I was in the green room at Pacha in Ibiza talking to Pete Tong recently.
We discussed the challenges of having a DJ career and a family. We discussed how Pete Tong was still DJing after going deaf in that movie and also how scary it was to have a coke badger chasing after him all the time. As any with any conversation between two well established, longstanding world renown DJs, the talk eventually turned to the state of DJing in 2017 and our concerns about the benefits and harm of new DJing technology.
“It’s a bit o’ bollocks all these tossers using controllers and CDJS innit?” Pete Tong said.
“I don’t know Pete Tong,” I replied ” I feel like making DJing more accessible is good for the scene in general. Having less old white guys like us headlining all the music festivals can’t be a bad thing.”
“Bah Humbug!” replied Pete Tong as he dusted off the his top hat and cleaned his monocle. These are things all British people never stopped using. Sometimes in more casual circumstances, they wear bowler hats but you will never catch a member of the gentry hatless. DJs are in the UK are all members of the gentry.
“I guess there is something inevitably lost in the rapid shuffle of technological innovation. You do have a point Pete Tong. There is something of the craft that is lost.”
“Oi. When’s the last time ya saw one of these Johnny come latelys using wax cylinders?”
The question stopped me in my tracks. I was sitting down but still, it had stopped me in my metaphorical tracks.
I hadn’t seen a DJ using wax cylinders for at least 5 years. Ever since the advent of the turntable with the newfangled flat “disc-shaped” record fewer and fewer top tier DJs were using the original cylindrical wax record that had been the industry standard for decades. After that convo I did a cursory search on Bandcamp and I couldn’t find any releases on any of the cooler labels that were in wax cylindrical format.
I started to get angry. The disappearance of the wax cylinder truly meant that an era was over. My blood started to boil and I started to get where old angry white guys long past their prime were coming from.
Everyone is allowed to play music on controllers, CDJS and any other medium but, a real DJ or should I say CJ (the original acronym, look it up), uses wax cylinders manufactured between 1890 and 1915. Here are some from my collection:
The B-side on the pink one is super dope, the black one is a rare lo-fi house release. Post you fave wax cylinder releases in the comments of pictures of your dope wax cylinder collections.