Sophomore devotes free time as DJ

December 2, 2015 — by Daphne Liu and Nidhi Jain

In his free time, sophomore Ayush Aggarwal can be found creating original tracks with a computer, drum pad, keyboard and ‘90s speakers that he can later DJ with at local parties.


Sophomore Ayush Aggarwal  gently presses five notes on his keyboard, the computer recording the seemingly simple notes. Moving on to the drum, he plays a few beats, beats that will be repeating throughout the song he is composing.

Overlaying the beats with the keyboard notes, Aggarwal smiles with pride at the rough draft of his new song. Eventually, he may choose to add an existing song to the background, but for now, this is a complete original.

In his free time, Aggarwal can be found creating original tracks with a computer, drum pad, keyboard and ‘90s speakers that he can later DJ with at local parties.

Aggarwal became interested in creating his own music during freshman year, when he wanted to something else besides schoolwork. Although music originally served the purpose of being a distraction, Aggarwal soon realized that he genuinely enjoys piecing and mixing music together.

“I like how universal music is,” Aggarwal said. “There is always a perfect song for any given moment, and I try to create music for moments that I personally enjoy.”

To create meaningful music, Aggarwal often jots down ideas for new songs in a notebook. Aggarwal thinks that planning the song is one of the most important stages of creating a mix, so he constantly scribbles down ideas on a beat pad and then compares the different beats after listening to them.

“From there, it’s a matter of choosing the right instruments and fitting it to the mood of the song,” Aggarwal said.

Aggarwal said the instruments chosen should reflect the song’s theme. For instance, according to Aggarwal, a soft piano could be used to emotionally connect the listener to a sad melody.

“The sounds and instruments are all digital, so the notes that are pressed on the keyboard trigger digital notes on the computer,” Aggarwal said. “From that point, the notes can be changed, re-arranged, lengthened and shortened.”

More often than not, creating and finalizing a song gives him “a sense of accomplishment.” On top of this, Aggarwal said his sudden immersion in music showed him how different moods result in different types of music.

Although his talent for DJing has caught the attention of others by word of mouth, Aggarwal said he doesn’t accept money for DJing because he’s there to enjoy the experience.

He played his first gig at a party for his family friend who  needed a DJ at the last minute. From then on he’s had more and more requests come in.

“As I started to play more parties, the people at the parties enjoyed the music so they contacted me,” Aggarwal said. “They asked me to play music at their parties and so on.”

Sophomore Shivaum Kumar, Aggarwal’s friend, attributes his success to frequent practice.

“He really enjoys being a DJ, so he spends a lot of his free time working on a mix or asking friends for suggestions about something he's working on,” Kumar said.

Aggarwal thinks he’s successful because of his past musical experience. Having played the piano since the sixth grade, Aggarwal is well-versed in music theory, which has greatly simplified the process of writing music.

Aggarwal also played in the band his freshman year and said that playing the trombone helped him explore his hobby and music in general.

“Band showed me that there are different parts to a song that combine to make up a big production,” Aggarwal said. “It helped me come up with solid baselines and a fluid melody while keeping the final result in mind.”

Aggarwal hopes to pursue his passion for music because it gives him an opportunity to experience something different.

“In the future, I really want music to be an outlet for me where I can get away from [my] normally busy life for an hour or two,” Aggarwal said.