Student by day, DJ by night
February 27, 2017
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“Turntables are instruments,” stated Raul Villalobos IV.
As a music major, one of the requirements at Western is to audition. Villalobos didn’t know exactly as a music minor if he had to audition in order to be part of the School of Music. He told himself that if he did have toaudition, he’d just bring in his turntables. Raul Villalobos IV by day is a junior who is studying radio broadcasting as his major and music business as his minor. By night, however, he becomes DJ RECKLESS.
Born and raised in Waukegan, Illinois, Villalobos was trying to find his calling in life. He knew it revolved around music, but didn’t know exactly what in music. It wasn’t until 2009, when his parents bought him DJ Hero on the Nintendo Wii that he realized he wanted to be a DJ in the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) genre.
“I loved the graphics and the customization in the game,” Villalobos said. “I really enjoyed Teisto and Deadmau5.Specifically, Deadmau5’s song ‘I Remember.’”
Currently Villalobos said that one of his favorite DJs and idols is 3LAU. Justin Blau, aka: 3LAU, is a 24-year-old DJ who turned down working for Wall Street to be a part of music. Villalobos and LAU have a lot in common in terms on how they view their musical careers. In the interview, Villalobos said that he makes music for the love of it, not for the money.
“I don’t want to be famous,I just want to inspire people,” Villalobos said.
3LAU also does not DJ for the fame, but rather to give back. 3LAU owns a non-profit record label. For each purchase he receives, that money goes back to schools and communities.
To those who aren’t familiar with EDM, it stands for Electronic Dance Music. On Urban Dictionary, EDM is defined as “popular music intended for dancing to in clubs, typically having a repetitive beat and a synthesized backing track.” Some musicologists believe that EDM began in the 70s during the disco age and continued to grow throughout the years. Most people know of EDM now through events such as raves, nightclubs and festivals. Some popular EDM musicians are: Daft Punk, Skrillex, Zedd, Calvin Harris and Afrojack.
After saving money fromholidays and birthdays, Villalobosdecided it was time to buy some equipment. He beganwith turntables. As time moved forward, he started collecting more items to help with his DJ career. His first performance was at the age of 13 in 2010.
“I was performing for a high school graduation,” Villalobos said. “It wasn’t the best gig. There wasn’t that much money involved.”
When the performance was over the first thing he said to his mom was that he needed more practice.
“Every day I’d go to school then come home and practice,” Villalobos said. “At times I forgot to do my schoolwork.”
Villalobos focuses his material on uniqueness and differences. He likes to mix different genres into his style including: rap, hip hop, Latin and pop. He has tried mixing countrywith EDM and just couldn’t find a good combination. For fans out there, there is still hope he’ll find a country song that has some pop in it that he can mix.
“To me, it’s about the lyrics and beats. If they both can come together, then it makes the piece more enticing,” said Villalobos.
Seven years into the DJ industryand Villalobos has made quite a name for himself. His work can be heard on most social media websites, including Sound Cloud, Mixcloud, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.Last December he was ableto travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico to perform.
“It made me speechless,” Villalobos said. “I never had seen such a mixture of different diversities.”
He currently plays at nightclubs pff campus and would like to one day perform at festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra Music Festival and Tomorrowland.
Villalobos sees himselfmaintaining his DJ persona in some way once he graduates from college. His dream job is not only to be a performer himself, but to be a manager helping other musicians find their calling and figuring out where togo from there. He’d also like to give back to the community and teach future DJs how to get into the industry. He hopes that his music can make a difference.
When concluding the interview, he also brought up how important it is for people to be involved in the EDM movement whether as a fan or an inspiring musician. He recommends that newer fans of the EDM genre experience them live at festivals or nightclubs.
“EDM is everywhere when you listen to the radio, watch TV and in TV commercials,” Villalobos said. “Our generation of music fans today is shifting their musical tastes from hip-hop/rap music to the electronic sounds of house, trap, trance, dubstep and all the other sub-genres that fall under the EDM genre.”
He also said the best way for newer DJs to get their music out there is through social media, and that they should make sure to contact market labels, because you never know what could happen unless you try.
Villalobos will be performing on May 5 at the Ritz. It will be sponsored by the Music Business Association, which he is a part of. Until then, fans can hear him DJ at the school’s radio station 88.3 The Dog on Sundays from 7-8 p.m.