A few years ago, Kev did a blog post about a "wallpaper" gig. As in, he was playing music meant to be in the background. Over the weekend, I did my first DJ gig as a wallpaper artist as well.
My aunt's 50th birthday party was Saturday night. She had an entire restaurant in downtown McKinney rented out for the night and she asked me to provide music for the party portion after dinner. She had suggested music from her college days, like the Go-Gos, A Flock of Seagulls, and Talking Heads. Since I have a vast library of songs from the '80s (popular and not-so popular), this was a piece of cake.
I wanted to keep the music peppy and recognizable. You can't be a punk purist about everything in life, you know. And when you're DJing something other than your personal playlist, you have to understand that you're not the only one listening to the music. I might know how awesome "One in a Lifetime" sounds in Stop Making Sense, but the average listener probably knows the opening lyrical stanza and chorus hook at most. Generally speaking, I wasn't so sure most of the attendees even knew who the Talking Heads were. But they enjoyed my playlist.
Another big thing I wanted to make sure went well with this gig was the music's volume. Meaning, not too loud, but not too soft. My reasoning is because of a certain late-night place that I like to go with Diana, Ryan, and/or Matt. On some nights, its P.A.'s insanely loud volume drowns out a normal speaking voice, so we all have to yell at each other. The volume doesn't really fit the vibe since the place is very chill and relaxed.
Keeping that in mind, I asked my father (who provided the P.A.) to keep things at my (and the whole place's) preference of a volume level. No one complained that things were too loud or too soft.
DJing is a fun thing to do and I see no problem serving the crowd. If you wanted to hear the newest Dillinger Escape Plan record, I'd play it in the car or at home for you. I'm not about to put that on something for a general audience. Hell, most people I know who like all kinds of music cannot get into those guys.
This kind of DJing isn't settling; it's doing the job asked of you.