DJ Club teaches students the art of mixing
The summer before her senior year in college, Chelsea Dean, visual arts instructor, sold one of her pencil drawings to a friend in return for a set of turntables. This exchange initiated what eventually became a strong passion for DJing.
A year later, she booked her first gig and had a professional career for three years, performing at raves with thousands of people, opening for the Black Eyed Peas before it was well-known, and playing at intimate house gatherings.
Dean, whose DJ name is “minifunk,” has performed in numerous locations, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Idaho, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle, and parts of Canada. She now brings her love of music to Marlborough, as the founder and adviser of the DJ Club.
Dean said that she has a strong passion for music and greatly enjoys DJing because people pay her to share with them what she loves most, music.
“I’m able to shape a stranger’s experience through the indescribable bonds of sound,” Dean said.
As a woman, DJ Dean said she dealt with sexism and prejudice in the industry. She was told in the past that the only reason she was booked wasn’t because she was talented, but because she was a woman.
Dean distances herself as much as possible from the stereotypical women DJs, who are icons of sex and promiscuity.
Nonetheless, Dean continued pursuing DJing. Dean said the best party she DJed for was at a roller rink.
“When I was a kid I was always at a roller rink, so DJing there brought back memories and made me think of my childhood,” Dean said.
Now more focused on her work as a teacher and as an artist, Dean only DJs in her spare time.
For example, Dean and her best friend from Phoenix manned the music station at the birthday party of Reid Speed, a prominent electronic dance DJ, last October.
Dean and students run the DJ Club that meets Wednesdays at lunch in Dean’s classroom.
The DJ Club hosted a bake sale last November and sold a basket at Winter Fest to buy a set of turntables. The club bought a set and a mixer in February, and the members are currently learning the basic functions of the turntables.
“We’ve started learning how to drop in another record. We know when to start the new record and match the beats,” Elizabeth ’13 said. “You have to make sure the music works well together.”
Dean said that she wants to share music with the club members to hopefully broaden their appreciation for what she holds so close to her heart.
She is having each member bring in at least one record to practice using on the turntables as well as bringing in her own records to play.
She said her passion for DJing will never die out.
“It’s like learning to ride a bike, you might not always want to ride, but when you do, you’ll always know how,” Dean said.