New DeKalb DJ is in the mix

By Alex Fiore

DeKALB | There’s a new face and pair of headphones in the DeKalb DJ scene.

Matthias Mehrpuyan, senior industrial and systems engineering major, is one of the newest DJs in DeKalb and is performing at 10 p.m. Saturday at Starbusters, 930 Pappas Drive Suite D.

Mehrpuyan, who is also a member of NIU fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon, began DJing about a year ago, but has been interested in the craft for a long time.

“I’ve always been into the electronica scene since I was a little kid,” Mehrpuyan said. “My dad bought me a Tiësto album when I was really little.”

Mehrpuyan said his parents’ desire to have him play music pushed him toward DJing.

“I took piano lessons because my parents made me before I could buy a keyboard,” he said. “It led to this, and now I’m even producing my own music.”

Performing under the name “DJ Matthias,” Mehrpuyan gained experience as a resident DJ at Starbusters, but also performed at Chicago nightclubs like Fuze and the MID. Mehrpuyan said he enjoys performing in DeKalb the most.

“The crowd is a lot cooler here,” he said. “I know everyone, and it’s all friends.”

Mehrpuyan said his act can be based off audience reaction.

“The music I play depends on how the crowd is,” he said. “If the crowd is just crazy, I’ll play some heavy electro or dubstep just to get the crowd going. If it’s chill, I’ll play Top 40 or some hip-hop mashups. It just depends on the crowd.”

Mehrpuyan made a name for himself opening for Lucky Date and Deadmau5 collaborator Sofi at Starbusters.

Mehrpuyan found himself influenced by other DJs, including Kyle Armour and Pretty Lights, who performs at the Convocation Center on Oct. 6.

“I saw [Pretty Lights] on New Year’s Eve, and that was just ridiculous,” he said. “He’ll play other stuff during his concerts that will really get the crowd going. The stuff he releases … is more chill.”

Mehrpuyan believes he has seen the nature of being a DJ change in the recent past.

“DJing really isn’t about how well you can play music these days,” he said. “It’s more how well you can network and bring them business. They’ll hire people who are way worse than you are who can fill it in.”

Mehrpuyan also said DJs are becoming more integrated into pop music.

“It’s slowly turning more toward the electronic scene and dance music,” he said. “Everything you hear on the radio now is featuring David Guetta or Calvin Harris, Afrojack even. Stuff you never even would’ve heard of a year ago.”

Mehrpuyan has considered pursuing DJing full-time after graduation.

“I want to take school seriously, and I like what I do,” he said. “At the same time, my buddy and I have blown up so much in the past year that we’re considering taking all our time once I graduate and holding off on a job for a little while and seeing how far I can make it.”