With EDM-pop star Calvin Harris kicked off the decks in Vegas for being not commercial enough recently and house legend Mark Farina similarly stopped before he even started, Skrufff asked a bunch of top DJs if anything similar had ever happened to them. Paris based London expat house hero DJ Paulette said ‘of course’ . . .
“Sure I have been kicked off the decks (who hasn’t?) both unceremoniously and politely,” she laughs.
“I just take it in my stride – no point in stropping over that aspect at all. I only strop when the materials fail as I think that can be so easily prevented but this is just chance, force majeure, some you win, some you really lose . . .”
Skrufff (Jonty Skrufff): When were you last kicked off?
DJ Paulette: Two weekends ago at small club I’ve played at before in the East of France. I’d slowed the resident’s 132bpm warm up down to 127bpm and wasn’t playing super underground or particularly fast / hard as it was the start of my set but after 15 minutes I was taken off for 40 minutes so that the resident could play holiday hits and french pop etc to a hen party who had taken over the club. I had to stay standing up in the DJ booth which was the size of a postage stamp, had no chairs and was in full view of everyone.
I felt like a proper twat so stood there texting my agent about it being the sort of night that made me want to retire. I was asked to go back on but play some commercial tunes until the gaggle of boa-clad girls had left. I refused point blank at first but they begged me, so I started with Martin Solveig ‘Night Out’ but chose the A-trak mix which tricks everyone into thinking it is commercial. It starts nice and sweet but has a break and goes off on a proper tangent. The girls left. I played till the end. Job done.”
Skrufff: Have you ever had customers or club managers trying to persuade you to play something different?
DJ Paulette: Most notable – three years ago – the hype spot in Marrakech – ungraciously taken off the decks midset for playing ‘too hard’ / not music and not having anything more commercial, r n b or rai. The record I was playing at the time was Afrojack’s remix of Major Lazer. I was given a stern talking to backstage in the kitchens by the promoter, left sitting on my own in the Gods (the club is an old theatre) for the longest time then accompanied unceremoniously back to my hotel by someone who was not the promoter.
I have never worked there again. I felt ridiculous and small – flying all the way there to play for half an hour and getting grief and shade into the bargain. Over the last year this club has made a point of booking all the top Dutch and progressive house DJs whose music I played that night which I find is quite ironic. I suppose it takes some people a longer time to catch on.
I never really get any grief from the punters about music and thankfully there have only been two disagreements over music with organisers in 7 years of touring France that have left an indelible mark on my bookings.”
Skrufff: How much do you believe DJs should respond to the crowd? How far?
DJ Paulette: I think DJs should always respond to the crowd in some small way – we wouldn’t be there if they weren’t so I don’t see the point in being nasty to anyone unless they are vitriolic and it gets out of hand. Most people normally back down and leave you in peace when you say – yes I’ll play it later and stick your thumbs up. You don’t have to play it and you can say you forgot or misheard when you come off (if they collar you).”