Student DJs make the beat drop

By Trista Demuth

At first glance you may think these are just regular Cal Poly Pomona students, until you see what they can do on the turn tables. With all different styles and music tastes, these CPP students enjoy mastering the art of being a disc jockey in their free time. Some make a business out of it, some do it for fun and some would love to make it a career in the future. From house parties to clubs to weddings, these DJs do it all.

Brendan Cheng, a fourth-year manufacturing engineering student, keeps his DJ skills in the family. Cheng and his brother Curtis are known as “Brenny & the Tiger” on the turn tables.

“Those [Brenny & the Tiger] are actually our childhood nicknames,” said Cheng.

Brenny & the Tiger have been DJs together since last year.

“We’ve been playing since Oct. 8, 2011 because that was the day we went to a concert to see Tiesto play, and that’s kind of what inspired us, so we started playing right after that,” said Cheng. “I felt like if they can do it, then why can’t I?”

Brenny & the Tiger enjoy playing different types of music and exploring new ones as well.

“We play everything from house, trance, dub-step,” said Cheng. “I’m actually getting a little bit into this new genre called moombahton, so we kind of play everything. I like playing my music and I know a lot of people like my music too. It’s new and different.”

Brenny & the Tiger have played at clubs such as Exchange in Los Angeles. They are looking forward to expanding to bigger venues in the future.

Phil Cecil, first-year undeclared student, also goes by “DJ Pheel It.” He is new to the DJ world.

“I’m kind of still beginning and I DJ at parties,” said Cecil. “I’m working to get better over summer. I want to start doing stuff through ASI and more stuff on campus.”

Cecil enjoys being a DJ because of the freedom to do whatever he wants on the turn tables.

“You can add your own flavor and your own style to your music,” said Cecil. “Transitions are more complex, and you can add in effects and pretty much anything you want, and you can have a lot more fun doing it that way.”

His main inspiration is Porter Robinson, another young DJ who mainly produces electro house music.

“I use a lot of the same equipment as him,” said Cecil. “It’s called the traktor kontrol S4. I saw him in Pomona when he was here and I’ve seen him live at Audiotistic.”

Cecil loves the response he gets from a good crowd.

“When you DJ, all you want to hear is positive feedback because the whole purpose of DJing is for everyone else to enjoy your music,” said Cecil.

EJ Tacason, better known to his friends as “EJ the DJ,” is a sixth-year electronics and computer engineering technology student who enjoys playing house and hip-hop.

He has been a DJ for five years and contributes the choice of his major to the hobby.

“What’s crazy is that it actually brought me into my major currently,” said Tacason. “I used to be mechanical [engineering] and then I started DJing. I realized I knew a lot more about electronics and pro audio. Hopefully I’ll be engineering the next DJ systems because I know how to do that.”

Tacason looks up to Deadmau5 because he creates his own synthesizers and music boxes, as well as Porter Robinson because of the type of music he produces.

“It’s not just programs,” said Tacason. “He [Deadmau5] actually creates electronic toys, kind of like how I’m doing.”

Although Tacason is graduating this year, he hopes to continue his DJ hobby.

“I pretty much claimed it as my hobby for the rest of my life,” said Tacason. “The best part is when the party in my head is happening in real life. It’s pretty cool when everyone’s feeling it and dancing at the same time.”

Kamal Andrawis, known at parties as “DJ Camel,” enjoys entertaining people with his rap and hip-hop music on the turn tables.

“I play whatever the crowd wants,” said Andrawis.

He is a first-year civil engineering student, but has been a DJ since his sophomore year in high school.

“I think for a DJ, the best feeling is when everyone’s dancing and having a good time,” said Andrawis. “It motivates you to continue.”

In his four years as a DJ, Andrawis has played at several different venues.

“I do clubs all the time,” said Andrawis. “I’ve done weddings, I’ve done Carnival Downtown [Pomona], I’ve done Skyfox in Downtown.”

Andrawis began by playing around with programs on his computer and grew from there.

“One of my friends had turn tables and the whole set up,” said Andrawis. “He came over to do my sister’s birthday party and I started messing with his stuff. Then from there I got into it and started doing it. I started doing parties with just my computer and then I got enough money to buy speakers and turn tables.”

Alex Venturoso, a fourth-year technology and operations management student, expresses his style as “DJ Rhythmyx.”

Being a DJ for two and a half years, Venturoso has always been interested in different styles of music.

“Back in high school, I actually used to burn a bunch of CDs of music for my friends because I was always interested in spreading good music to people. Well, music that I thought was good,” said Venturoso.

When playing for a new crowd, Venturoso likes to evaluate what kind of music they enjoy and respond to and change his choices accordingly.

Venturoso enjoys his hobby because of the passion he feels from the dance floor.

“You have a packed dance floor and everybody is just going crazy,” said Venturoso. “When you’re DJing and you have a really good dance floor, the energy is just flowing back and forth and you can really feel it. You’re essentially a conductor; you’re orchestrating a dance floor, and when you have that energy, it’s really invigorating. It’s an awesome feeling.”

In the future, Venturoso will be focusing on constantly improving his DJ skills and techniques.

“I’m studying the art right now and I’m hoping to perfect it in the next couple years,” said Venturoso. “I think a true DJ a, knows his roots; and b, knows the skills. Instead of just playing the music, it’s about knowing the techniques and certain fundamental skills.

EJ the DJ

Jonathan Cruz / The Poly Post

EJ the DJ

DJ Pheel It

Jonathan Cruz /The Poly Post

DJ Pheel It

DJ Camel

Jonathan Cruz / The Poly Post

DJ Camel

DJ Rhythmyx

Jonathan Cruz / The Poly Post

DJ Rhythmyx

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