Sam Kilroy '14, a recent transfer to Cornell from Syracuse University, is a seasoned international progressive house DJ. Getting his start in the art at an early age, Sam, who goes by the stage name Mr. Kilroy, has performed in over 14 countries and in front of crowds in the thousands. Sam sat down with The Sun to discuss the club scene in China, what it is like to perform in front of Lebron James and Dwayne Wade and why a champagne bottle can be a DJ's worst enemy.
The Sun: So what's the biggest crowd you've ever played for?
Sam Kilroy: I did a show in China this past summer at this giant megaclub in Bejing in front of 4,000
Sun: Did you go to China specifically to DJ?
S.K.: No, I was actually working for a Hedge Fund out there and I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone. So I gathered my contacts together and got some nice gigs while I was out there.
Sun: What’s the main difference between people who go to clubs in China compared to those in the US?
S.K.: I think the people who go to clubs in China are definitely more fanatical about it. They definitely party more and let loose and get rowdy.
Sun: Rowdier than Americans?
S.K.: Definitely. The people who went out in China were some of the craziest people I have ever DJed before in my entire life.
Sun: Is there a musical preference difference between the two cultures?
S.K.: When you DJ for people in the US, the people want to listen to hip hop and more mainstream music, like what you would hear on the radio. In China, as long as it has good beat and a hard bass the people will love any song.
Sun: How would you describe your style of DJing?
S.K.: I'd say I am a progressive house DJ.
Sun: What does that mean?
S.K.: It's hard to describe. I think saying it just makes you sound more legit. Actually though, it’s a pretty identifiable genre when you listen to it. It’s just hard to describe in words.
Sun: Who are some of your favorite DJs right now?
S.K: Dada Life, Boys Noize and Laid Back Luke.
Sun: What's the biggest venue you've played stateside?
S.K.: I played at Webster Hall in NYC, which is a pretty large venue. Other than that I usually do club crowds
Sun: What’s unique about your DJing?
S.K.: I feel like a lot of DJ's defer to playing mainstream music, but when I DJ I try to throw in acapellas of mainstream sounds onto more obsure progressive house tracks to try to expose more people to electronic dance music.
Sun: When did you start DJing?
S.K.: Freshman year of high school.
Sun: How much of why you started had to do with meeting girls?
S.K.: That's probably 100% of the reason why I started DJing. That's the reason why I do most of the things I do, actually.
Sun: Is DJing merely a hobby for you or can you see yourself going full-time down the line?
S.K.: I don't know. It’s definitely my creative outlet, but to go professional down the line would be a really big step. I think I'd like to try. I have a very good base of DJs and club managers in NYC and I can see myself out of college doing it full time for maybe a year or two. At the worst it could be a fall back option.
Sun: What’s the most embarrassing thing that's even happen to you while DJing?
S.K.: I was DJing at the St. Bart’s in the Carribean and it was a pretty ridiculous party and this guy opened a bottle of champagne. It got all over my laptop mid set and completely destroyed my laptop. Thankfully I had a few flash drives from which I could connect my music, but there was like ten minutes of silence when we were trying to fix all the fried wires and kick out the guy who did it.
Sun: Did you make the guy pay for your laptop?
S.K.: No, but the club was nice enough to pay for the repairs.
Sun: Tell us about the time you performed in front of Lebron James and Dwayne Wade.
S.K.: I was DJing this club in NYC for an hour and a half set when it came to my attention that Lebron and Wade, fresh off a Heat victory over the Knicks, came out to the club that night to celebrate. I remember I was confident and enjoying my set and then I hear those guys were there and I became as nervous as I've ever been in my life.
Sun: Did you see them?
Sun: Did you interact with them?
S.K.: No. What they kinda do is surround themselves with a posse, with like their entourage and a lot of girls.
Sun: Was Bosh with them?
S.K.: Haha, no.
Sun: Have you opened for anyone big?
S.K.: I opened for this DJ Michael Woods in a place called the Ministry of Sound in London.
Sun: What was Ministry of Sound like?
S.K.: It was bananas. It was the most insane sound system I have ever heard in my life. It’s in a really skeezy part of London, but everyone who shows up there is just a huge lover of dance music.
Sun: Any major plans coming up in the futue?
S.K.: I have my EP coming out in December with my best friend Nick. We go by the name Evening Idiots. Look out for us.
Sun: What's the benefit to working with a partner like Nick, as opposed to flying solo?
S.K.: It’s just a lot more fun having the presence of another person. It’s definitely a felt presence.