PeopleHop: Dropping the Bass
Written by Bwog Staff
Theo Papageorge, CC’13 took a year off from Columbia to–what else?–move across the country to LA and work in the music industry. Rusko personally listened to Theo’s music and asked him to open a show this summer. Bwog dusted off our limited DJ vocab and tried to be cool.
Bwog: How long have you been DJing?
Theo: I started DJing at the beginning of 2010, just on my computer. I got turntables at the beginning of that summer, and that’s when I really got hooked. I started off mixing existing songs, and there’s a huge amount you can do with that, but it got to the point where what I wanted to play didn’t exist. So, I started seriously producing this past summer. Expect the first single, video, EP etc. sooner rather than later.
Bwog: Why did you decide to move out to LA? What did your parents say?
Theo: Basically, I realized that it didn’t make sense for me to be in school when all I was doing was looking for new music and reading DJ Twitter pages. All those guys said they were going to LA, so I decided to go, too. My parents were shocked initially, but they’re both artists themselves, so they eventually warmed up to the idea and helped me give it a shot.
Bwog: Are music people in LA really insane?
Theo: Oh, yeah. It’s all true. Every person in that scene is such a character: the artists, managers, agents, hangers-on, all of them. My boss had to be the most absurd, though. Put him somewhere between Diddy in “Get Him To The Greek” and Ari Gold from “Entourage,” but British.
Bwog: What’s Rusko like?
Theo: Rusko is honestly one of my favorite human beings ever. He definitely lives in his own little music world, but I slowly gained his trust and he completely opened up and taught me so much, about DJing and producing, definitely, but also just about life. He works incredibly hard and he’s such a good person.
Bwog: What happened the night you were supposed to open for him at Terminal 5?
Theo: I’m still not sure who messed up, but an hour before I was supposed to be there, I got an email saying that they had accidentally booked someone else who they couldn’t cancel on. I went to the venue and argued my case with as many people as possible, but no one could do anything. It was awful, to say the least, and I still feel so bad for everyone that came to see me, but you can’t let those kinds of things get you too down because they happen all the time in the music industry. What matters most is that Rusko personally listened to my mix and wanted me to play.
Bwog: Is it annoying when people try to dance behind the table with you?
Theo: I mean, honestly, nothing’s as bad as when people make requests! It’s not that easy to just instantly play whatever random song you might have in your head. Let us do our job and go listen to it when you get home. No offense.
Bwog: What sort of experience do you want people to have while listening to your music?
Theo: I think that the best DJ sets can really take you places, emotionally. I love and make all kinds of music, so I try to arrange it in a way where it all adds up to something. The happiest song in the world sounds doubly euphoric with a little darkness before it.
Bwog: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen at a concert?
Theo: Wow, there are so many, but I just remember looking into the front row once and seeing this huge kid with a shirt on that said “I’m Fat, Let’s Party.” That was just surreal to me.
Bwog: Skrillex or Avicii?
Theo: Definitely Skrilly. I love his music, and partying with him in Vegas is one of the best memories I have. He’s seriously the most pumped dude ever, just thrilled about life. Hey, why not? But that being said, “Levels” was pretty dope. Can’t lie.
Author’s note: interview edited for brevity
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