So you’re grooving to the latest jams in the fraternity basement of your choice when all of a sudden the music stops. If you are a party regular, you know things like this can happen, but if you are the disc jockey, worrying about the music is hardly the least of your troubles.
Characterized as everything from “pretty easy and straightforward” to “a spiritual and mind-transcending experience,” disc jockeying is not for all.
So what does it take to be a good dj?
“Practice. Know different aspects of music and know what sounds good and blends together,” Kenny Mitchell ’97 said.
“I have always loved music,” Mitchell said. Known as Kmitch, Mitchell plays a repertoire of hip-hop, rhythm and blues, and reggae.
Borrowing from his brother who is also a dj, Mitchell began djing parties in his area when he was a junior in high school.
“I just have a lot of fun doing it. You get to do new things and be your own expressionist,” he said.
Hein Koh ’98 said, “To see people dance to your music, to see that you are in control and are making them happy, is such a euphoric feeling for me.”
A techno dj who plays underground house and jungle, Koh said her interest in djing began when she went to her first rave, about a year ago.
“There I experienced something that I never experienced before at clubs,” she said. “I found clubs to be fun and social, but I found raves to be spiritual. During that time of spiritual enlightenment I knew I had to become part of this scene, not just as a partaker, but as a creator.”
Koh said she enjoys being “on the other side of parties.”
“I used to be so into dancing, but once I took that step to become a dj, I felt like I lost my innocence,” she said. “Even when I am not djing, I see things from the other side, and I love to watch people be moved by the music. It’s all about mental transformation.”
Koh explained that the music is important, but the message it carries has to be brought by the dj as well.
“The music is what we worship, and the djs play the role of a preacher in sending this ‘message’ out to the dancers, in order to move their hearts and souls and minds,” Koh said.
Other students on campus, however, have discovered djing as a way to pad their pockets.
“Although, I like to go [to parties] as much as I like to work, I would rather work every party rather than go to every party,” Keith Miles ’96 said.
Playing an eclectic blend of hip hop, rock and roll standards, and rap ditties, Miles found that djing was the perfect way for him to make money during his free time.
Parties often begin “at a time when you wouldn’t do anything else,” Miles said. “I found that I could make money without having a job.”