Athens DJ Showcase Accepting Mixes Through Oct. 14< < Back to
The Athens DJ Showcase at The Union gives aspiring DJs a chance to break into the local music scene. There, they can join a community that strives to support one another in an area that may see limited opportunities to perform.
Brandon Thompson, also known as DJ B-Funk, started organizing the showcase a few years ago in an effort to give bedroom DJs, or people who have never played on stage, a chance to share their work and learn from their peers.
“When I started DJing, there wasn’t anything like it,” Thompson said. “You DJed and then tried to get into a bar or something. We were scattered, so I thought it would be cool to get people together and get the DJ community more connected.”
DJ’s in the area can submit a mix to Thompson, and based on the submissions, he will chose 10 DJs to play at the showcase. He says he receives many EDM (Electronic Dance Music) submissions, but he is open to any genre.
“I don’t look for anything other than competency, something new and interesting,” Thompson said. “I look for something that I think would translate well onto the stage. I try to find something that’s unique.”
Thompson said he also looks for creativity and growth in a mix. Technology has made it easier to mix music, so DJs needs to bring something new to the table.
“Has this person played before, has their sound evolved, does it seem like they’re really trying something?” Thompson said. “If you’re just laying songs down in a row…Does it really pull me in?”
Thompson also stresses that effort is more important than experience. Mixes do not need to be perfect, they just need to show potential.
“If somebody is just starting out, maybe the mix isn’t as great, but the ideas behind it are really good,” Thompson said. “I’ll bring that person in to meet other DJs so their sound can grow.”
He added that female DJs are strongly encouraged to submit a mix. Although only a few have applied for the showcase, he said it’s a larger number than in recent years. When he began DJing, there were no female DJs at all.
The Athens DJ community, unlike in big cities or other college towns, does its best to stay connected, sharing equipment and communicating through group messages. Since Athens has limited DJing venues compared to larger cities, DJs here try to stay on top of the party scene and give everyone a chance to play.
“We don’t have a club here, so there’s some venues and some dance parties, there’s the bars, but not like Columbus and these larger cities,” Thompson said. “So, when a party springs up, we kind of work together.”
For emerging DJs, the showcase plays a large part in making the initial connections with others in the community. It’s not uncommon for those connections to last, either—Thompson says he is still friends with many DJs who did the showcase is past years and still attends their shows.
“In a lot of cities like Columbus, it’s really cutthroat,” Thompson said. “People try to undercut each other. Here, people try to push each other up.”
The DJ Showcase will take place on October 18 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. at The Union. You must be 18 to enter, and there is a $3 fee for anyone under 21. For more information about submitting mixes, see the event’s Facebook page. Mixes are due by Sunday, October 14.