DJ Disasters: Dan Curtin x Pipes

A double header...
Pipes.jpg
Every DJ has one.

A night when everything that can possibly go wrong does - and it does so in spectacular fashion. ClashMusic brings you DJ Disasters, featuring some of the most respected figures in the dance world reminiscing about those moments when it all went badly wrong.

This time round, we have a double header. Pipes - pictured - are fresh from releasing their new split effort 'Bromance #2' and the pair regale us with a walk down memory lane.

Dan Curtin recently released his new EP 'Microdrama' through Bass Culture records, gaining huge praise in the process. With the summer now approaching, the producer decided to open up about a dark chapter in his career behind the turntables.

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Nightmare huh? Well, Pipes has had a very limited number of carefully selected shows thus far; and apart from one really awful female promoter in Los Angeles, we have been very lucky when it comes to shows. I (Stevie), on the other hand have been DJing for quite some time, and not ALL of my gigs have been the smoothest.

I have a project with LOUISAHHH! (Also soon to have a release on Bromance) called NYCPARTYINFO. On our first gig outside the country we had quite an interesting experience. We were DJing the party of Pharrell in Orleans, France. We were very excited to DJ together for a crowd so far away from home. The night was going well, and we were having a good time. It came the prime time of the night, and the DJs playing before us asked if we were ready to go on; We were. As they put on their last song, I approached the tables with my laptop and watched in dismay, as the DJ pulled his headphones out of the mixer it swallowed the entire headphone jack!

“We can figure this out”, I thought. I hooked up my gear figuring I could find a solution in a song or two. I Began simultaneously DJing and attempting to fix this mixer and DJ for a full room with no headphones. Louisa was attempting to get us assistance from various sources in the club, the promoters, sound guy, at one point the security guard was doing something. I kept asking people for a phillips head screwdriver (I don’t know if that is what they are called in France) but all they seemed to be able to produce was a giant paperclip and a knife.

Fast forward 20 minutes into the set, I am sculpting this paperclip in 50 different ways, trying to fish this thing out the best i can thru the hole in the face of the mixer... still DJing with no headphones. At one point, I definitely cut my hand open. I know this because, on top of everything, I was now covering all surfaces with both sweat AND blood. During this stage of the ordeal, EVERYBODY had an opinion on what should be done, none of them effective. I kept repeating my mantra “I need a phillips head screwdriver”, another 10 minutes pass.

God bless Louisa, who through all of this, in addition to reassuring me that i was miraculously sounding good playing records, was trying her best to facilitate the repair. This was complicated, as our salvation would come from a drunk group of wonderful folks whose first language was not English. Another 10 minutes pass.

Finally, a Phillips head screwdriver appears. I Unscrew and remove the front panel of the mixer, retrieve the guts of the headphone jack, and make the connection. We have headphones!

Experiencing a great sense of accomplishment at this point, I no longer felt the need to DJ. I turned the reigns of the now functioning DJ rig over to my partner and got Joan of Arc drunk. Overall, a pretty good time.

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Dan Curtin



I have to say that over the years I've had less comical disasters and more disasters of the scary kind. The two that really come to mind both involve guns! I was playing at an underground event in Los Angeles and all seemed to be fine until 20 minutes into my set when I noticed a commotion at the back of the room but I was deep in the mix and quickly forgot about it. All of the sudden there are cops in full riot gear with guns out, helmets, and all that unnecessary crap they like to wear when attacking peaceful people, screaming at me to turn the music off. I was so stunned by that completely unexpected sight that I froze for a second while my brain tried to process it. They took that as defiance and got even more pissed and grabbed the tone arm and "Screeeeeeeeeech" across the record at 110 dB! Everybody was put against the walls while they did who knows what, checked for drugs and IDs I guess. The promoter was able to get the DJs out of there relatively quickly but I don't know what happened to all the other people who were detained and searched! Funny thing is that versions of this scenario have happened more than they should have over the years.

The other, and slightly darker and even more frightening situation, occurred at another underground party in Brooklyn. It was my first time playing in NYC and one of my first gigs actually. I didn't even have a record box yet so I showed up at the gig with my records in a gym bag! It was to be a large "rave" in a warehouse and unfortunately nobody showed up. So around dawn, just after my set that was cut short, the security staff wanted to go home and they wanted to get paid. What I saw next quite frightened me. The promoters didn't have any money to pay anybody at all. There was a huge argument and all of the sudden one of the security people took out a gun, pointed it at the promoter, and said, OK, now we're going to a bank machine and they all got into a few cars and drove away. I never knew what happened to that promoter. So I was left there, a guy from a small town in Ohio, at dawn in the middle of Brooklyn, by myself with a bag of records, no money, and no idea where I was or how I was to get back to my hotel in Manhattan. In the end a kind party goer escorted me back to the hotel but that was a scary introduction to Brooklyn for me! On a positive note, the next day somebody working on behalf of the promoters showed up at my hotel and paid my fee in full!

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Dan Curtin photo by Daniel Matousek at DJM Photography.
http://www.danielmatousek.com

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