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Hashim Elberier DJ extraordinaire

Chloe West, Online Editor - February 20, 2013

As a kid, Hashim Elberier could be heard whistling Mario Kart tunes and trying to copy the sounds of the video games he played.

Today, he has turned his passion for sound and music into a DJing gig, which he started when he was a sophomore at Central.

Now, as a senior information technician and jazz major, Elberier performs at anything from house parties, or ‘events’ as he likes to refer to them, to local weddings. Most recently, he performed at the Red Bull Thre3style U competition, held at the Nectar Lounge in Seattle.

“I’ve had a huge connection, not always to music, but to sound,” Elberier said.

Elberier has played the saxophone and clarinet since he was in third grade and is in Central’s marching band. With the stage name DJCujo, all of his experience with music helps him in his career today.

“Jazz is the only really thing that kind of teaches you to use your ear,” Elberier said. “It’s the more creative side of our music department.”

In middle school, Elberier was always running up to the soundboard to plug in his music at different events; he didn’t realize that this was its own form of DJing.

His first rave inspired him to branch out and sparked his curiosity to learn more about the art of mixing.

“I didn’t even know, actually, that DJs were such a big deal until I went and saw Borgore and then I started learning about EDM (electronic dance music),” Elberier said.

Soon after he experienced the energy he enjoyed so much at the rave, Elberier was invited to a get-together hosted by a friend who was having a group of DJ’s over to mix. He tried mixing for his first time on house speakers and a computer; it was the start of his house performances.

Since playing at houses and local venues like the Starlight Lounge and Dining room, Elberier has made a lot of progress, according to his friend Rhiannon Beunder, senior communication major, who had him play at her birthday party.

“Some people will just play their music but Hashim will play music to satisfy everyone,” Beunder said.

In his two years playing, Elberier has acquired a fan base big enough to be noticed by sponsors.

“The house parties help me generate a following,” Elberier said. “That’s how I got the Red Bull gig, just by people talking about me.”

For Elberier, part of the fun of competing in the Red Bull competition was getting to meet the judges, but he said the best part about DJing is the crowd.

“I understand fairly well how a crowd will react to pretty much anything,” Elberier said. “So I can kind of decide ‘this song’ because I want them to do this and ‘this song’ because I want them to do this.”

Nate Sackeyfio, also known as DJRatchet, who won the Red Bull play and destroy competition in December, along with longtime pro DJCide and the general manager of Trinity Night Club in Seattle were the three judges.

“One of the best parts about being a judge is you get to hear how creative other people can be,” Sackeyfio said.

Sackeyfio thought Elberier stood out and said the other judges also noticed him.

“I liked Hashim’s song selections and he was a good mixer,” Sackeyfio said. “A lot of the DJ’s, they were good at one thing or the other, but Hashim was pretty well rounded in that aspect.”

His audience and his friends are what help Elberier in his preparation stages. Each event has different taste and he accommodates his show to their liking.

“I’m one of the few DJ’s that actually listens to every kind of music and can DJ every kind of music,” Elberier said.

From start to finish, creating a set can take Elberier up to three hours. One day, he hopes to produce his own mixes, even if it means getting an IT day job and DJing at night.

“When you produce you’re the only one that plays shows,” Elberier said. “I really want to make my own music and be recognized for what I can put out.”

To make this his career might not be too far-fetched, according to Sackeyfio, who said he could see Elberier winning more competitions in the future. Sackeyfio thinks anybody who is dedicated to their craft can have a good future and Elberier already has a head start.

“I’m going to keep doing it until I can make it my day job,” Elberier said.

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