Pariah On The Art Of Playing Back-To-Back With Other DJs

Back in 2010, Arthur Cayzer debuted his Pariah moniker with a big bang. His first solo discharge under that name, Detroit Falls/Orpheus , came out via the then-recently revived R& S Records and hit all the right areas by blending Burial-indebted UK garage area and Dilla-style beats. A new boy wonder was born. Surprisingly, Pariah went silent in 2012 and resurfaced using a renewed focus on Karenn, a gritty live improvisational techno project he or she runs with fellow British techno practitioner Blawan. But he still DJs as Pariah; in fact , he can play back-to-back with Candy Pollard at White Noise in Stuttgart tonight as part of a Telekom Digital Beats Clubnight. Ahead of this function, we asked him a few questions about how he plays with another DJ.

Do you prepare for a back-to-back set differently than for a solo set?

To be honest, I just look at it as another thing to take into consideration when preparing for a fixed. For instance, for a solo set Ill already be preparing based on the things i expect the vibe to be like, how big the club is, what the sound system is like and who else might be playing. With a back-to-back arranged, it’s pretty much the same except that I also factor in making track selections that would complement the style of the DJ that I’m playing with.

How do you navigate the unpredictable nature of playing back-to-back along with someone? Are there ever situations to feel the music or vibe moving in a different direction than you designed? And what do you do when that occurs?

I think there is a fine balance between having a couple of surprises and maintaining good communication. You want things to be spontaneous and you want to give people the space to try and do their own thing, but it’s also vital not to be to scared to communicate to the other DISC JOCKEY if you feel as though something isn’t operating. It’s also incredibly important to listen to what the other DJ is doing. This may sound obvious, but there’s actually no point in playing a tune that you really want to play unless it makes sense to do so in relation to what the various other DJ is playing. This is something which I’ve come to appreciate more and more as a result of playing live with Jamie [Blawan] over the past few years. The Karenn sets that tend to work out the very best are the ones where the musical choices we make are based on complementing what the other is doing. This is partly the effect of practice, but more importantly, I think it’s because we each listen to the actual other is doing and try to react appropriately.

Do you feel like you have to be significantly compatible with someone else’s music taste and DJing style?

It certainly helps, yet I don’t think it’s essential. Certainly it’s important to have some crossover, but I feel that a successful back-to-back should end up being more than a sum of its parts.

Does the way you play differ from a solo started a back-to-back set? If so, how?

I still get quite nervous before a solo DJ set and I think actively playing back-to-back—especially with a good friend—really helps to relieve those nerves. Having a companion within the booth takes the pressure off a bit, so if anything, the difference would probably be that I’d feel much more comfortable to take more risks earlier on than I would if I was playing by myself!

How do you choose that you’re going to play a back-to-back set? Have you played with Candy Pollard before?

It really depends. Sometimes an offer will come through from a promoter, sometimes there will be a plan with someone to do 1 and sometimes it just happens over the night. In fact , the first time I played back-to-back with [Candy Pollard] was when I played for the Exactly who The Fuck crew in Heilbronn. We had only just met that night time, and we ended up playing back-to-back together at the end of the party. Since then we’ve done one more all night back-to-back within Stuttgart a couple of years back, which was amazing!

Find more information about Pariah’ s set in White Noise in Stuttgart this evening here.

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