DJ Disasters: Alan Braxe

When it all goes wrong...
Alan Braxe

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.

Next in line: Alan Braxe. One of house music's true legends, the producer even scored an international hit when he teamed up with Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter to form Stardust. More than fiften years on, music still sounds better with you as Alan Braxe continues to uncover new sounds and test the boundaries.

Set to play at London venue Queen of Hoxton's 4th birthday party on March 23rd, Alan Braxe will line up alongside Robert Owen and Voyeur. Ahead of this, the DJ kindly scribbled down a guide to the DJ Disasters he has faced across the path of his career.

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As a DJ you like to remember these great times where the room and you are totally connected, you are totally focused on what you are doing and the people give you the will to take risks and to experiment.. That’s good interaction.

But other times it's not that good and you have to deal with weird situations. Mostly because of technical problems but also because of the intense traveling, which helps your mind get easily confused!

I don’t have CD-Js at home so I am not able to practice. The only times I DJ are in a clubs during a gig and sometimes if I get too nervous I can easily make some stupid mistakes.

Stupid situation number 1 which is a “classic mistake”, firmly and proudly pressing stop on the wrong CD-J. It means of course that the song being played stops and you have to deal with the great silence of the club (or booing)… hard to keep your dignity intact when that’s happening because you obviously stopped the music yourself for no reason! Just a huge mistake really!!!

Number 2 is a bit more subtle (I like this one a lot). I was playing a big party in Paris where the DJs were playing in the middle of a big stage facing a big crowd that were ready to party. There was a live act on before me, so I started my set from scratch. Playing the 1st track and cueing up the next to come in my headphones, second track is in time, so time to start the mix and push the volume fader on channel 2 but no sound comes from channel 2 ..strange I think to myself. I start to stress a bit.. I push the fader to the max position and no sound at all … bad! The 1st track is still playing but it's going to end quite soon so I check the cable connection on the rear of the mixer .. It’s all good, no connection problems but still no sound on channel two.. hummmm! Now track one reaches the end point leaving silence in the club just 3 minutes after I started my set. I am thinking “good start” crowd not happy… In a big panic I ask for the tech guy to come to the stage asap. He comes over, looks at me with a big ironic smile then just puts the crossfader in the mid position and bingo! PROBLEM SOLVED … urrrrh!... I felt sick. I said “thanks a lot” to him and had a second (and very pleasant) opportunity to appreciate his contented ironic smile... lesson learnt the hard way!!!!

Another “classic” situation to avoid… I like to play with loud levels on the monitors.. I mean really loud!!! I like it. Usually I can feel the music 100% with these kinds of levels but one time during the mix, the fader of the track being played was only turned halfway up (my mistake). As a result volume to the audience was only at 50% of its max power, which means people start to hear each other when they talk, kind of bar vibe in fact. I was still in the booth with my monitors on max power enjoying the music, singing along and so on and it took me 2 minutes to realize the problem. In fact, I only noticed because people were not dancing as much anymore I was the only one so deeply into in the music… very bad situation! To preserve my dignity, I pretended my mistake was “intentional” by slowly pushing up the volume's fader. AMAZINGLY this sent the dance floor mad because they had spent 2 minutes or more at such a low volume that they were thrilled to enjoy “full” volume again… ha!

Another weird situation happened pre or post show in Japan. The promoters invited me for dinner just before the gig. They were really nice guys and took me to a very traditional restaurant, where most of the guests were quite old. There was only one meal on the menu, which was a specialty from that city and the guys were really happy to share it with me and I was exited too, I love Japanese food! When the plates arrived the food was looking weird.. hard to define exactly what it was. I tried to get some details from my host, but our common sense of English was quite poor and I didn't understand what we were about to eat. Well “Let's go” give it a try, I told myself and I did. It was the worst taste I have ever experienced… something like fish but with 20 times more power then normal .... Ohhh it was so soooo bad but the promoters were really enjoying it, I had to finish my plate to be polite … a difficult situation.

Classic bad time… you are on tour and the end of the tour. You’re tired after so many short nights and so many long flights. I was In Montréal after a two week tour of North America and the last gig was in Montreal. I arrived at the hotel by 7PM, went dinner and then fall asleep by 9PM …. I slept well … deeply. Then suddenly somebody knocked on the door … again and again. I opened the door and it was the promoter. “You’re on in 15 mins" he said. I did not hear my alarm clock!!!! … express shower, express coffee and then dropped in the club. My mind was just like “its breakfast time” but it was 2AM and the people where ready to party all night long!!!!

Apart from these strange experiences, DJing is just an amazing job and luckily everything goes well most of the time!

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Alan Braxe is set to play the Queen of Hoxton's birthday party on March 23rd.

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