VD Collective is a group of student DJs who play events on campus and around Bloomington. This year, five of its members will be performing at Culture Shock on April 20.
The five DJs who will be spinning between sets are Aswin Sivaraman, Kyle Moore, Zachary Thielemann, Marc Levitan and Connor Cochrane. The Indiana Daily Student sat down to talk to them about DJing and their upcoming Culture Shock gigs.
IDS: So you guys are the five DJs who are DJing at Culture Shock?
Sivaraman: As part of VD Collective. That’s the name we’ve — at the moment — agreed on.
How many people are part of VD Collective?
Thielemann: Seven or eight, I’d say.
Sivaraman: So it’s basically the external name of Event DJ which is part of WIUX. Event DJ is a subgroup within WIUX which is like, DJs for hire. So we do gigs around campus and around town for frats, student groups, things like that.
Thielemann: Every year or so the Event DJ team gets a new group of people, so they have to reinvent themselves as their own kind of clique. So VD Collective is our take on that. We try to create our own artistic style, our own brand.
What does VD Collective mean?
Moore: VD Collective means Village Deli Collective. We’ve been going to Village Deli for a while now. It’s where we meet on Saturdays just to refresh.
Cochrane: When we first started taking the committee seriously, we would have events to play for Friday night for the university, so we’d be out super late. And in the morning on Saturday, we would all consistently go to Village Deli, and that’s where we got to go from acquaintances to close friends.
What have you guys enjoyed about collaborating with this particular group of DJs?
Levitan: The thing I like the most about this particular group of people is that we all kind of have similar music tastes, but it’s different enough so that we’re not all playing the same tracks that each other is playing.
Sivaraman: We find each other jokingly stealing each other’s rares or being like, “Woah, that’s a weird mix.”
Sorry, you said stealing each other’s what?
Sivaraman: Rares! So a rare is like a unique song somebody will throw in that nobody else would, it’s a rare.
Thielemann: It’s like a song with no plays on Spotify, a song you like that nobody else has heard before.
Cochrane: What DJs used to do, they would literally black out the label on records so no one could look over their shoulder and see what they were playing.
So, I won’t ask what rares you guys will play at Culture Shock, but what can fans expect to hear?
Thielemann: Anyone’s who attended a Culture Shock previously kind of has an idea of what we’re going to be doing. So basically in between acts, we play sets on a side stage. A community that isn’t normally united on campus can get behind it and listen to really weird music.
Do you guys all have DJ names?
Sivaraman: All these big Swedish DJs always do some weird font typography thing. So I jokingly called myself Λswin for fun.
Moore: [VD Collective] calls me Tall Kyle, but my SoundCloud is Kyle Ranger.
Thielemann: I was flirting with the name DJ Cancel for a while. I just release music on SoundCloud under my normal name.
Levitan: My DJ name is Skip Nasty.
Cochrane: I just go by my name.
Sivaraman: Connor Cochrane is nice, it has that alliteration.
Anything else you’d like to say about DJing, VD Collective or Culture Shock?
Sivaraman: Definitely come out to Culture Shock. It’s our first time performing as VD Collective, formally as a brand, as an aesthetic.
Cochrane: If you’ve ever been interested in playing music, but you didn’t know how to play guitar for example, your options to play music are limited with that instrument. What DJing does is being able to bring music to crowds without having to limit yourself.
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