THE fascinating history of a social phenomenon that makes the lips of the young and the old curl in opposing directions has reflected under the 'Musical' heading in recent editions of the Classifieds. Attraction to the partytime atmosphere of the disco must be one of the human traits that fades with age. The flashing lights, the pounding beat, the feeling that, with all that adrenaline, grog and who knows what else pumping through the veins, something could flip out of control ... Nah – some of us would rather watch another rerun of Inspector Morse.
Francis De Cruz's notice asked a question that could at least make the young smile: Want to be a DJ? Francis, a highly accomplished DJ who won Brisbane's inthemix open decks DJ competition in 2011, is offering a 10-week course for "anyone wanting to learn the basics ". With the stage name, DJ De Cruz, European-born Francis says he has been "in control of the crowds" at some big gigs in the United Kingdom and Australia. He says his enjoyment comes from seeing the crowd energised by music, "keeping the crowd on the dance floor all night and wanting more". While most would relate the disco image to post-1960s culture, online students of the phenomenon trace its origins to the early 1900s in the US, with working class people dancing around apparently gramophonic jukeboxes.
Disco is short for 'discotheque' and the French references included wartime gatherings of resistors to the Nazi rule. "The true art of today's club DJing, mixing/playing multiple songs at the same time – or beat matching – has its origin debated by some," Francis says. "Some say Paris at discotheques was the home of club DJing and some say true DJing took off in the US with Brooklyn House and house music being the true originator of mixing music seamlessly. "Today, much of the true art form is lost with computer technology mastering the art of beat matching/mixing."
Francis says vinyl, CDs and mp3 format computer systems all "give the same result to the listener but a truly skilled DJ will use his talents rather than a computer to mix the tracks and music". He sees his course as a way "to give back to music what it has given me – the many years of travel, meeting great people and playing quality dance music". DJ De Cruz's favourite dance album is Tri State and favourite songs are Can't Sleep and Good for Me. He says Above & Beyond's melodic ability is seldom matched in today's trance and progressive dance scene.