10 Essential Books to read if you are a DJ / Producer / Promoter

Here is a selection of book that can keep your inspiration level high, specially if you are a DJ or working in the Music Industry...

1) Pump Up the Volume: A History of House Music – Sean Bidder (2001)

Pump up the volumeHouse Generation tells the story of the social and cultural explosion that was House. From Chicago, this music has risen to become the soundtrack to every party, after-show party, premiere and club opening around the planet. Today, House is used by many of the leading mainstream music artists to break new markets and update their sound, and has influenced more people than any style since rock ‘n’ roll. The series will take the story from Chicago and New York via Ibiza to Britain, interviewing key players on both sides of the Atlantic  and the people behind the superclubs like Ministry of Sound and Cream. It will also consider the social effect of House – a sound that has transcended all class, race and cultural boundaries, to become the soundtrack of modern popular culture.

[Buy it on Amazon]

2) Everything You Need to Know About DJing and Success – Danny Rampling (2010)

music_book_review_ramplingWhy settle for just learning to DJ when you could learn the secrets of positive thinking at the same time?

An easy to read DJ manual written by a spiritual figurehead of house music, filled with clear tutorials and solid insider tips.

Turn to the second half and it’s a self-help program written by The Danny Lama himself.

Mr Rampling says: “I personally GUARANTEE your life will take on a whole new level of depth, happiness and success.”

[Buy it on Amazon]

3) Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture – Alice Echols, (2010)

music_book_review_hotstuffEchols new book on disco is an engaging, smart read.

She brings to life both the political complexities of the time as well as the music and it’s many scenes.

As a brilliant historian and superb storyteller (the book is filled with great anecdotes), Echols’ book transcends the usual fare on disco by taking on an in-depth account of how disco both reflected and contributed to the ways that identities of African Americans, gays, and women shifted in these years. A must read for anyone interested in the cultural history of disco and the legacies of 70’s social change movements.

[Buy it on Amazon]

4) Discographies: Dance, Music, Culture and the Politics of Sound – Jeremy Gilbert & Ewan Pearson (1999)

music_book_review_discographiesThe reason Ewan Pearson makes such great dance music is because he’s thought about it really HARD, and along with his blog, this book is proof.

Experiencing disco, hip hop, house, techno, drum ‘n’ bass and garage, Discographies plots a course through the transatlantic dance scene of the last last twenty-five years. It discusses the problems posed by contemporary dance culture of both academic and cultural study and finds these origins in the history of opposition to music as a source of sensory pleasure.
Discussing such issues as technology, club space. drugs, the musical body, gender, sexuality and pleasure, Discographies explores the ecstatic experiences at the heart of contemporary dance culture. It suggests why politicians and agencies as diverse as the independent music press and public broadcasting should be so hostile to this cultural phenomenon.

[Buy it on Amazon]

5) The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club – Peter Hook (2009)


Founded by New Order and Factory Records, The Hacienda hosted gigs by such legendary acts as the Stone Roses, the Smiths, Bauhaus, Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC, Kurtis Blow, and Happy Mondays; gave birth to the “Madchester” scene; became the cathedral for acid house; and laid the tracks for rave culture and today’s electronic dance music. But over the course of its fifteen-year run, “Madchester” descended into “Gunchester” as gangs, drugs, greed, and a hostile police force decimated the dream.

Told in Hook’s uproarious and uncompromising voice, The Hacienda is a funny, horrifying, and outlandish story of success, idealism, naïveté, and greed—of an incredible time and place that would change the face and sound of modern music.

[Buy it on Amazon]

6) The Last Party: Studio 54 Disco and the Culture of the Night – Anthony Haden-Guest (1997)

studio 54Debonair Vanity Fair hack Haden-Guest details the monied world of upper-crust New York clubbing in a history that climaxes the day Bianca Jagger rode a horse into Studio 54.

It’s the full saga of Studio itself, populated largely by people with titles, racehorses and Truman Capote’s phone number; then Palladium, Limelight and other gossipy spots.

In his book, the front door of Studio 54 swings open just long enough to let escape the shadow of a scene that’s long since seen the light of day.

Best picture caption: “Andy Warhol is in the rear.”

[Buy it on Amazon]

7) Electrochoc – Laurent Garnier (2013)

9782081294431_ElectrochocLintegrale_cv.inddIf I ever I lose faith in DJing, feel bored or discourage, I just have to read a few pages of this good to remind me why I’ve chosen this career.

This book chronicles the birth of electronic music (Techno and House) as Laurent Garnier witnessed it! Soon to be translated in English (I’ll update this post when It’ll be). If you read French, German or Spanish definitely grab a copy!

This is an amazing inspiration for me and many DJs.

First released in 2003, Laurent and David-Brun-Lambert have written a bonus new chapter. In it, Laurent Garnier discusses the profound changes he has witnessed in electronic music over the past decade – from MP3s, Berlin, Dubstep, “EDM” to social networks.

[Buy it on Amazon]

8) Russel-Simmons : Life and Def: Sex, Drugs, Money, + God (2002)

russel simmonsRussell Simmons, the original and eternal hip-hop mogul, is one of the most innovative and influential figures in modern American business and culture. When no one outside of inner-city New York had even heard of hip-hop, Simmons saw the seeds of a global force that would change the way people talk, dress, listen to music, and choose the heroes they hang on their walls. Today, he oversees a sprawling, multimillion-dollar empire of culture-defining businesses in everything from music to fashion, advertising to film, and media to visual art. At the same time he’s broadened his interests and influence and pushed hip-hop to new plateaus of power and relevance. Life and Def is a one-of-a-kind tale that interweaves the remarkable journey of Russell Simmons with the story of the culture he’s transformed and been transformed by.

[Buy it on Amazon]

9) Where Did Our Love Go?: The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound (Music in American Life) (2007)

Soul musicFirst published in 1986, this classic work includes a new preface by Nelson George that identifies Motown’s influence on young recorders and music mogels of today, including R. Kelly, D’Angelo, Sean Combs, and Russell Simmons.

Gordy’s uncanny instinct for finding extraordinary talent–whether performers, songwriters, musicians, or producers–yielded popular artists who include the Supremes, the Jackson Five, Smokey Robinson, the Miracles, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, and Stevie Wonder. Not shy about depicting Gordy’s sometimes manipulative and complex relationships with his artists, George reveals the inner workings of the music business and insightful material on the musicians who backed these stars. The large cache of resulting Motown melodies is still alive in commercials, movies, and personal ipods today.

[Buy it on Amazon]

10) DownBeat – The Great Jazz Interviews (A 75th Anniversary Anthology) (2009)

Downbeat - The Great Interviews 001Culled from the DownBeat archives includes in-depth interviews with literally every great jazz artist and personality that ever lived! Features classic photos and magazine covers from DownBeat ‘s vast archives. In honor of its 75th anniversary, DownBeat ‘s editors have brought together in this one volume the best interviews, insights, and photographs from the illustrious history of the world’s top jazz magazine, DownBeat . This anthology includes the greatest of DownBeat ‘s Jazz Hall of Famers: from early legends like Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman; to bebop heroes like Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis; to truly unique voices like Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Thelonious Monk, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk; to the pioneers of the electric scene like Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, and Joe Zawinul. The Great Jazz Interviews delivers the legends of jazz, talking about America’s music and America itself, in their own words.

[Buy it on Amazon]

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