The Syracuse Scene Remixed

Meet the new faces from the rising DJ subculture on campus.

“In a perfect world, we’d all bump our music as loud as we want.”

That's how Brandon Linn envisions a campus scene that's relatively new, even to him.

The writing program senior is one of a growing number of students who, like many, sits at a computer for long hours working on any given night. Linn’s material, though, doesn’t get presented in front of any class.

Instead you'll find it fueling dimly lit attics, basements and living rooms — anywhere there’s a PA system and some willing partiers.

“DJ culture in Syracuse is definitely a burgeoning scene,” said Caitlin Dewey, editor-in-chief of Syracuse music magazine 20 Watts. “For awhile, the only DJs on campus were The Smash Brothers and there was definitely some concern about what was going to happen when they left. 

"A lot of young acts have definitely stepped in – Mouth’s Cradle or Delerium with WERW for a few examples I enjoy – and almost all of them that I’ve seen bring something really great to a performance.”

On any given weekend, there’s a party or a local venue where you can find Linn (DJ BLinn), Harrison Willis (DJ Big Mouth), Devon Stewart (DJ Devon James) or any number of their peers. They aren't names you recognize (yet), but don’t be misled. These artists know what they’re doing.

Linn and Stewart were instrumentalists first and often record live riffs before remixing them digitally within their tracks. Willis often spends weeks on a track and has performed live in Prague. All perform as often as possible, constantly honing their craft. It shows when those in the crowd realize they can’t go back to parties where hosts simply create a playlist.

“There’s no point in going to a party if the DJ isn’t there," Dewey said. "I can plug my own iPod in and play better music than most hosts.

“People who do live mashups or mixing, it’s like going to a concert. They’re live performance artists that create a unique atmosphere and it definitely adds to a party.”

About this project

So if you’re not in the know with this rising subculture, don’t worry. Presenting …

The NewsHouse DJ Project: “The Syracuse Scene Remixed.”

We asked local labels, campus music press and DJ themselves about who we needed to find. Linn, Willis and Stewart are only three of many, but they represent the variety of styles and experiences beginning to make up the Syracuse DJ scene. They sat down to tell us about themselves and their craft. More importantly, they were willing to share their stuff.

In a tribute to campus DJs past, we got a track from The LadyBoys. They’re the Washington D.C. outfit that includes Jacob and Zach Beier (the twin brothers who made up renowned local DJ duo The Smash Brothers). Linn, Stewart and Willis agreed to take a week and give us their best quick turnaround remix of the song, “Maverick,” using only the vocal track). Listen to their remixes above or check out their individual DJ bio pages for that and more.  If you’re interested, don’t worry, The Smash Brothers remixed the tune as well and you can compare DJs past to present.

The original track, "Maverick," by The LadyBoys:

The Smash Brothers remix of "Maverick":

When it’s all said and done, hopefully you’ve heard something you like. Then, the next time you think about heading out on the weekend, it’ll be time to do a little research so you can find where the real party is at.

Meet DJ Big Mouth | Meet DJ Devon James | Meet DJ BLinn

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