DJ Karl from Tulsa / Blog

integrating technology into live performance

Most organic-style musicians that I encounter almost seem to be confused or misunderstand my attempts to integrate technology into live performance as a dj/singer/instrumentalist, etc. There is a lot of experimentation that I am still working through to try to find that perfect balance of being a recording musician who desires to perform live and portray what I do in an entertaining way that goes beyond merely "pushing play" as a dj. Zach from the Mercury Lounge was telling me about how Kimbra has integrated many of the concepts that I am interested, and has been able to turn it into a successful, entertaining concept. The following video illustrates it quite well. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sd7GLvMYSHI

THIS IS IT for Spring & Summer 2012

I've got a few more public shows during April & May @ Paradox. If you are wanting to see me DJ, this is it for Spring & Summer. My schedule has filled up pretty quick with private events through June, and any other free weekends remaining are being claimed by my personal life (i.e. vacation). Of course, there is always room in my schedule for clients who pay my normal prices, its just that it gets harder for me to be flexible with clubs and their budgets during my "busy season". Also, I'd like to invite everyone out to Ablaze Church in Broken Arrow http://www.ablazechurch.com/ on Saturday nights. I will be playing guitar, bass, and bongos during their service as it fits around my hectic DJ schedule. I'll try to post on this site when I will be playing.

Part 2 of "Being Nice" a SHOUTOUT to Hunt Club

As a part 2 to "being nice", I had to give a shout out to the Hunt Club for being a consistently AWESOME place to play for 2 years now. I don't know how many times I've played there, but it has been at least once a month, if not twice a month, and many times 3-4 times per month that I have played there for 2 years now. Without a problem, ever. EVER. I said NEVER EVER -- with a member of the staff or audience. You understand that? I run into musicians and other people who make statements like: "Aren't there rude people everywhere in Tulsa?!" My reply is always, "not everywhere", and Hunt Club is definitely one of those places (although not the only) that has consistently been polite and has a feeling of safety. Generally speaking, my impression of Tulsa is that the most friendly bars are downtown, Brookside, and outside of Tulsa. Most of the problems that I have had seem to be with "neighborhood" Tulsa bars. I'm not saying that all of them have these issues, and there is an overall vibe that I perceive when I walk into a place--and I don't necessarily have to play there or spend alot of time. Its sort of something you can feel in the air (you know what I'm talking about). . . . many times it is things that patrons are saying to eachother, or the bartender, and sometimes its what they aren't saying. So anyhow, a shout out to Hunt Club, and there is a reason why I have consistently played at its open mic for FREE


"Being nice" is a double-edged sword, whether it means how a performer is treating the audience, and more often than not, vice versa. Many people really like what I do . . . ALOT. And for me, I don't mind going the extra mile to make sure people get the specific songs they want to hear, even when I'm not being compensated properly, even when I'm not being tipped. Unfortunately, in the bar scene in Tulsa, there are bars (but not all, of course) filled with drunk 20-something rednecks and mocho-types, for lack of a better term, that don't seem to understand the dynamics and economics of live music and dj's. These professions cost MONEY, and a TON OF IT, just to get into it, and do it properly, and in a nutshell, it sure as heck isn't very profitable regardless of whether I'm making $50/night or $500/night. On top of that, it requires massive amounts of TIME, not only doing the event itself for usually 4-5 hours of constant entertainment, but setup, teardown, and the time over MANY YEARS, to possess the EXPERIENCE that a dj like me has, and that an audience and a club benefit from. Just because a DJ or band accepts crap for payment, doesn't mean they want to be TREATED like crap, and this is my main reason for why over the years I haven't been flexible with my prices. Generally speaking, people who pay my deposits, sign my contracts, and pay my asking prices are usually the kindest, and the gigs that pay the least seem to be filled with hateful people (unless it is a charity event ; )). One thing that makes me never want to come back to a bar again and dj, is when some douche comes up to me and treats me like I'm their personal wait staff and speaks to me in a condescending, snobby, or even hostile and threatening manner. Bars in Tulsa don't pay, and CAN'T PAY, what I make at the private events I do. Let me break the news here - - If I'm dj-ing at a club, ANY CLUB that isn't a private event, I'm basically doing that business owner a FAVOR. My compensation basically pays for out-of-pocket expenses, and hopefully for some of my fixed overhead, forget about my time. To a large degree, I DJ at clubs because I LIKE what I do, and its FUN for me. Or at least . . . . its supposed to be. When I have some smartass calling me “faggot”, etc., its not fun for me anymore, and I'm more than happy to take my $5-figures+ worth of equipment home with me, never come back, and take it somewhere else next time where not only the club owners, but their customers value what I do. I'm not here to put other people's businesses on welfare. I'm not an adult baby-sitter or someone's mom, psycho-therapist, or a religious martyr. I'm a respectful person, and I demand the same respect from other people, and I don't really give a damn . . . if they're drunk . . . or high . . . or whatever the story is. I'm a flexible person. DJ Luke, Eddie, and I have been MORE THAN FLEXIBLE with about a half a dozen clubs in this town, and we EXPECT that to be RECIPROCATED. On top of all this, its not about me, Luke, or any other band or dj out there, its about the audience, and whether they are willing to spend their time and hard-earned cash, especially in an economy like this, to hang out at someone's joint. The fact is that people aren't going to go out and spend their money ANYWHERE if they don't feel SAFE. When I'm DJ-ing at a club, I shouldn't have to feel like I have to BE MY OWN BOUNCER. Its funny, because some of these clubs that are struggling right now in Tulsa have some pretty horrible reviews online that reflect these exact problems that I perceive. Bars have to understand that if they want to cater to a few bullies out there, and be bullied, that its going to kill their business, and that's exactly what seems to be happening right now out there. In contrast, Elm Street Pub in Jenks where I dj-ed at in February was great. One of the bar tenders couldn't stop complimenting me after we put our stuff away. In my book, that goes a long way . . .