The Rat behind the Turntable
By Jordan Kunkel
When walking through the third floor of Campion Hall at Loyola University Chicago, you can often hear Camden Stacey DJing using the equipment set up on the desk in his room. Stacey, a freshman Information Systems major at Loyola, DJs and produces music under the brand name of SnapRat. He plays at both smaller parties and larger gigs, and recently opened for Jason Derulo at Loyola’s Colossus concert.
Where it all began:
Stacey started DJing and producing music his freshman year of high school. Stacey credits his cousin with introducing him to electronic music, the genre that inspired Stacey to try DJing.
Flash ahead four years:
Beginning his freshman year at Loyola, Stacey joined EDMA, the Electronic Dance Music Appreciation club on campus. Early September, he DJed at an EDMA show, helping to raise interest in SnapRat on campus
“That [show] was fun—people really seemed to like what I was doing,” Stacey said.
Stacey also started merchandizing SnapRat by giving t-shirts to his friends and audience members at gigs.
When playing a gig, Stacey tailors some of his music to the audience, dropping songs relevant to party themes, etc. At the Jason Derulo concert, Stacey DJed more pop and dance music. Stacey, however, does not DJ only to please an audience.
“DJs like to say, ‘play half for the audience and half for yourself,’ because you’re supposed to be a taste-maker,” Stacey said.
Stacey said that the most difficult part of playing in a live setting is dealing with the “haters—people who don’t like what you’re doing.” When Djing live, Stacey has dealt with people who make long lists of requests (“they thought I was going to read that for some reason,” Stacey said), and also with rude Yik Yaks.
Standing out from the crowd (of DJs and music producers):
In the end, Stacey focuses on staying true to his taste in music.
“I do my own thing. A lot of people ask, ‘Oh, do you have playlists that you pre-arrange?’ No, I just show people what I listen to. DJing is all about, ‘hey, listen to this song—it’s really cool’ as much as, ‘hey, remember this song?’” Stacey said.
Advice for aspiring DJs:
Stacey gave three tips for those interested in Djing and producing music.
- Research equipment and software. “There are a lot of free resources for sound bites and plug-ins,” Stacey said.
- Watch videos. There are many easy to understand videos on how to mix music and how to produce and record music. “Usually you want to start off with mixing, the DJing portion, before you move on to producing and actually recording music,” Stacey said.
- Lastly, find a mentor with DJ and production experience who is “open and willing to give more advice … even if it’s not an exclusive jedi-master.”
Future of SnapRat:
Although, currently, DJing and producing music is a hobby, Stacey prefers to call it “a passion that could turn into a career someday.” Stacey thinks he could apply his business degree to his music, eventually working for a music or event-promotion company.
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