You wouldn’t think a freshman would be able to juggle classes, a new social life and a budding career as a disc jockey, but Aaron Scherf handles himself quite well. Shuffling between gigs in Atlanta, downtown Macon and Mercer Radio keeps Aaron on his toes and gives him quite a bit to talk about.
I sat down with him in the Plunkett base- ment to watch a highly competitive match of ping-pong and talk music.
The Cluster: So when did you start making music?
Aaron Scherf: Well I started, like most people, playing instruments. But I didn’t re- ally go anywhere with that. So I had all this musical urge, and I love music – finding new music and playing with it – but I never really got into music until I started throwing par- ties. At this point, my buddy would come over claiming to be a DJ. He’d get up there and just play a ton of Skrillex, and I was like “I can do better than that.”
C: What does your playlist sound like?
AS: Most of what I do is live mixes for like parties and things, and that’s what I en- joy more. The feelings and vibes that you get from responding to the crowd are what I live for. I’ll create a set, which is maybe 10-30 songs, and I manipulate that from the stage. I don’t like just having a prerecorded “play this and have a party” type of play-list because you have to respond to the energy level of the crowd. You have to respond to who’s there and what kind of dancing is go- ing on. All of it comes together.
C: What about dancing? Have you mastered your DJ dance?
AS: Everybody has their own little quirks with that, and a lot of it is about energy. So if I am up there and the music is pumping and going at it, people are seeing me and thinking, “Man that guy’s in it. I wanna be in it like him.” So I try to bring the energy, and lots of it. The other great tool for that is a mike because then you can call out to everybody or even give them instructions; whether it’s as simple as a “hands in the air” kind of thing or more complex stuff. But as far as dancing goes, it’s about the energy, and if you’re up there just trying to look cool… that’s just not what it’s about.
C: So how would you describe your work to someone who has never done it before or has never seen a real DJ in action?
AS: Well, to me, the art of DJ’ing
is just knowing music, current
music, really well and understand-
ing enough about the theory to make poten- tially different, or even opposing music, go well together. Like a bartender, but for music. I would describe it as a music expert [who] happens to have a DJ kit-set. It’s all about making the people happy though – I have my music, that I’ve discovered, but when I’m up there my goal is to just play something people love, personalize it, but remembering to keep the crowd happy.
C: So if you were to give advice to a person who wants to be a DJ, what would it be? And where would you send them – the inter-
net? A specific person or place?
AS: The first piece of advice would be [that] it’s not as difficult as people say it is, because half of what DJ’s do is try to make their job look difficult so people think they need them. I can’t tell you how many times someone has hired me, and they don’t really need me. It’s like a 16-year-old girl’s birth- day party. You don’t need a DJ. You need an iPod and a shuffle button…But my ad- vice for people who want to get into it: just go online, onto some of the tutorial sites, and start looking at the types of programs.
My personal recommendation is ‘Virtual DJ’ because it’s free, it’s a good tool and it has every- thing you need to start out. Other than that, just find people who are interested in you, because if you’re trying to go it alone, it is a lot more difficult than with your buddies. So find other people who like it, and get together.
C: You said you’re doing some work downtown, right?
AS: Yeah, I’m at Envy on Thursday nights. I’ll be trying to do a more electronic feel, so I’m starting out with Trap Thursdays, which is part of their Thirsty Thursdays special. There’s also Mercer Radio, which we’re try- ing to revamp…I’ll be playing on Thursdays around five o’clock. Mercer Radio has a website, they have a Facebook page, check it out. I’ll also be doing some stuff around the school once I breach those circles because, with all the parties around campus, there is
definitely a market for it. Lots of opportu- nity, I’ve just got to get my name out there.
All the advances in the musical universe have initiated more creating and manipulat- ing of music than ever before. With every artist available instantly at your fingertips, the possibilities for exploration, experimen- tation and creativity are boundless. Jobs like Scherf’s are advancing and becoming more exciting every day! And if you see Scherf around campus, consider saying hi – It’s always good to know a DJ.