Sure, we can condemn plagiarism and appraise remix-appropriation-whatever. But really – how do you come up with the idea of releasing full songs that you had nothing to do with, like Laromlab did? Why would you want to perform live with recordings of other people’s tracks? Would you think that you could get away with it? If not, what kind of motivational drives are stronger than (un)consciously knowing that you will be labeled as a faker?
I sent an e-mail to TV Death Squad with similar thoughts: “I am honestly interested in your motivations behind this. I think it’s too late to say that you’re a VJ and that everybody knew that you didn’t do the music. The bookers did not know. The credits were not on the Myspace. I am more interested in *why* you did it like this. Why did you use chiptunes instead of other music? Why did you upload other people’s music to your myspace, and rename it? Why did you perform with it? Why do you think this is ok?” Here’s what he said:
“i am really sorry about everything. i never meant to piss off everyone i looked up to. i want to tell you exactly how this mess happened so maybe you can forgive me or at least understand. i am a dj/ vj or whatever you want to call it. i started off wanting to be able to mix chiptunes over vinyl, and ended up running a ds lite w/ mp3s into a korg esx and using it for filtering… than i saw how you guys were doing these cool visuals over 8bit, and i started taking more of an interest in that.. so i invested in a korg entrancer so i could merge it w/ a microkorg and use it to sample visuals over my fav. chip.
I gave up on doing chiptunes and just vjayed and dj’d 8bit with what i had access to on the visual end.. the cool thing about that was that you could process both audio and video at the same time w/ the keytar. i started introducing everyone in oklahoma city to a bunch of my favorite artists i would find on.. i sincerely didnt mean to cause any trouble or diss anyone. i hope you understand that i wasnt trying to jip anyone.
furthermore, to the best of my ability (and it can be difficult with electronic music) i tried to label the right names on the player… i thought i had random, mesu, and combat dave all with the right names on the playlist but as far as goto80 i honestly couldnt remember where i found that song.. it really hurt my feelings that i offended you guys on this level, but after thinking about it from your point of view i understand. i hope you accept my forgiveness, i really just wanted to be a chiptune vj. i did take down all the videos, and erased the myspace today. i also had two vj shows that i cancelled. again, im really sorry about this whole thing.”
This explanation leaves out aspects like why the bookers thought he was a composer/performer and not a dj, and why he renamed the songs when uploading it to Myspace. The answers for those questions might be too personal for him to answer himself.
If he just would have called himself a DJ and acted like one (not uploading songs, not dance around with a gear-strap-on, and beat mixing), there would be no drama at all, right? So, if you are doubting if what you are doing is morally/legally okay, just call yourself a DJ and you’ll be fine. (lame disclaimer: of course some DJs are a lot more performative than some live-performers)