Morgan Page just more proof DJs are a friendly bunch


A few weeks ago at Encore Beach Club, Deadmau5 quietly strolled into the backstage area. He politely tapped the shoulders of people he knew to say hello and give them hugs.

It was a form of respect you'd want to see from your international DJ superstars. He just hung out, chatted and noshed on food to power up for a full set of music.

To tell you the truth, I am backstage in clubs constantly, and I have yet to see massive prima donna behavior from star DJs. Kaskade once told me even nice DJs have bad days. But I haven't witnessed them.

Anyway, one of those nice-to-meet-you DJs has been Morgan Page. (He performs Saturday at Encore Beach Club, then Saturday night at club XS.)

Page tells me that from his insider perspective, DJs really are a friendly lot - and they're more accessible than many pop stars.

"Even Katy Perry, who's supposed to be a normal person, she says her driver can't have eye contact with her when he picks her up at the airport," Morgan says.

That was verified when thesmokinggun.com published portions of Perry's 2011 tour contract. It stipulated chauffeurs were not to talk to her, look at her or ask for autographs.

Page, 31, says he's heard of only a few DJs with closed-off attitudes, and they are "more obscure older acts."

His Body of Work includes 'Body Work'

By the way, the music industry is truly a small world: Page has personal experience with Deadmau5, who supplied popular remixes for Page's lovely hit song "The Longest Road." And Page remixed Perry's "I Kissed a Girl."

Page has been around long enough to expertly explain to you how electronic subgenres have merged together.

"Originally, everyone was playing a real variety of music - so much that they were jumping around too much," Page says.

"Then, they all got into splinter genres for 10 years. DJs went, 'I'm just gonna play German tech house for six hours.' "

(That statement makes me laugh oh-so-hard when Page says it, because it's so true, it hurts.)

"And now, we're getting back to cross-pollinating between different genres, which is nice," Page says.

That cross-pollination of electronic tones with pop melodies is what helped Page cross over into dance mainstream with his girl-singer hits "Body Work," "Fight For You" and "In the Air."

Why He Doesn't Play Synthesizers Live

The Vermont native, who lives and works in Los Angeles, is a real songwriter and adept at keyboards.

So I ask Page why he doesn't play synthesizers at shows.

"I could play live," he says.

But he's seen other DJs do it, and it usually hasn't worked out well, because fans don't necessarily understand what synth-performing DJs are doing, he says.

To Page, the live show is about making an impact with exotic effects and making sure people care about a strong musical energy.

"I could play that stuff live. I could play piano. But it wouldn't suit the framework of the music that well. It's something I always grapple with."

He has experimented with having vocalists sing with him on tour.

"Sometimes it's amazing, and sometimes it's a disaster. Usually it's pretty good, but it depends on the sound of the club, the sound of the room, and how well prepared they are for live acts."

Do you see how honest that answer is? That's the kind of candor you get from a musician who will look a man in the eye.

Doug Elfman's column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

 

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