Clarkie of the Week: Stuart Spivak

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Stuart Spivak

Stuart Spivak

Stuart Spivak is a First Year at Clark from Manhattan who plans to major in Management. He has a large presence on campus as one of Clark’s main DJs and has made a name for himself at local Worcester venues as well. I interviewed Stuart about his interest in DJing and electronic dance music (EDM).

Scarlet: What is your role as a DJ on campus?

Stuart: As a DJ on campus my role is basically to promote electronic dance music and really set a vibe for kids to enjoy it. EDM is still growing, so my role as a DJ is basic promotion of the music, picking songs that everybody’s going to love and jump and dance to. It’s finding those songs that have the right melody for the crowd you’re playing for.

Scarlet: What events have you DJed both at Clark and off campus, and which ones will you be DJing in the future?

Stuart: I headlined Sexfest: The Morning After Party. That was a blast, everybody enjoyed it. Off campus I do events for Throwed as well on Fridays at Rumors (formerly Club Universe). I played a couple times at the Middle East in Cambridge. In terms of the future, for me personally DJing is just the first step of the whole music industry. I’m beginning to produce [my own stuff] now, so basically the future is just produce, produce, produce and DJ on the side.

Scarlet: Is the stuff you’re producing mostly EDM?

Stuart: Yes, it’s all progressive house. [Progressive house music is a subgenre of EDM.]

Scarlet: What is the Electric Grind event that you do every week?

Stuart: The Electric Grind is part of a club that [fellow DJ] Franklin Feingold and I started called Clark EDM. The whole premise of the group is not only to promote electronic dance music, but also to keep kids on campus and stop going to stupid parties and stuff. Because you know what, at the end of the day people are going to want to go dancing. We provide these events in the Grind that are like mini Euphorias (because of the music that we all play), and it’s just good to go to them, especially because we don’t all play the same music. Right now I’m doing trap and dubstep, and Franklin is doing electronic trance, and the third guy, Arya Akram, is doing tribal. [These are all subgenres of EDM.]

Scarlet: How did you first get into DJing, and how old were you?

Stuart: I got into DJing two years ago. It started off at my high school where I met two of my friends, Evan and Christian. Christian’s dad worked in the music industry, so he had access to CDJs, which are multimedia players made by Pioneer (Pioneer is the elite brand of everything in the DJ world. If you go to really fancy clubs you’re only going to see Pioneer equipment). I started out on a computer software called Virtual DJ at my house, because I didn’t have anything like what Christian had. I basically started snooping around the Internet, finding these good tracks – you want to find songs that have upbeat melodies and dirty baselines and stuff like that – so that’s what I started looking for. Then on the computer software I would make some [mixes] for my own purposes. Then Evan bought a DJ controller, which is basically an all-in-one DJ set-up that hooks up to a computer with a USB interface. We started doing house parties with that [controller], so over the past few years it’s mostly been house parties. But towards the end of high school I bought my own controller made by Pioneer, which I used for six months, and then I went and bought my own CDJs. So now I just play off those.

Scarlet: How did you get to be a DJ at Clark as a First Year?

Stuart: I came in as freshman DJ who had experience and knew what I was doing. The problem with this industry is that everyone’s cocky. So if you come in with the attitude that everybody’s equal, you’re going to get somewhere. If you come in being cocky about it nobody’s going to like you and nobody’s going to want to work with you. To get up to where I am now I just started hanging out with people, getting to know people, having my face around. Just by that you thrive off each other. At Clark I got connected [to DJing] via Franklin Feingold, who’s a sophomore. I spoke with him a little bit over the summer, then I got here and we connected, and then from there I met the other DJs here – Arya and A-Smooth. The way I got connected to Sexfest was when A-Smooth shot me a message on Facebook asking for one of my mixes. I gave him a mix on my SoundCloud (SoundCloud is a place where you can store tracks online that are readily available to anyone) and he hit me up like two days later and gave me the spot. We killed it at Sexfest; it was a lot of fun.

Scarlet: What do you like so much about DJing? Do you have a favorite part?
Stuart: My favorite part is the vibe and the crowd. To me there’s no better feeling than standing at a podium in front of X amount of people and everyone’s enjoying their time just because you’re providing them that excitement and enjoyment and energy. That’s what fuels me. It’s like how a politician gets excitement from talking to people, I get excitement from playing wild music that everybody enjoys.

Scarlet: Do you like to listen to EDM as well?

Stuart: Yeah. My entire iTunes library is only electronic dance music, there’s nothing else in it. When I was younger I actually used to listen to Cat Stevens and Nickelback and stuff like that. But when Daft Punk came out with their release “One More Time”, that’s when I started listening to EDM. That was in 2008, so I’ve been listening to it for quite a while.

Scarlet: Are you inspired by what you listen to?

Stuart: Absolutely. In the producing world, a beginner producer is going to produce his track based off a model track which is probably one of his favorites. He’s going to kind-of replicate it but in a different way.

Scarlet: Do you want to pursue DJing as a career?

Stuart: The DJing music industry is a little weird because but you’re not going to succeed in the music world if you’re just a DJ. You have to produce. And it can take up to four or five years [to get noticed]. My idol EDM artist is Axwell, who’s part of the Swedish House Mafia. He was producing his own beats in Sweden for four years, and it took him that long to get noticed. But you know there are always side jobs. If I don’t continue this I’ll probably go into the five-star hotel industry. I do want to stay in the entertainment business.

Scarlet: What else do you like to do? Any other hobbies?
Stuart: When it’s warm I like to go on bike rides a lot. My dad and I usually bike up and down the Hudson River three or four times in one day. I’d say in the summer that’s my favorite activity.

Scarlet: Is there anything else you want to add?

Stuart: Well a lot of people think of electronic music as just loud, banging dubstep. But that’s not what I listen to; I listen to more melodic, progressive beats. The most successful tracks are the ones that are the most simple. And that’s key. Just have a simple track that everyone can enjoy. Also, if people want to explore really good electronic dance music they should go to beatport.com. That’s where I get a lot of my songs from.

Like Stuart’s Facebook page, “Stuart Spivak.”

Thanks for the interview!