From backyards to the big stage

By Karina Ultreras

Two Cal Poly Pomona students will spin their beats at Yost Theatre in Santa Ana on Thursday. The landmark theatre will welcome fourth-year business student Kyle Okura, known as DJ K.O.MODO, and fourth-year marketing student Juan Correa, known as DJ Pollo, to open for Branchez.

Okura and Correa have made what has been a hobby into a developing career.

“Music has always been my passion,” said Okura. “Before, I used to play guitar a lot, and it transitioned into deejaying.”

Correa was first introduced to deejaying by one of his best friends in high school.

“I stuck around, and he taught me the ways,” said Correa. “At 18, I bought my first equipment, and almost every night, I was messing with it.”

Correa and Okura clicked from the beginning, meeting through mutual friends. They had similar interests and helped each other out in their musical careers.

“We would talk about our deejaying, how we did our parts and shared equipment,” said Okura. “[We] finally got the chance to do a gig together at BroncoFusion.”

Okura, a Sigma Chi member, is from Chino. His artistic name, DJ K.O.MODO, came from his initials and was influenced by his mother’s homeland of Komodo Island in Indonesia.

Okura is an avid music listener, and has seen his favorite artists live multiple times throughout the last five years. His biggest influences are RL Grime, Flosstradamus and Diplo.

“When I started having to DJ for fraternity parties, they don’t like EDM stuff that you would here at a typical rave,” said Okura. “They wanted to hear something more hip-hop influenced. That got me into trap, which is now my favorite style of music.”

From Venezuela to Torrance, Correa, a Phi Tau member, listens to a variety of genres. He has already deejayed at Club Luna, as well as the side room at the Yost Theatre.

The stage name DJ Pollo originated from the restaurant chain Juan Pollo. Coincidentally, Okura’s father is the founder of the popular restaurant.

“From my first year, I just thought it would come to me,” said Correa. “I had the nickname Pollo because of Juan Pollo the restaurant, and at a show, my friends started chanting Pollo. It just stuck.”

Okura interjected.

“I should copyright [the name],” he joked.

Forming a musical career is not always a smooth process. Both have faced difficulties along the way. Correa recalled the lowest point he encountered.

“My computer started glitching 20 minutes into the set because someone spilled all over it,” said Correa. “I was very disappointed when people started booing, but there wasn’t anything I could do.”

For Okura, becoming a mobile disc jockey was a bit of a struggle. It took him a year to put together the whole setup: lights, a sound system, a table, a laptop and much more.

However, all their work will pay off this week at the Yost Theatre. Aside from formal events, small clubs and backyard parties, this will be their biggest show to date.

Preparing for a gig this size is essential, and there will be no room for improvising.

“For a show where you have to open for someone bigger than you, you have to watch what you play,” said Okura. “This is going to be the first time on a main stage with the big speakers. I’m definitely excited. This the biggest thing I’ve ever done.”

Correa will prepare for the event by researching.

“I try to find new songs and mix at least an hour every night,” said Correa. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I don’t want to go up there and mess up.

“The fact that I have control over what’s coming out of all the speakers scares me, but it’s exciting at the same time.”

The duo have a major support system that truly believes in them. In just one week, both Okura and Correa sold 170 tickets for their big night.

Danielle De Guzman, a fourth-year communication student, is excited for her two friends’ musical careers. De Guzman will show her support by attending the event.

“I like the idea of people expressing themselves with music in general,” said De Guzman. “I support them, and glad we are a part of it. I hope they can continue to play at local clubs and also a bigger event, like maybe at Insomniac [events]. It does take baby steps, but I think they are definitely doing it the right way.”

In the near future, Correa hopes to begin producing music, and Okura would like to form a duo with his younger brother.

DJ Pollo

Courtesy Juan Correa

DJ Pollo

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