BU Student DJs
Spotlighting the creative musical talent within our own student body
By: Carolyn Kravets
Anton Gabril Abeca’s (ENG ‘24) first time in a Boston club was to perform. Starting out spinning tunes at fraternity parties, Abeca’s skills have ascended to the club scene level. His inaugural club experience wasn’t as a spectator but as a DJ. He now plays at venues like Icon, Venu, and Hava, all under the banner of Space Entertainment.
Learning the technicalities of DJing in just a week of dedicated daily practice, Abeca’s teaching philosophy is concise: “I’ll teach you what you need to know in 30 minutes. Everything after that is your creative input,” he said.
He began mixing on a Pioneer DDJ 400 and progressed to the DDJ FLX6, using just rekordbox software. Abeca has a unique musical background in piano studies. This foundation grants him a distinctive insight into the world of DJing.
To him, DJing is a workout with strategic pauses crucial to syncing with the crowd’s rhythm. “You can’t do every single rep in a row. You need moments to breathe, and that’s the same with the crowd,” he said.
Abeca, attuned to the dance floor’s pulse, plays sets with tension-filled moments. The novice DJ’s inclination is to maintain a relentless tempo, but Abeca acknowledges the crowd’s need for intervals. He is currently gravitating towards house music, specifically Latin tech. Abeca’s mixes are a collaboration of unforeseen drops and infectious grooves that invite dancing.
Navigating song requests with finesse, Abeca recognizes the constraints of his music library, cautioning against crowd members imposing their personal tastes. “You can’t impose your own taste on everyone,” he emphasized, understanding that the DJ booth is ultimately a shared space where the dance floor dictates its rhythm and cadence.
Elijah Nater’s (QST ‘25) philosophy on DJing is, “If you DJ every song you hear on the radio, you’re just the radio.” Nater encourages DJs to incorporate their own taste, cautioning against becoming a mere radio playlist.
Paired with Serato software and a Tidal account, Nater’s mixing is marked by a diverse taste in music. He navigates between altered tracks on SoundCloud and original compositions on Tidal, with a particular fondness for EDM that weaves samples of old, soulful jazz into contemporary beats.
In his three years of DJing, Nater has honed his skills in crowd management, prioritizing audience preferences in creating a vibe that resonates. He began his journey under the guidance of a fraternity DJ who introduced him to the mixing software. For Nater, the key to a successful DJ set lies in mastering the timing of the music. He developed this skill when he started mixing with Dembow, a fast-paced, trappy Dominican beat that set the foundation for his current style.
Uniquely, Nater values recommendations from the crowd. He thrives on the dynamic interaction with his audience, noting the importance of reading social cues and adjusting his playlist accordingly. He understands the importance of smooth transitions during his sets, showcasing a keen focus on crowd reactions.
Beyond the technical aspects of DJing, Nater sees music as a form of escape that brings enjoyment and expresses emotions. He enjoys the central role a DJ plays in a social function. Believing in the transformative power of music, he describes it as a whole-body experience that gets people moving. “I love seeing the crowd go nuts,” he said.