Last night the four final winners of Associated Students Program Board’s first ever Battle of the DJs Competition faced off to reveal fourth-year communication major Tyler Fish a.k.a. T-Fresh as the winner of a spot on the main stage at Extravaganza 2014.
After eight student DJs competed in Tuesday’s eight-bracket single-elimination round, local student DJs PsychoJohn, Dropwise, T-Fresh and Beta wave received the highest scores and were slated to move on to the final round. However, a last minute disqualification of DJ duo PsychoJohn bumped DJ Angarola up to last night’s final competition at the Hub.
The first round of last night’s performances featured Angarola against Beta wave and T-Fresh against Dropwise. Judged based on mixing ability, song selection, originality and energy response, DJs Angarola and T-Fresh competed in the final head-to-head round with T-Fresh emerging victorious.
According to Fish, last night’s victory fulfilled his longtime wish to play at an event featuring big-time headliner acts such as rappers Snoop Dogg and Kendrick Lamar.
“I’m speechless,” Fish said. “It’s been a dream since I was a freshman to be able to play an event like Extravaganza. Now with this coming true on my senior year, it’s just an incredible feeling.”
Fish said last night’s Battle of the DJs served as a stepping stone allowing him to bring his talent from Isla Vista backyards to the big stage.
“The set meant so much to me. I felt like it was the best set of my life,” Fish said. “There was so much energy and I was so into it because I wanted it so bad. Words can’t explain. I’m going to start my set now.”
According to second-year biochemistry major Brian Kasimov, a.k.a. Dropwise, despite all the competing DJs’ differences in style, technique and personality, Battle of the DJs allowed peers with a “common goal” to come together and share their music with the student body.
“It feels really good ‘cause all three other people who played tonight are my really good friends, so no matter what a great person is going win,” Kasimov said. “We’re all here to support each other … I like that it’s a healthy competitive spirit.”
Third-year microbiology major and event-attendee Brett Russell criticized the judge’s choices, claiming Angarola generally had a greater “variety of beat,” even as he played a “solid six minutes of straight Disclosure with pop songs mixed on top.”
“Angarola made me gig in ways I haven’t experimented with before, and with T-fresh, I really felt the need to sarcastically dance by simply standing in place and pumping my arms up and down,” Russell said. “Although T-fresh’s Space Jam mix was by far the best song I heard of the whole night … in general, during his set, I felt like I was in 2010.”
However, according to A.S. Program Board publicity coordinator and third-year communication and film & media studies major Karen Masumoto, T-Fresh rightfully won first place by bringing “great energy” to the event, showcasing his widely-liked, well-versed talent. Masumoto said the event went swimmingly and has prompted Program Board to continue doing an annual Battle of the DJs from now on.
“T-Fresh was awesome! He really got the crowd going,” Masumoto said. “It’s cool to see everyone in the music scene come together to support each other.”
Photos by Kenneth Song / Daily Nexus.
A version of this story appeared on page 5 of Thursday, February 20, 2014’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.