On this sunny Thursday morning here at Ears To The House HQ, it’s time we asked yet another of those important questions which the dance music press has ignored for far too long. It’s about something which has become rampant in DJs over the past few years – and it’s high time someone called it out.
Our question is a very simple one – namely, why can’t DJs leave their knobs alone? If you go and see a DJ playing live, watching a set online or even catching the highlights on Instagram, it doesn’t take long for anyone to notice – the DJ will be there busily playing with their knob, or sometimes even several knobs at once.
And it’s not just male DJs who can’t seem to keep their hands off their knobs, either – Ears To The House has been looking back at our DJs Playing Badly archive and noticed this trend also affects women and non-binaries. It even transcends racial lines and probably others too – no matter who the DJ, they suffer from the same issue of being unable to stop themselves fiddling with their knobs.
Take this footage, for example, of Joe Claussell jerking merrily whilst fiddling with his knob in Naples…
And this is one of the more edifying examples of DJs handling their knobs which we can show you – because at least the knobs appear to be doing something to the sound. In many instances, it’s unclear whether the knob twitching actually produces a result or change of any kind – posing a question of whether it was even necessary.
So why are DJs doing this? Ears To The House suspects there are two possible reasons for the excessive knob twitching, even in a profession known for it. One is that these DJs are simply bored perfectionists who have nothing better to do – rest assured the idea that every DJ on the circuit loves what they do is a myth.
The second is best explained by a quote by one of our regular Detroit sources. He told us that “It’s all for social media. It’s hard to recreate energy for Instagram, so a DJ frenetically turning knobs and such makes things look better. I also think it’s because most DJs have got no idea how to dance, which is ironic, to say the least.”.
Do get in touch if you have any of your own theories on this…