Grade 11 student Tom Zheng has certainly made an impression at SMUS in his first year here, as he has DJed at many events, from dances to the Grad Fashion Show. The Vancouver boarder, who is also known as DJ Legit, brought his turntable and music collection with him to SMUS and has been keeping students on their feet since September.
When did you first start DJing? How did you get into it?
I started to DJ when I was in Grade 9. My uncle was a part-time Techno DJ and he introduced me into it by accident. I was following him to his DJing lesson one day and realized countless ladies were looking at him in awe. So I decided to give it a try, and almost immediately I fell in love with it!
What events have you DJed this year? What were the highlights of your year as DJ?
I have DJed for three SMUS dances, two St. Margaret’s dances, and many parties here and there. The best gig I’ve done so far was my first SMUS dance. At first I was so nervous – if the party people don’t like the music I play, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I won’t see them ever again – however, if I do a bad job for this one, I would have to face the angry crowd on a daily basis! Fortunately, the crowd was absolutely amazing and the party was off the hook! Not to mention I blew the circuit twice… shouldn’t have plugged the speakers and the lights into one outlet – haha.
What do you like most about DJing?
As lame as it sounds, DJing gives me an opportunity to make other people happy. When I see the crowds are absolutely enjoying themselves and just loving it, it pumps me up and fills me with this positive energy. I also get to meet so many interesting people and see people you never expect to see partying! Last year I remember I saw my French teacher at this wedding I was DJing at…weird but funny.
Do you DJ much outside of SMUS?
As much as I would love to, I’ve got so many other things I have to worry about and once in a while I have to go to classes. But I still do some parties and weddings around the area… of course, if the price is right!
Who are some of your favourite artists to play/spin?
To be honest, my musical tastes are somewhat different than what most people think. I like to listen to R&B artists like Teddy Pendergrass, Marvin Gaye and Luther Vandross. Old school rap, like Run-DMC and Kurtis Blow. But at dances and parties, people like to listen to stuff that’s upbeat and songs that make you want to dance, my favorite artists to spin right now are Flo-Rida, Kanye, Fedde Le Grand and never forget Lady Gaga.
What do you think makes for a great song?
Lyrics. To me it doesn’t matter how catchy or how “sick” the beat is, the song has to mean something. I am so tired of listening to stuff that tells you to “Crank it to the Left” and also I really don’t care how many girls the rapper’s got in “different area codes.” I like music that makes you think.
Who are your favourite DJs and why?
My favourite DJs are DJ Jazzy Jeff and Jam Master Jay. They were both pioneers of DJing and legendary artists. They took hip-hop from the streets of New York and Los Angeles to the radios across the world. They are very humble and talented people who I deeply admire.
What are you most looking forward to for next year?
I’ll be graduating from SMUS next year so I’ll definitely look forward to DJing at least one more SMUS dance. I would also like to work with the Arts Council and maybe start a small DJing programme at SMUS… you never know, the possibilities around here are endless.