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James Murphy: "With Dance Music, People Are Being Treated as if They're Really Dumb"

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Photo by Ian Witlen
Check out Crossfade's full 73-photo slideshow from III Points Festival Day Two.

On What Makes a Record Worth Playing

"I don't know. [crowd snickers] No, honestly, I just like things. And then sometimes, I'm really dumb. Sometimes, I'll just listen to a record and be like, 'No.' And then Pat [Mahoney] from LCD will buy it, and he'll play it, and I'll be like, 'Oh my God, what is this?' And he'll be like, 'You handed it to me. You didn't want it. And I bought it.' And I'm like, 'Oh yeah, I'm stupid.'

"So I don't know. It's usually just something that I feel is unusual and missing and fun and works. And it isn't just a loop and doesn't have insulting drops and peaks."

James Murphy on Preparing for DJ Sets

"I don't prepare. [laughs]... Like, I was packing, and I had to go talk to this landlord because I'm trying to open this thing in New York, and I'm like, 'Oh, shit!'

[Murphy mimes packing his DJ bag]

"Somebody gave me some records, so I put them in the pile to listen to at some point, and I went through them, and I went, 'I don't want to play these'... And I have big boxes of records on the floor that are the 'potential-play records'... So I just grabbed big stacks and stuffed them in my bag, and I went away.

"Then I go to the club and I'm like, 'Mwehhh... this is what's in there.' It's basically like having a refrigerator and being like, 'Shit, and you open it up: 'Uggghhh... hot dogs, orange juice, Sichuan peppers.'

"You just have to make it work. I think that is what's fun about it."

On Dumb Dance Music

"Being a little boring is important to me. [fans giggle]

"No, in the beginning [of a set], I think it's important. Because we're in a time now, with dance music especially, people are being treated as if they're really dumb and have incredibly gnat-like attention spans and need to just be tickled all the time.

"The music's just like, 'It's exciting! It's exciting! It's exciting! It's exciting! It's exciting! Oh, it stopped! It stopped! It stopped! What's going to happen?! What's going to happen?! What's going to happen?! Oh, it's really quiet! It's really quiet! It's really quiet! It's exciting! It's exciting! It's exciting again!

"They're jumping up and down. And I'm watching. And it looks like there's a lot of energy in the room. And then I'll see a guy be like, 'Yeeeaaahhh!' [Murphy does some half-hearted fist-pumping] And then he'll go, 'I'm gonna get a beer. You wanna get a beer?'

"He's not invested in the slightest in the moment. [laughs] Or he's just filming it, and he's like, 'This is fucking great! Uh, would that other guy put his fucking phone down? It's in my shot!'

"I just realized that [it's good] to be boring for 15 minutes."

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