Interview with Tango in the Spring DJ: Michael Hayes
WHAT FIRST MADE YOU INTERESTED IN TANGO DJING?
Love of the music and a wish to present it for dancing in the best possible way.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT DJING?
Being able to choose the music I love to dance to myself and seeing that others like my choices.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER WHEN SELECTING MUSIC TO PLAY?
I play only music written specifically for tango dancing, which pretty much means Golden Age. From that huge range I play music in tandas that generally start with oldest and move to newest, that build during the evening to a high point (or two) then taper off as the evening ends. There will be some nights where noone has arrived at starting time and it seems a waste to be playing good dancing music with noone to dance. That requires some quick thinking.
Within each tanda I’ll try to select at least one song that’s reasonably well known but sometimes the dancing suggests to me that certain songs would fit better. Some tandas end up being all well known songs. It’s important to watch the floor for the signs that dancers are not enjoying the music, find it too new, too challenging, boring, whatever, and to respond to that appropriately. I choose pieces with a clear constant rhythm, no sudden tempo changes and melodies that caress but don’t confuse the ear by drowning the rhythm. I love songs and have favourite singers but tend to opt for the rhythm over the words when it comes to final choice. When I’m DJing that night always ends with La Cumparsita.
WHAT MUSIC WON’T YOU PLAY AT A MILONGA?
Music that wasn’t written for tango dancing at a milonga, so that excludes Piazzola (though I love to listen to his music) and anything electro/techno.
How much do you dance when you DJ?
As much as I can get away with, which is usually not as much as I’d like.
How did you find DJing at Tango in the Spring 2010?
It was great fun, excellent venues, a responsive crowd and I found time for a few dances myself.
What are you looking forward to as a DJ at this year’s Tango in the Spring?
More of the same but better.
What is your current favourite tango piece?
Still in love with ‘Invierno’ by Canaro with Roberto Maida, Buscandote by Fresedo and Cascabelito by Sassone. Sorry, that’s three!