Hey Mister DJ, put a record on

By Kelly Johnson

DeKalb isn’t known for its crazy club scene.

Starbusters Bar & Grill, 930 Pappas Drive, and Otto’s Niteclub, 118 E. Lincoln Highway, lean more toward the live-music side of bar entertainment. Fatty’s, 1312 W. Lincoln Highway and Molly’s, 1022 W. Lincoln Highway, generally employ a relaxed atmosphere for patrons.

Most people are content enough with throwing a few back before engaging in a rousing sing-a-long of Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me” at the end of the night.

For some aspiring disc jockeys though, DeKalb has provided a kind of foundation on which to perform mixes of hip-hop, house and club music aimed at residents interested in dancing the night away.

“Out here you have a younger and older bar crowd,” said Chris Pisarsky, senior business administration major, who performs at Bar One, 1000 W. Lincoln Highway, under the name DJ Prodigy every Friday night. “People come to a club for different kinds of music.”

Pisarsky spices up the DeKalb nightlife with mixes ranging from hip-hop to vocal trance. For him, Bar One has provided a jumpstart into a hopeful DJ career.

“The DJ thing started as a hobby when I was going to the teenie clubs back in Chicago like Zero Gravity,” said Pisarsky. “Eventually I bought some turntables and started doing house parties. When I got to DeKalb I got some good feedback, and my popularity has grown exponentially.”

Zero Gravity also inspired Kevin Noun, junior marketing major. As DJ Vizion, Noun started performing at Bar One about a month ago every Saturday night.

“DeKalb is definitely not a bad place to start as a DJ,” said Noun. “It gives you experience of what the city is like.”

According to Noun, most of the Bar One crowd starts trickling in around 12:00 and 12:30 each night. After getting a chance to relax at more “chill” bars like Starbusters and Molly’s, the crowd is ready to move.

According to Pisarsky, most bars already have pre-planned mixes to play for the night. Disc jockeys at Bar One mix all the songs live for the crowds.

“The other places have DJs, but they aren’t really skilled. They’re more like wedding DJs,” said Noun. “After a few drinks with friends at a more chilled place, the people that come in are ready to dance.”

Indeed, the patrons at Bar One come ready to shake it. Pisarsky and Noun both mix genres ranging from euro, hip-hop, hard style and house to get the crowd moving. Full freedom is granted to the songs they want to spin, but like the other bars in town, they need to mix in some popular crowd favorites.

“I threw on hip-hop the other night and the crowd wasn’t moving at all, but then I threw on some club and the place went nuts,” said Pisarsky. “I mix in my own style and choices, but if there is a song that gets the crowd moving I’ll play it.”

The bar DJ may not exactly compose the songs blasting in the clubs, but the selection and style of music each represents the expression of individuality for a DJ.

“You have to have a passion and love for music to do this,” said Noun.