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.
DJ and Electronic Producer Ross Tones, also known as Throwing Snow, launched his own label in 2012 and has been in high demand from the music scene ever since his brilliant debut on Alex Nut’s Ho_tep in 2010.
Playing at London music festival Field Day on May 25th, Tones is clearly looking forward to his set. "Get there early cause I’m on a 12-2!" he laughs. "I mean, Field Day is just one of those things: I’ve been to every single Field Day. I first travelled from Bristol and slept on someone’s floor just to see Four Tet. And then through the studios I bumped into him and now I’ll be playing with him so 5 years on its gone full circle..."
Ahead of his appearance, Throwing Snow agreed to look back on some of the rather more painful moments of his DJ career. A disaster? We'll be the judge of that...
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This happened earlier on, about five to five years ago. I was playing in Madrid and it was kind of an arts and video festival so I was playing in front of a seated crowd. They were beaming speakers outside as well for the people gathering around watching the TV screens and that outside by the supermarket. About 40 people sat in the actual room.
The set up I was using at the time had a reset button so I had like eight different channels with all different types of audio running. But I had this button to reset all the levels. So as long as you had one thing playing and all the levels down you’d press reset. Reset all the levels and then I could fade in new stuff.
It was quiet, only one ambient sound playing and it then suddenly went: I’d left all the faders up and press the reset button. All of the audio went on full volume with all the effects! It just made a sound like a mic feedback. It was so unbelievably loud! At some point people probably thought it was part of the performance but then after five seconds people started putting their hands up to their ears.
I couldn’t work out what I did wrong. When something like this happens… you kinda panic. And you know when you panic: you just look emptily at things; you don’t know what on earth you can do! And because you’re panicking it takes a while for your brain to work out what you’re meant to do. You’re trying to look for a button that’s pressed down or something… after a while I just had to turn the sound card down because I couldn’t work out what was wrong!
The loud horrible piercing sound played for about 15 seconds. It was in Spain and not many people spoke English and I had to just kind of apologize… in English. . I don’t think many people understood what I was saying anyways. Not necessarily because of the language barrier but because it was still ringing in their ears! Then I just carried on. I was so embarrassed. It was horrible because I thought I seriously damaged people’s hearing then… Trying to apologize but people still had their fingers in their ears.
Gladly it was a polite sat down audience and everyone enjoyed it after that. The thing was it was also getting played to the people in the supermarket so everyone walking past would’ve been like “ Oh god what was that sound?” But I obviously didn’t see their reactions.
Once I was playing at a launch party for iambic, that was about 3 years ago. It was Camden Lock or something like that. It was kind of in a small bar and I think they were just serving drinks. The previous guy had been playing the CD’s and I think he’d used one of the tables for the CD-J and then taken it with him! I was playing purely Vinyl at the time…
So I ended up DJing to a room full of people by putting one record on, letting it play out almost to the end, putting the reverb and the needle off. The next record was in mouth, in between my teeth. Then swapping the records over, putting the previous record in my mouth, putting the needle back on and pressing play again and then bringing the reverb down.
Basically I was playing Vinyl off one deck and hoping that no one would notice. I think luckily it was the end of the night and everyone just wanted to dance but the full fade out from the previous tune plus the full intro to the next. It must have been a 4-minute breakdown each time! When the dancing bit came on everyone was happy to dance but still… people were probably wondering “Why is he holding a record in his mouth?!” I assume it was all a bit of a disaster.
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Catch Throwing Snow at Field Day this Saturday (May 15th).