Five acts from this year’s 5th anniversary of The Social festival (September 29th - 30th in Maidstone, Kent) recall their worst DJ nightmares…
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Sante and Sidney Charles
Sidney – I don’t know whether Philipp remembers this but I think about two years ago we had a gig in Paris…
Sante – Haha oh shit! I know exactly what gig you’re talking about already. I had completely blocked it out of my memory!
Sidney – We played all night long at this club neither of us had been to before, and it was hell. We were surrounded in the booth by people who were so drunk they were falling about on top of us, spilling drinks everywhere etc.. But there was one guy in particular who had this weird thing where he wanted to high five me when I dropped every track, I mean EVERY track, and if I weren’t up for it he got super pissed and started shouting, by the end he was threatening to punch us!
Sante – It’s true! This crazy guy was funny in the beginning, but then when we stopped giving him high fives about three hours in, he got really, really mad. At one point he just took Sidney’s USB stick out of the CDJ because he didn’t want to high five him anymore, so the music just went off!
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So the following story happened during an Australia weekend that I played with some of my favorite DJs Hot Since 82, Butch and Cristoph. I was supposed to play four shows in three days all over Australia, so we booked a flight that made me arrive comfortably one day before my first gig, so I could settle in and get comfortable with the jet lag etc. The tour started in style by the airline overbooking the flight and not letting me on the plane. A shouting match with officials at the airport in Berlin endured, which didn’t amount to anything, but me having to take a much later flight. I still don’t understand how airlines are allowed to do this. Anyways, instead of arriving a day earlier, now I arrived only a couple hours before my set in Melbourne, leaving no time to rest.
The daytime festival was amazing and so was the afterparty I also played. After these two gigs though, the jetlag, exhaustion from the 24h travel and the sips of alcohol throughout the whole day took to effect and I was knocked out on my feet in the backstage asking a friend to get my bag from the booth and drive me to the hotel. We did exactly that, only that arriving at my hotel I noticed that my friend took the wrong bag.
The club was closed by that time so every effort to get back my bag was fruitless. The problem was that my wallet, credit card, usb sticks, headphones were all in this bag. To make things worse I overslept the next morning and when I woke up and hastely stormed out of the hotel, my driver was already gone. I jumped into a cab advising the driver to drive to the airport as fast as he could, remembering on half of the way that I have absolutely nothing to pay him with. No cash, no credit card, nothing.
So I had to convince the good man to drive me to the airport for free and promise to transfer him the money later on. Five minutes before reaching the airport, and being on time for my flight, we got stuck into the worst traffic you can imagine, which made me loose my next flight from Melbourne to Sydney. Sleep deprived, hungover and jetlagged I somehow made it possible to buy another flight, with just a picture of my credit card and lots of begging.
The next problem was having no headphones and no sticks anymore, I didn’t have time to buy those because I had to play straight after arrival in Sydney. I called the driver from Sydney asking him to buy me a USB stick on the way to pick me up from the airport. I finally got lucky and a super motivated, young driver answered: “Of course mate, I always have a spare USB stick with me in case the DJs lose theirs the night before. I even have one with music ready in case the DJ loses his laptop and music collection too.”
If a driver always has USB sticks prepared in case his DJ clients lose theirs, it means I can’t be the only one this happens to. Thank you colleagues. Lucky to say that the rest of the weekend was a breeze and I really enjoyed it.
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My worst gig? Man, that was a real treat. I’d flown out to the Ukraine and was picked up from the airport in this totally broken car, it couldn’t even shift gears. So, we bumped and jolted along this terrible road, I was feeling horribly sick, and it took six hours to get to the venue (even lthough we had been told it would only be an hour and a half from the airport).
So, I finally start playing and while the first track is on the police come and shut down the entire party. Turns out that the local police chief was on holiday where we were and wanted to have a quiet night. So I assumed that was that, and inquired into how I could get back to the airport.
As luck would have it, the same guy who had driven me to the venue offered to drive me back to the airport, but because the car was so wrecked I missed my flight and had to spend the fee that I had earned that night on a new flight back home. Good times.
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My disastrous DJ story takes us back to 2011 when I played at Kazantip Festival back when Crimea was still part of Ukraine and the Republic of Kazantip took over the seaside area for a monthlong 24hrs a day debauchery. It's set right by the sea and temperatures were a solid 30 degrees Celsius during the day.
It was a tuesday when I left on one of my first ever trips playing a show that far away from home. I had everything ready and was set to play on wednesday morning. The show went a treat as the sun rose out of above the sea and the crowd was loving it. I was loving it. So as it goes we went on a full day chill afterwards playing 4 more hours, drinking loads and getting on it. I ended up alone in my hotelroom by the end of the day. Happy I made it through the whole day and still buzzing.
Buzzing so much I could not sleep get to sleep. At one point I found myself in conversation talking to someone, only realising after a minute I was talking to my own reflection in the mirror. Naked. This freaked me out so I went back out there to catch the sunset and grab a decent bite to eat and simmer down with a friend that was still out there. All ends well I get back to bed and fall asleep.
The next morning the promoter comes to my door where we thank each other, he hands me my fee and tells me my cab's there to bring me to the airport. As we are five minutes away from Simferopol Airport I panic. Fuck, I left my passport at the hotel! I quickly got the promoter to send a cab after me with my passport, but helas. Missed my flight. Such a rookie mistake. I was incredibly lucky the guys offered to buy me a new ticket since there was another flight going to Moscow in two hours and I could still make my transfer back home to Amsterdam.
After a reasonably short flight I arrive at Moscow and quickly try to rush to my gate where I find all the other passengers to Amsterdam waiting. There's a delay so no need to rush. I figure I have time for a coffee and a snack and possibly even time to open my laptop and check some mails since I was offline for three days. Looking on my laptop clock I see I still have plenty of time, open up Skype and get to business.
Some time passes before I compare my laptop clock to the one hanging in the terminal. There is an hour difference. You know that feeling you get when you feel the blood rushing, your heart trying to escape through your throat for air choking you in the process there and then as you gasp for air and feel the world is crumbling beneath you? Yeah that feeling was me, as I look over to my gate to find that everyone had long boarded and I was stranded in Moscow. Rookie mistake number two, mega fail, what an idiot! Missed my second flight of the day, I thought I was going to be sick.
Needless to say I called my agent and spoke to my then girlfriend endlessly in despair. The calls and new flights (via Riga the next morning) cost me a small fortune, let alone my dignity. I spend the night curled up on a small restaurant bench, with all of my live equipment and bags tied together listening to loud Russian "Schlager" music blasting from the speakers on the ceiling. Afraid to sleep and miss flight number three. That morning I go to the gate extra early, drank three energy drinks and got my flight to Riga afterwhich I made it to my flight home in time.
Completely overwhelmed at the arrival gate I see my girlfriend and two other friends. What a great surprise! Then it hit me. I was to play Sonne Mond Sterne Festival in the south eastern part of Germany. I was not going home, they were there to pick me up for a dashing eight hour roadtrip!
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They join acts like Carl Cox, Nina Kraviz, Jackmaster and Helena Hauff on the bill for the 5th edition of The Social (September 29th - 30th).
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