Four UCLA student DJs will compete Saturday at Avalon Hollywood before legendary DJ Paul Oakenfold takes the stage in a headlining set. The prize for the students is a prime spot spinning at the official after-party for the upcoming inaugural Electronic Music Awards and Foundation show April 14, which Oakenfold is co-producing. And students, staff, faculty and alumni have a chance to attend as contestants go head-to-head.
The students are finalists in a campuswide competition that was conducted by the Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA earlier this month. The invitation to perform at the after-party came after Oakenfold, an electronic music producer and prolific trance DJ, visited campus to meet with longtime musicology professor Robert Fink.
Fink has been teaching an extremely popular class at UCLA, the "History of Electronic Dance Music," since 2002. For his class, Fink dissects a particular two-hour set of Oakenfold's, so he shared the presentation with the prominent artist. Oakenfold — who has been a mainstay in both the recording industry and live DJ scene since the late '80s — got such a kick out of meeting Fink and hearing about the class that he decided he wanted to give a UCLA student the chance to DJ at the high-profile industry after-party.
Oakenfold and Avalon Hollywood are offering all UCLA students, staff and alumni a special $15 ticket price for Saturday night’s 21-and-over show. Price is valid with Bruin ID at the door. The competition starts at 9 p.m. and the winner will be announced on site. Avalon is located at 1735 Vine St., Hollywood, CA 90028.
The four top UCLA student DJs represent a broad swath of academic interests. They are Shan Sunil Tambat, a fifth-year mechanical engineering major; Nolan Isozaki (aka Chilled Moose), a fourth-year English major; Gillis Wang, a first-year actuarial math major; and Joshua Kiley (aka AVTR), a third-year psychology major.
Musicology Ph.D. student (and DJ) Tiffany Naiman (aka Bit Faker) coordinated the competition. Previously, she also taught sessions of Fink's course and was able to share her syllabus with Oakenfold, letting him in on how he’s being perceived from an academic viewpoint.
“Seeing Paul get invested in UCLA is exciting,” Naiman said. “That he cares enough about what we’re doing at the Herb Alpert School of Music to reach out and give an up-and-comer a shot like this is a really unique thing.”