th birthday and made sure I was front and center every Friday for Markus Shultz on “the edge factor” , he had a live broadcast then on a local alternative staion, and it was amazing , 3 hour sets of dark proggy trance, and sometimes a headliner or two, Saturday nights were for touring djs. I got my education on the second floor right above the dj booth watching every move every dj that came through that place made.

What were parties like then?

Very big, but very simple. You had on a bad night 1000 kids, on a good night, well, you were outside waiting to get in, 3 or 4 thousand kids at a spot was not unusual . It was a cool vibe because everyone was nice (at least that I remember) and the music was awesome, usually 3 or 4 areas always, with all kinds of stuff each time slot. You were never ever bored ever.

What do you mean by simple?

The lighting was kept to a minimal, the props were there but not over bearing, you could tell all the money was in the sound and stage, all the “cabs” that were there. I can remember that people were really into their locals then , really into the quality of the sound. People really supported their local djs, they were the gravy to the headliner, if your locals were not as good as the headliner or better the party was “off” . Back then the locals were often as good or better than the headliner, I can remember a few times I was disappointed in the headliner and blown away by the local talent.

Why was that?

The playing field was level then, no one used cds or computers, it was all vinyl and you could do it or you couldn’t, and it was the difference in being that good or that bad, record selection second, if you didn’t know how to build a vibe , you were sunk. I think the fact that you got an hour and a half to 2 hours helped too, it allowed you to build a flavor, a real journey that doesn’t exists now in the “45 minute but we have 100 of them” time slots now.

What made you stop?

About 2007 I took a break from that world , got married, started a family. I kept up with the music, I just stopped playing out as much.

Do you think things have changed?

Oh gosh yes, it’s a whole other planet now, lol.

Like how?

Well the biggest difference I noticed is the music. Dubstep was a sub sub sub genre when I decided to step away a while , now its just as loved as it is hated.  Electro house is pretty big now do , although much of it sounds the same, feels like that genre is rubbing up against a creative wall , they all do they , it promotes growth within itself so we will see.  Trance and progressive house are very different now , not as popular as they used to be around here but have some good things going.  Many of the parties now seem to be very similar in the line ups save for the headliners, that used to be true for the most part back when , however the locals were given way more time to play. I notice much of the same music is played via those locals as well or the styles are similar, I ‘d like to see more variety in genres and styles.

What else do you think has changed?

The media output is way different, now its ultra advanced cd players and computers, which I don’t mind, however I think there should be more creativity in their use, just playing end to end track to track doesn’t work anymore, it did when it was in vinyl because there was a physical skill involved in mixing , which has been taken away by technology , either for ease of use or more room to be creative.

Do you feel there is a lack of creativity in music now? Specifically in EDM?

I love that term , EDM, I used to just call it dance music lol, but yes and no. The producers I think do a great job in creating music and doing what they do, but the people that have given us this technology to present it in such a way that has made some people lazy or given some an outlet to be very creative, traditionally djs are there to provide music and an atmosphere , but now with the software you can see the song, literally mix it just by looking at it, the software will then beat match it and its your job to just mess with the levels and blend the next one. Which again I think is good and bad, leaves less room for error , but more room to be creative, so when I see someone on a $2000 lap top and a $900 controller , just mixing songs together I am bored, same thing with cd players with screens and an overly accurate BPM counter put there by software you loaded the song to before you got there , that’s great, but now I want to see you take it further. Its like good food, a hamburger is great, its what you put on it and the way you cook it that is gonna make me wanna eat it.  I am super picky though, if I think someone sounds the same as the last guy I usually don’t stick around, even if you wear a mask and jump around like an idiot.

Some people like that though . .

They do, and it makes me really really sad, partly because I think kids now get cheated out of that authentic experience, one which is hard to define, one which is just as mainstream now as the syth pop bands of the 80s and early 90s, the music is side by side with Maroon 5 , and Katy Perry, shoot , they even use it in their own songs.  If we are strictly speaking raves though, much of that has changed, tickets are delivered to you, venues have clean bathrooms and air conditioning , a wide variety of toys, beverages, and niches. Some of that I like and I cant complain about too much, it makes me sound like a old “when I partied I had to walk 15 miles into the desert to hear a broken record play one loop all night!”

However collectively I think the ‘scene’ as its called was a different place, music wasn’t everywhere, mixes where not online by the millions, the shows there was no way you were gonna see in your lifetime, are on youtube, the lighting is more important that what you are hearing (so it seems) , it was a college like party atmosphere it has now, it was more, “you cant hear, do, or talk about this anywhere else in your life but for these 6 hours you are here standing in it”

Do you think its too popular?

I do and I say that with caution because you cant really say it was unpopular then with 5000 kids standing shoulder to shoulder listening to it 15 years ago, however I feel that now that’s its mainstream (when you hear dub step in a JC Pennies back to school commercial, its mainstream) parties are treated more like a business, the party goers like customers,  the party like an “event” , I miss it just being about, going to hear your favorite local or dj play the music you cant hear anywhere else. I miss being hand picked by a promoter because of what I played, not who I knew and how many tickets I could sell, or how many people were guaranteed to be there because of me. We even have local djs here that have played huge festivals in Europe that cannot get paying gigs here. Guys that have traveled to Japan and back selling thousands of records, that no one gets to here, the ‘oldschool’ talent as it is now, is immense here, but it often gets swept aside, not all the time, but for the most part it does  I miss it really being about the music , but times have changed, and the mainstream music industry has really seeped into this counter cutler.  For the most part I get it, that there is lots of money tied up in it , and financially there are risks , there has always been that, but when it becomes all about that I think then it becomes something else. I am waiting for Budlight and Monster to start sponsoring local events lol.

When is the next time you play out and what is it that you are playing?

The next place I am at is a party called bubble bobble , its an annual foam party in Mesa, very fun , lots of people go (last year was over 2k this year is expected to be bigger) and I will be playing . . it’s a surprise but I will tear the roof off as always!

Mixcloud: http://www.mixcloud.com/Dj_Buddah/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AZdjbuddah

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