Are you indie or independent?
As I've mentioned once or twice in this blog, I occasionally DJ around town, under a pseudonym. I use a pseudonym because I want to make it clear that Eryc Eyl, the DJ, operates in a musical universe that is completely different from the one inhabited by Eryc Eyl, the music critic. We are, in some ways, separate individuals. My deejaying has very little to do with my writing. It's an outlet for a completely different relationship with music. I rarely play the hippest, hottest underground releases, break new artists or balance on the bleeding edge of indie obscurity. My sets lean heavily on mash-ups, covers, '80s cheese, dirty raps and whatever else it takes to get people in a bar to dance, laugh or smile. I might have been listening to obscure death metal or kiwi pop all day, but when I set up my humble rig, the first track out is more likely to be Too Short or one of Mad Mix Mustang's absurd mashes than it is to be Phoenix or any other Pitchfork favorite. When I DJ, I pander. I placate. I wallow in the muck of pop culture. I wink at people a lot, which is probably a little creepy.
Recently, I was caught completely off-guard when someone who knows me as a music critic looked at my playlist and accused me of not being "indie" enough. At first, I felt defensive, like I'd just been accused of not being Jewish enough or Catholic enough or tall enough -- as if some intrinsic part of my identity had been called into question. This was immediately followed by a rush of indignation and a momentary impulse to defend my indie-ness.
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