not a member? click here to sign up
Sunshine On His Mind
Veteran house DJ Tommie Sunshine discusses his Beat origins, laments the virtual extinction of house music in its native Chicago, and celebrates the laptop.
Olaf Tyaransen, 14 Apr 2011
While they mightn’t have used any plug-in technologies to make the song, Sunshine is grateful for its advantages when it comes to DJing. Rather than having to lug heavy flight cases around, he can now fit his entire record collection onto his laptop.
“I haven’t played records in about five years. When I would tour Europe five or ten years ago, I was going around with two 200 pound metal flight cases full of records. I’d have a backpack on with my clothes and I’d be carrying these two anvils all around Europe. It was brutal. It was miserable. It felt like some sort of prison work or something.”
Of course, the downside is that more or less anybody with a laptop and internet access can call themselves a DJ nowadays. With a digital world at our fingertips, there’s certainly no need for anyone to spend time scouring record stores for those rare vinyls any more.
“It’s all so different now in the digital age,” he agrees. “People show up with a laptop and they’ve got 30,000 songs on their hard drive. That’s maddening to me because I would never want that many options. I like the fact that I show up with a finite amount of music and loosely knowing what I’m gonna do.”
He says that what separates the men from the noise is the ability to immediately read a crowd and play accordingly. “I think that now that is the only art of DJing. Because it’s equal access with the music. I mean, things go up for sale and twelve hours later they’re on 50 file-sharing sites. So if everybody has equal access to the music, then the only art, the only nuance, to DJing, is how you put it together. Because everyone can get the same tunes, it’s all about the context that you put them in. What you start a set with and what you end a set with speaks volumes.”
At high volumes.
Dublin’s Tommy Hilfiger store is located at 13-14 Grafton St, and the Hilfiger Denim Store can be found at 13 Trinity St.