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Monday, December 11, 2023
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

"Hey, Mister (Aspiring) DJ "

The floor of the basement is sticky from beer and the black lights – intended to create a club-like vibe – illuminate two cobwebbed laundry machines positioned against a far wall.

It's no ritzy nightclub, but to Zachary Goldstein, a freshman history major, it may as well be Madison Square Garden.

Each night in the basement he makes his debut as a DJ, and though he is working for free, he has every intention of bringing down the (frat) house.

Goldstein is not the only person whose interest in music – specifically, electronic music – has inspired him to give turntables a try. The techno genre is becoming increasingly popular, and as a result many students across the country are looking to emulate their favorite artists and become DJs themselves.

Earlier this month, Goldstein posted flyers around campus advertising the fact he worked for free.

"I just love doing it…I don't feel right asking for money to do something that is fun to me," Goldstein said. "I figure if people see it as a problem, and they just want go party instead of being in charge of music, just let me take over."

While many tend to let financial benefit dictate the activities they devote themselves to, Goldstein is not yet concerned with fame or fortune. He acknowledges that he is still a beginner and has much left to learn and is careful not to get ahead of himself.

Instead of focusing his efforts on being recognized and making money, he is happy just to have the opportunity to DJ parties for various UB students, and he criticizes the "elitists" who look down on DJs for petty reasons.

"Some people are like: ‘oh, top 40 music is such crap. I hate that I have to play it,'" Goldstein said. "But I'm just like…you're not supposed to be DJing for you; you're supposed to be making the crowd happy. And honestly that should be what's the most fun about it."

Andrew Pawluk, a junior media studies major, attributes his love for dance music to the friends who introduced him to it when he started college. Since then, he has met a lot of people through his experiences DJing under the name DJ Slappie.

"A lot of my good friends DJ, and it's nice to have people to test out new music on," Pawluk said. "I've definitely met some cool DJs so far. Dance music is really blowing up in the Buffalo area."

Pawluk, along with a few other UB students, recently performed as part of an event called Decibel at a local club named The Forvm. The event is run through a company called After Dark Entertainment and is described as: "a monthly party featuring the best in dubstep, house, moombahton, drum 'n' bass, and more."

Though the club itself is not as big as some of the clubs that downtown Buffalo has to offer, Pawluk was pleased with the turnout and looks forward to performing at the next Decibel.

Junior sociology major Harris Rosado has made a name for himself during his time at UB as "Rosado DJ." He has also performed at Decibel, but he is no stranger to live performances, as he's already performed at festivals and clubs in New York City. His first paid performance was right here in Buffalo.

"First time I got paid to DJ was at Northside, and it was really cool," Rosado said. "I still hold down my weekly gig there on Saturday nights, and they love me and I love them. They were the first ones to put me on."

Rosado is featured as an affiliated artist on the blog "Vinyl Penetration," which focuses on electronic music of all sorts. He and Vinyl Penetration began around the same time, and after "badgering his friends with shameless self-promotion," he felt justification when he was approached by the blog staff and asked if he'd like to be affiliated.

According to Rosado, Internet blogs are to electronic music as underground clubs were to the '80s punk scene. They provide a place for aspiring DJs and producers to gain exposure, whether they're posting their own songs and mixes or being featured by specific blogs.

In addition to mixing famous songs and creating mash-ups, Rosado also produces his own electronic music from scratch. He incorporates other instruments with the electronic sounds.

Looking forward, Rosado hopes that his work as a producer, which is his preferred title instead of "DJ," will differentiate him from the dozens of aspiring DJs that in his opinion don't always deserve the credit they receive. He believes that too many people are being hired to perform for the wrong reasons, like the amount of business they will bring in.

"[At some places] you can play the hokey pokey all night and be the worst DJ in the world, but if you bring out 100 people, the club will hire you again," Rosado said. "I try to be nice about it and just mark my own territory by performing as best as I can and letting my actions speak for me. I'd rather under-promise and over-deliver."

Whether they're determined to perform in front of thousands or simply to play one night a week in a friend's basement, many of today's aspiring DJs are happy just to put their own spin on the music that they enjoy.




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