Mayfest organizer talks Battle of the DJs, diversifying Dillo Day

ANDREA MICHELSON: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Andrea Michelson. Thanks for tuning in. Last Thursday, I went to Battle of the DJs to hear six of Northwestern’s student DJs perform at Evanston Rocks. The event saw a major turnout — I’m talking mosh pit-level crowded. But I was curious about how exactly Mayfest Productions — the organization behind Dillo Day, Battle of the DJs, Battle of the Bands and more — chooses which student artists get to battle it out for a spot at Northwestern’s annual music festival.

JAKE MONTGOMERY: We sort of like, score them and talk about them based off technique, in terms of DJing and transitioning.

MICHELSON: This is Jake Montgomery, a Weinberg sophomore and member of the Mayfest programming committee.

MONTGOMERY: We talk about how well it represents the Northwestern community as a whole. We don’t want like, six of the same artists, we want to take into account that there’s a diverse range of music tastes, there’s a diverse range of backgrounds. And you know, everyone is going to want to listen to a different type of music and we want to make sure that we’re trying to represent all those varying styles and tastes.

MICHELSON: Montgomery said he co-organized this year’s Battle of the DJs with Weinberg junior Yulan Chen. Together, they picked the venue and sent out applications for student DJs in mid-March.

MONTGOMERY: We wanted to give students a couple weeks at the end of Winter Quarter if they had time to apply, and then for Spring Break, because our application consists of what kind of music they play, what sort of genres they prefer to play. And then also they have to send in a 20 minute mix. So you know, that can take a lot of time for students who might not necessarily have the equipment at their disposal, and have to borrow other people’s or figure out other ways. So we want to give them as much time to sort of get prepared.

MICHELSON: Montgomery said applications closed in mid-April, and then the programming committee gathered for a listening party. He also said 22 DJs applied, so the committee faced some tough choices.

MONTGOMERY: We also take into account crowd participation. Do we think that a crowd is going to be engaged? Are they going to want to stay for the entire act? Are they going to be dancing? Are they going to be engaged with the DJ?

MICHELSON: Ultimately, Communication junior Caroline Hughes, who goes by the stage name Luminosity, was able to get the crowd going.

MONTGOMERY: We’re really excited for her to perform. Her set really got the crowd engaged at Thursday’s event. She plays a lot more of trap and EDM, similar to sort of last year’s winner EJ3, and also like professional DJs that we’ve had in the past like TOKiMONSTA and Gramatik.

MONTGOMERY: Especially always trying to diversify Dillo Day as a lineup, her being a female DJ — that’s not something that you see very often, especially in the music industry. Electronic music has always been kind of like a boys’ club. And especially the cliche DJ would be a white kid with a backwards snapback. But we’re super excited that we’ve had Tokimonsta last year and now the student DJ is also a female artist. We’re always trying to diversify based off different genres, different genders, and try to reach and branch out to everyone in the Northwestern community.

MICHELSON: If you like what you’re hearing, you can check out Luminosity’s set at Dillo Day on June 1. Thanks for listening. And thanks so much to Melanie De Vincentiis for producing this podcast. This has been Andrea Michelson, and I’ll see you next time.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @amichelson18

Email: [email protected]

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