On Friday night, roughly 500 Isla Vista resident] (and a cohort of Swedish exchange students for whose presence I have little explanation) crammed themselves into a Del Playa driveway in commemoration of EasyLove Records’ second birthday.
EasyLove Records, an Isla Vista-born DJ duo that gained popularity as an events and promotion company before opening for artists such as Steve Aioki and JFK of MSTRKRFT, consists of UCSB seniors Eugene Albert and Austin Hulak.
According to Albert, the economics and accounting major gone (evidently) rogue, the party culture of UCSB is host to many up-and-coming DJs. The jam-packed Del Playa nights create a perfect place to assess and improve upon deejaying skills (without anyone really noticing if the music is bad or not).
Friday night’s event seemed representative of the cult following EasyLove has developed in Santa Barbara and Isla Vista. Still, Hulak explained EasyLove’s biggest challenge now is to make a smooth transition outside of the I.V. bubble.
“I actually am moving to Berlin after graduation,” Hulak said. “I’ll be working for a company over there and will be pursuing EasyLove as an events promoter and as a record label.”
Ditching nights in I.V. to pursue a global record label is a long way to go in two years, and I’m sure many a UCSB singer/songwriter is looking at EasyLove’s success with a twinge of jealousy. However, as house makes its way into the forefront of popular music, I’m beginning to see its inherently “popular” element.
House and deejaying are, above all else, a social activity. While I doubt many of Friday night’s attendees eat their dinners to EasyLove’s mash-ups, they were more than willing to shed a few articles of clothing and make their way to its second birthday party in order to dance the night away.
“You could say in the deejaying world the barriers of entry are very low,” Albert said in an interview. “The amount of skill needed to become a mediocre DJ is not very high in comparison to the amount of skill needed to be a good guitar player.”
According to Albert, the growing popularity of house is due to its accessibility.
“It’s a reaction to the really low quality of hip-hop music in general in the last couple of years,” Albert said. “As in, the kind of T-Pain-ization of hip-hop music combined with just the fact that pop music has slowly started to become more electronic.”
In an interview, Hulak reported he has taken on the business angle of the partnership.
“Eugene is the one who has the musical talent. He can deejay a hell of a lot better than I can,” Hulak said. “I’ve taken to more management and negotiating.”
In a world where illegal downloading makes profits on record sales seem like a lost cause, shows and events are on the forefront of what can make musical groups popular. While a decent indie band can only hope for an attendance of 200 people, EasyLove Records easily attracted almost triple that number merely by advertising the event on Facebook. Why? House music is a party. For two people looking to go into music, jumping into house just as it heats up must be a pretty business savvy way to go.