Despite all this, somewhere, somehow--I think it was two years ago when rock was declared officially dead--DJ culture became hip. Synths were no longer taboo, drum machines sent human drummers to the want ads, and vinyl became the "it" medium again. In the wake of this new trend came a fuckload of poseurs. Don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled to see my favorite genre finally getting the attention it deserves--but if you're going to commodify us, at least do it correctly. Just this once, I'll let you have a peek at my Techno Hipster Crib Sheet. After that, you're on your own.
1. Do not allow the word "electronica" to escape your lips.
Nothing will blow your cover more quickly. See, the term "electronica" was fabricated by the evil-doing no-good pop media for the sole purpose of making their jobs easier. No matter that we can't seem to agree on a better word--techno's too specific, dance music not specific enough--you must avoid this word at all costs.
2. Kill your CD player.
While the compact disc provides a convenient and user-friendly listening format, it doesn't produce the best sound quality for this genre. Or so my DJ friends tell me. It's ironic--here's a genre that vehemently embraces new music-producing technology, but refuses to acknowledge the most common modern audio format. Go figure.
3. Look the part.
Ditch the backpack. Not only is it the most chic-free way of transporting your worldly goods, the backpack just wasn't made to accommodate a 12" record. Besides, a record bag from a smart, underground label will definitely turn heads at the record store. And lose those uncomfortable shoes. Replace them with trainers (a.k.a. running/tennis shoes). Natural fibers are key, too. There's a uniform here, and you'd best adhere to it or your credibility is shot. No one wearing a studded leather jacket was ever taken seriously in the dance community.
4. The rarer and newer the better.
Part of the machismo of being a DJ is being the first to play a track. In the world of techno, the phrase "timeless classic" is an oxymoron. Alas, a lot of the best stuff will never be heard--our local DJ is too busy trying to impress his/her pals, which means playing records that haven't yet reached their two-week expiration date.
5. If it's on the radio, it sucks.
Forget that there are actually a couple of respectable techno-based radio shows in town--if a track has made it to radio, it's too well-known. See rule #4.
6. Never set foot in Tower Records.
Or Borders, for that matter. Yes, they've started carrying vinyl, and they might even have a decent selection. But what're you gonna say when you pull out your latest, hottest piece of wax, and your new techno buddies ask, "Where did you GET this?" If you made the mistake of buying from a conglomerate, it is your duty to lie and say you got it at a cool boutique-style joint.
7. Don't buy American.
Also known as the "the further away it's produced, the better," this rule states that any record put out by a stateside label already has a strike against it. Likewise, merely being from the U.K. (or further afield) gives the artist an edge. (Exception: Detroit, MI, the birthplace of techno.)
8. Respect your elders.
Never, ever take these names in vain: Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins. These three make up the Holy Trinity of Detroit Techno. They did it first; therefore, they're the best.
9. Know your sub-genres.
And your sub-sub-genres. It's not good enough to be able to identify the sounds of drum 'n' bass--you've gotta recognize its offspring too. Know the defining elements of drill 'n' bass vs. techstep vs. jump up vs. pornstep. Better yet, know which are okay to like and which are, like, so three months ago.
10. Say no to drugs.
Contrary to what you've heard about techno's fabled break-in warehouse parties, ingesting disco biscuits does not a techno hipster make. Drugs turn you into a musical slut who'll dance to anything. You must maintain your ability to discern what's cool and what's not. Trust me, dancing to the sound of the washing machine is not.