Dance shows are big works. Big works are made up of many small works. A dance show takes a team of people, working together. Every contribution matters. But one contribution that no dance show can happen without is the music. Would not be much of a dance show without music! DJs are the unsung heroes of dance. Unless you have DJed a show, you can’t imagine what they go through, chasing music, the time and effort it takes to organize a playlist, adjust their players’ settings to sim conditions so that they don’t crash or stall, and then the pressure of angry divas when the music stuffs up through no fault of their own. DJs seldom get noticed or even thanked. But they are the nerve center of any dance show, so I wanted to highlight them here on Showtime, let everyone get to know them better, and remind them of how much they are appreciated. This is an on-going series.
Gunner von Phoenix
Gunner von Phoenix found Second Life five years ago through a friend. He says he joined because he was looking for a special woman, so from the start had taking a SL relationship into RL. He roleplayed in Gor for a year, then started DJing. He plays most genres of music, from swing to classic rock, alternative, pop, and even some country and western. He is known for playing “Stump the DJ” with his listeners, the challenge being for them to come up with a song that he does not have in his massive two terabyte collection of music.
He does regular sets at House of V and is the Voice of Elysium Cabaret, DJing their shows at The Empire Room plus ‘away’ shows. His style is a rugged, gravelly style, and usually laced with cheeky humour. Why did he get into DJing in the first place? “I started to stream music for my RL, Baby[pea] Von Phoenix, so she could practice dance. DJing was not new to me since in high school I DJed for the school radio. I owe it all to Baby. If it weren’t for her, I never would have started all I do now in SL.”
Other than DJing, Gunner enjoys many SL activities including Gorean roleplay, machinima, and also is a choreographer and dancer. But how does all this impact his RL? Or does it impact it at all? “SL always impacts RL. It can be habit forming. It can also have a negative impact. For me, the RL impact was huge and positive. I met my RL wife in SL. After a year, we decided SL was not enough, so I packed and moved from the US to Australia. After three months, we married. So yes, SL can have an impact on RL.”
What are his thoughts on the potential addictive quality of Second Life? “Humm that is a tough one. You can do anything on SL. From dancing to going into outer space. Whatever you can imagine, you can have on SL. Getting addicted is easy, what is hard is to keep the addiction in check. Always keep in mind that SL is not real. What you do can feel real, and real feelings for people do develop. I would have to say each person needs to set boundaries and stick to them. And if you find SL taking away from RL, back away from SL. Easier said than done, I know.”
What changes has Gunner seen with DJing over the years? “First tips are down. I do not expect everyone to tip me 1k but even 10 lindens shows you are enjoying the music. And we all love playing music, or why DJ. Even a IM saying your liking the music.” What changes would he like to see? “Less push from artists about using their music. Radio plays it, RL clubs do, and yet YouTube sends people out checking clubs all over SL, seeing if your using music posted there. If they didn’t want you to have it, they should not post it.”
What is his favourite thing about DJing in SL? “Playing the ‘right’ playlist and knowing you have connected to the crowd. Knowing you have had a good set.” He clearly finds fulfilment in having satisfied, appreciative listeners! What about his least favourite thing about DJing? “Hecklers!! Not much you can do. I have a song I dedicate to them on the mic, the I95 song. It is also called ‘The #@%hole song’.” Oh dear! I actually know a few DJs who keep that song in their back pocket for use as needed *chuckles*.
What advice does Gunner have for people who want to learn how to DJ? “Get a good stream. Do not download music while you DJ. Use a good broadcaster. Work on your voice and on air persona. Be yourself.”
Thank you for the time, energy and passion you give to SL dance, Gunner!