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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Local DJs bring the world of electronica into Davis homes

It’s a Saturday night in Davis and the Dead 12 Year Olds are in the house. Literally.

The DJ team of Nick Lopez, a junior communication major, and Braden Bugay, a junior sociology major, spin electronica roughly every weekend to crowds of sweaty, dancing partiers in houses around Davis – and that’s how they like it.

“Everyone’s getting down and everyone’s having a good time,” Lopez said. “There’s nothing worse than playing to a room of standing people.”

Those unresponsive days are over though, as the Dead 12 Year Olds fan base has steadily grown since their humble beginnings in the winter of 2008. What began as a joke – messing around on Apple Garageband and other music mixing program demos – turned into full-fledged and well-equipped DJing.

“We made a fake Myspace and these awful Garageband songs,” Bugay said. “Then we really got into DJing and the name just stuck.”

The name was chosen in the midst of the joke, where they tried to come up with the most offensive and shocking name possible, Bugay said.

“The Dead 12 Year Olds was just ironic and morbid enough to stick,” he said.

Lopez and Bugay were hesitant at first in calling themselves DJs, resisting the connotations sometimes associated with the word.

“It’s not the same kind of music as being a bar mitzvah or a bar DJ,” Bugay said.

What the Dead 12 Year Olds do is very different than just playing songs.

“We’re watching keys and making a play list with its respective highs and lows,” Lopez said. “We’re responding to the audience and we’re creating our own music piece with other songs.”

The duo prides itself on playing genres that normally don’t get played in Davis. Bugay said he knows many who wouldn’t have any interest in electro music if it hadn’t been for their DJ sets.

“We’ve introduced them to a whole other element, and that’s the goal,” Lopez said.

Kaley Garrison, a sophomore bioscience major, sees the Dead 12 Year Olds perform about twice a month. She loves how Lopez and Bugay play music atypical of most house parties and have sets that vary stylistically. Sets most commonly incorporate genres like trance, dubstep, big beat and drum and bass.

Their quirkiness adds to the entire electronica experience, Garrison said.

“They always dress up in some kind of outfit and have really quirky dance moves,” she said. “They just get really into it, so they’re really fun to watch and to dance to.”

The Dead 12 Year Olds played a live in-studio set on KDVS 90.3 FM last Thursday, which is available to stream online. Their other recordings can be accessed on their website (facebook.com/d12yo), where links are provided for downloadable music.

A lot of their uploaded recordings were done early in the group’s formation. The Dead 12 Year Olds might invest in some more professional recordings, Lopez said. In the mean time, they are working on putting their mixes up online.

For more information and booking, visit their Facebook page.

JANELLE BITKER can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.


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