Two students at the University of South Dakota are finding ways to express their creativity through the musical style of disc jockeying.
Brian Drapeaux, fourth-year student, and Junior Bobby Horton each performed their first gig a couple of weekends ago for a benefit at Maya Jane’s.
The two USD students are both being promoted by Phresh Measure Promotions, a local music promotion company which promotes all of the concerts and music for Maya Jane’s.
The concert benefited the Vermillion food drive while Drapeaux and Horton were able to promote their disc jockey skills.
Drapeaux said he and Horton went into it to have fun.
“People actually showed up and had a good time,” Drapeaux said. “Enough people ended up showing up that I got paid for it. And the show was so much fun.”
Jason Peterson, 28, who owns the Phresh Measure Promotions music company, has been a promoter for Maya Jane’s since 2006.
“I promote all the music played at Maya Jane’s,” Peterson said. “I’m also open to fundraisers if anybody contacts me because I have so many musical outlets.”
Peterson said he decided to give Drapeaux and Horton a show because he thought the fundraiser was a good opportunity.
“I had this food drive and they hadn’t played a show and so I said they could do it if they didn’t mind doing it for free,” Peterson said.
The benefit show at Maya Jone’s was the first public performance for both Horton and Drapeaux.
“We got a pretty good reception from the crowd at the gig,” Horton said.
Though the two have similar interests, their background stories differ.
Horton has worked at the art of disc jockeying since 2009, when he moved to South Dakota from Washington, D.C.
“Before I moved to South Dakota I figured since I wouldn’t be having that much to do, I went and bought a computer program and a mixing board that plugs into my computer,” Horton said.
Horton said he didn’t know anybody at USD at first so he spent his time learning the basics of disc jockeying.
“In that year I also started listening to more electronic-based music and getting into that,” Horton said.
Horton said his disc jockeying was mostly done at home as a hobby.
“I was sort of the only person I knew that was into that kind of thing,” Horton said.
Horton started listening to different types of music so that he was able to play anything to make people happy.
“I spend a lot of my free time researching music and looking for new music to play,” Horton said. “The more I look and do, the more there is to find out.”
Horton said he simply gets personal satisfaction from disc jockeying.
“It’s one of those hobbies where you can just turn on the music and zone out for a few hours,” Horton said.
Horton said disc jockeying started out as someting to pass the time, but has become serious to him.
“I want to try and be prepared but it’s nice because I can still have a ton of fun while ‘working,’” Horton said.
Horton said he hopes to make more of a career out of disc jockeying. “I’m sort of putting myself at a disadvantage because I try to push more of an underground sound than the music that is more popular,” Horton said.
Horton said he would like to invest more time and money into his disc jockeying future.
“Hopefully by the end of the year, I will have finished a couple of songs to send off to record labels,” Horton said.
Horton said he wants to extend his music widely.
“I want to travel the world sharing music and having fun sharing my knowledge with people who are interested,” Horton said.
Drapeaux said electronic dance music and hip-hop influence his disc jockeying style.
“I just feel like I have pretty interesting taste in music and disc jockeying is how I can share it with people around here,” Drapeaux said.
Drapeaux said he really started to want to disc jockey three months ago.
“I’ve always liked messing around and doing some parties just for fun,” he said. “I bought some equipment and just went from there.”
Drapeaux said at this point disc jockeying is a hobby.
“It’s something I have a deep passion for and I eventually want to start producing music but I don’t have the money and resources so I just play around with other people’s music.” Drapeaux said he has always wanted to share his music.
“I have friends that actually produce music and I haven’t gotten to that point yet, but I intend to,” he said.
After their benefit performance Drapeaux and Horton both landed another gig. Horton will be performing again at Maya Jane’s March 31 while Drapeaux will perform again April 20 at Maya Jane’s.
Reach reporter Payton Randle at Payton.Randle@usd.edu