DJ Drive: “There are clubbers in Armenia who have overcome their complexes a long time ago”
DJs are musicians who can achieve success at any age. There is a world famous DJ who is only 7 years old, and there is also a DJ who is over 50. Armenia had disc jockeys back in the 1990, and the “clubs” were the Green and Red Halls of the Polytechnic Institute. Today, there are many DJs. According to Director of ADP Studio, DJ Drive, there are more DJs than the clubs in Yerevan. “I know at least 30 successful DJs in Yerevan. I mean the old DJs. There are also new DJs who are trying to take their first steps,” says DJ Drive. DJs are the musicians who can be successful regardless of age. There is a world famous DJ who is only 7 years old and one that is over 50. Eritasard.am’s correspondent sat down for an interview with founding Director of ADP DJ Studio, DJ Drive (Karen Nazaryan) to discuss DJing in Armenia, how DJs earn money, Armenian clubbers and more. Eritasard.am: Who are DJs? How are they different from other musicians? DJ Drive: DJ is the abbreviation for disc jockey. The literal translation is “a person who rotates discs”. There are different types of DJs. Some DJs go to work at clubs every day, others work for radio stations or only compose music, and there are others who compose music and present it as well. The DJs in Armenia belong to this last group of DJs who play music every day. There are also DJs who write music, but unfortunately, the music that DJs compose these days is not very suitable for clubbers in Armenia. Eritasard.am: What do you mean by that? Do clubbers want to listen to other kind of music? DJ Drive: This sphere is a little commercialized in Armenia. People “digest” the remixes that they see on MTV or other music channels more easily, and as soon as DJs make it club music, clubbers “freeze”. Eritasard.am: When did the DJ movement begin in Armenia? Who were the first DJs? DJ Drive: It started at the Polytechnic Institute and developed at Tornado Club between the years of 1994 and 1995. However, it wasn’t really DJing. The disc jockeys were trying to be like DJs. There were no clubs, technical equipment or people who would listen to that kind of music. The DJs of those years are still DJs today. Eritasard.am: What kind of clubs do you DJs prefer these days? DJ Drive: Well, it’s obvious that all DJs prefer the clubs where they can play whatever they want and not what the people tell them to play. In other words, DJs want to present good, modern music that is heard in Germany or Spain. Unfortunately, it’s not always that that music is played in Yerevan. Eritasard.am: What do Armenian clubbers want to listen to? DJ Drive: People want to listen to ordinary club music, but they can’t listen to it for a long time. Perhaps they don’t have a clear understanding of club life. They have to be in the mood for that and reach the point where they can listen to that music. Armenians don’t stay too long at clubs so that they can get in the mood. Eritasard.am: If clubbers want to hear good club music, where do creating DJs present their music? DJ Drive: There is a Bitport DJing website where you can upload your music and sell it online. Those who upload and sell their music don’t make a lot of money, and that’s why they also post the music uploads on Facebook to share with their friends. It’s still impossible to sell the music in Armenia. Eritasard.am: Do DJs in Armenia only have to work at clubs to earn a living? DJ Drive: Armenian DJs play at either clubs or at corporate events. There are DJs who work in the daytime and play at clubs at night, and there are also those who are only involved in DJing. It’s possible for them to earn a living by only doing that. All they need is time so that they can gather crowds and become popular. Eritasard.am: Club life became more popular in Armenia over the past couple of years. Do you think the culture has already been formed? DJ Drive: There are clubbers in Armenia who have overcome their complexes a long time ago. The majority of them are the youth up to the age of 25. Old clubbers have some complexes and practically don’t go clubbing. Out of the more than one million people in Yerevan, nearly 400 are clubers, and almost half of them are girls. Eritasard.am: There are few female DJs in Armenia? How do male DJs treat them? DJ Drive: We treat them well. We’re happy to see female DJs. It wouldn’t be very interesting to have only male DJS in Yerevan. There are three or four female DJs, and the most active is DJ Vakcina. The other female DJs aren’t very serious. Eritasard.am: Do Armenian DJs take the songs by singers in Armenia, do remixes of those songs and play them at clubs? DJ Drive: There are DJs who do that, but they don’t play at clubs, for the most part. Structure is very important. If the job is such that a DJ can’t mix the beats, then it definitely won’t sound good at the club. For instance, if the beat of a song is 6/8, then no matter what you do, it will remain 6/8. Interview by Tsovinar Karapetyan