February 27 2018

In the Mix: Rich Medina

New York-Le Bain
We play game tape with Philly DJ extraordinaire Rich Medina before he returns to play an extended six-hour set at Le Bain on Saturday, March 17th.
LE BAIN: Tell us about your mix. 
RICH MEDINA: This mix represents about 80 minutes worth of the 6.5 hours I played last time I was at Le Bain [on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017] as a guest selector. 

When you listen back to an old mix of yours, does that bring back some memories of what happened that night? What kind of mood you were in? What was the context? 
Every recording is like game tape. You recall moments that were completely spontaneous when they actually happened, and you can even hear moments you wish never happened. [Laughs.] It really is a tangible experience. It can trigger the remembrance of a moment in the night, the smells of the room, how many drinks you had, and even total recall. The context is always the kind of relationship you had with the space, in my opinion. 
"I have so many instances where a DJ saved my life that I went on and became one."
Right before New Year's Eve, you were a central feature in the New York Times article “A DJ Could Save Your Life Tonight,” which paid homage to the art of DJing. Tell us about when a DJ saved your life. 
Man, I have so many instances where a DJ saved my life that I went on and became one. We'd need a Dead Sea Scroll to answer that question in full. It's happened hundreds of times for me being a true club kid since 1985 and dancing and DJing for even longer. 

What do you think is the best thing that will (or should) happen to the art of DJing in the near future?
The best thing that could happen to DJing in the future is more venues that treat the DJ with the same respect they give musicians who play instruments and vocalists who sing and rhyme, as well as a union or organization to oversee a health insurance program. Despite what seems like rock star status in general for the average working DJ, there's a great deal of heavy lifting in the residency game that has to do with venues that jam booths into spaces as afterthoughts, venues with poor booth design and consideration, and management that treats resident DJs like shit and bigger names like divas.
Rich Medina

Rich Medina

What do you think should be improved?
I believe there should be a minimum working wage, an opportunity to receive health insurance after a certain amount of hours logged at a certain venue or group of venues, and a program that provides child care services for DJs with children so they can continue their careers rather than become office people just to give themselves a chance to be good parents. I could go on...

I might be optimistic, but it seems like the DJ culture is spreading exponentially and in the right direction, especially in Europe and Asia. That recent article in the New York Times is one more sign that there is a wider understanding. Are you optimistic about the future?
The future of DJing is fine. Music is recession-proof. I'm not sure what the right direction is, but I believe it's never been gone. People are just waking up because they get shit shoved down their throat by the mainstream all day and they've grown bored of the pop drivel. My being mentioned in the Times isn't a first. It just happened at the loudest point in my career to date and people got Christopher Columbus syndrome. I get "discovered" twice a week to this day. I'm extremely optimistic about the future of DJing. My calendar is pregnant with dates, praise God.