January 25, 2011

Student Artist Spotlight: Andrei Georgescu

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Raised in the back alleyways and dumpsters of Toronto, Andy Georgescu ‘11 led a perfectly happy suburban life, running around with Canadian cohorts, gathering maple leaves and riding moose. Meese. He rode a moose. Andy started spinning at 16, playing to halls of strung-out Canadians before he even knew why their pupils kept disappearing. He came to Cornell and has been saving lives since freshmen year, balancing Cornell EMS with a Bioengineering degree, while also in the midst of researching the detection of intestinal parasites in drinking water using our old friend the biosensor. Andy, why don’t you relax a little bit?

Andrei Georgescu: When I was in high school I bought some tables and started teaching myself. A friend of mine actually worked at a club and he ended up getting me a job playing there about a year later.

The Sun: So what originally spurred you to get that equipment?

A.G.: Youtube videos, actually.

Sun: Oh, the Youtube?!

A.G.: Yeah, it was one of those things where I knew I loved music, and I saw videos of people DJing and just knew immediately that I could do it and do it well. I started practicing at 16, and at 17 I started playing my first shows.

Sun: How was it playing in those Canadian clubs as such a young kid? Frankly, I hear that Canadian clubs are filled with toothless meth addicts who dance in strange crop circle patterns, biting anyone that tries to break the ring.

A.G.: Kind of, yeah. I couldn’t even drink legally, but I was DJing so obviously I would get drinks from the bar, made for some good times.

Sun: You do have some weird stories, though. Aside from the strawberry chocolate cake story, that … that’s just kind of gross.

A.G.: We won’t talk about that. It wasn’t so much weirdness as just stupid shit. One guy drunkenly knocked my laptop off the booth and onto the dance floor. Everything cut out, but the laptop survived and I just had to awkwardly hop out of the booth, go get it and walk back up in almost total silence.

Sun: So now that you’re at Cornell, what’s changed in terms of venues, crowd experiences, and the general musical environment compared to Toronto?

A.G.: It’s a pretty stark difference. In those clubs it would be all house and trance scenes, sets that would be longer and deeper. Here, you have Top 40. Shit Top 40. Anything that people didn’t know the words to was suddenly off-limits. To suddenly have Ke$ha requests hurled at you nonstop is a pretty jarring experience.

Sun: Obviously it’s not the best transition. We tend to like bite-size samples, tiny loops digging deeper and deeper into your skull. But how did that sudden shift force you to reconfigure your approach to the music as an artistic method?

A.G.: Well, to be honest, it became less about the artistic aspect and more, ‘how do I make this crowd happy’ – more about the music and less about the mixing. In clubs, it wasn’t a question of playing good music – you know, it’s almost a given that you’d play good music that everyone’s liked, since you were up there in the first place. It was more a question of when to transition moods, how to build a vibe for a night and keep that going. I also had to make sure the bar was getting money, so I’d throw in some slower moments where people can buy drinks, called ‘flipping the floor.’ And here that whole aspect has sort of taken a backseat to the need to play every song girls can sing to, in order. And the more of it I play the better, so when I’m mixing, I have to make sure that the Ke$ha song is right about to end before I mix in Katy Perry, or people get upset they didn’t get to sing the last verse. It’s just … different.

Sun: Not to mention the fact that that comes on top of Bioengineering, and plugging up bloody wounds with Cornell EMS. It’s just a different definition of a DJ compared to what you were coming from.

A.G.: When I was in high school, it was all about the practice and research. I would do something every day that improved my knowledge of that kind of sound. If I had a club show coming up, I would just be scouring the Internet for new stuff, and I was in a bunch of record pools … Now, it’s like I don’t even have to practice.

Sun: Do you feel like this is a problem specific to Cornell’s campus, what with our rural setting and general isolation from the majority of humanity?

A.G.: Nah, it’s everywhere. These are college frat parties, this is college frat music. It’s also different in that when you’re at a club — I always like to mix quickly in clubs, and so even though I’ll be mixing two songs for an extended period, I would still always have that next transition ready, so people would hear a few bars of the next song before it came on. It built the vibe, you know? College parties want the whole three and a half, four minutes of a song to play out. It cuts into the number of songs someone can play in a night.

Sun: And yet they’re just repetitive phrasing, the same sound with a couple different drops.

A.G.: Yeah, if you study the actual structure of these songs, you’ll see that most of them sound like a continuous chorus with different voices coming in and out. It’s catchy, yeah, but artistic? No. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still really fun to do. I’m not gonna be listening to Ke$ha in my room, but at parties it’s still amazing to see everyone go nuts when I drop “Tik Tok.” And plus, we just don’t have any big clubs that would be able to accommodate something like a multi-room party with different DJs, one playing house and another playing hard trance — I don’t even fuck with that stuff, that’s —

Sun: The Dark Arts.

A.G.: Yeah, and here it’s more of a frat community. You go to a college party, it’s a small group to begin with and Greek life is even tighter, so you’re there with a lot of your friends and you want to have fun together, with songs you all know and sing to. The DJ is in the background at a social drinking event rather than a concert-like club scene. The greatest part about the whole thing, though, has gotta be the requests. The requests themselves aren’t bad songs, they’re usually decent songs, but just at the worst possible times. It’s hilarious — I’ll be in the middle of some house set, crazy uptempo music, and somebody will just sneak up and start asking for Bon Jovi. And I gotta say to them, this is no time for Bon Jovi.

Sun: He’s a hero to his people.

A.G.: And it’s tough, you know, because with guys, they can request a song and you can just be honest and tell them I’ll play it soon, and I usually end up getting to their track. But girls, man, in the middle of a house set they’ll come running up with their Bon Jovi’s and Katy Perry’s, and when I tell them I’ll get to it a couple songs later, they just blow up and get red-faced furious. Their friends are ALWAYS leaving, so their favorite song of all time has got to be next.

Sun: Small bladders and weak arms. The downfall of their gender. So do you have any last gobs of wisdom to drop on us?

A.G.: Not really. Plug SAE shows, I guess.

Sun: I’m not gonna do that, Andy. That’s weird.

Original Author: Graham Corrigan