Regular Wesleying readers and followers of the electronic music scene may have noticed a new face on campus this semester: Risky Fresh, a collective of Wesleyan DJs that have been appearing at parties and concerts and are now releasing a series of free, downloadable mixes available on Wesleying.
Risky Fresh is a simple organization, primarily a group of friends who came together around the ideals of perfecting and disseminating electronic music on campus. When asked what the “mission” of the group was, three members interviewed responded only after a brief, puzzled pause.
“I don’t think we have a concrete goal. I mean, if anything it’s probably just to get more gigs and recognition on campus. I think that’s probably the one thing we can agree on,” said Michael Ullman ’12, who goes by Bastille when he DJs.
“Yeah, there’s no manifesto,” added Dylan Bostick ’13 (a.k.a. Boss). “We just kind of found each other last year and realized we all make beats, and we should all make beats together.”
Risky Fresh includes fifteen independent artists (some more active than others), including both the best-known DJs and some of the more obscure on campus—and one DJ who in fact does not attend Wesleyan. All have different areas of interest and talents; Bostick, for example, has been mostly a producer but is beginning to move into the realm of live music. The group began to form last year and has been slowly growing since.
“We all met Michael [Ullman] freshman year, and he was basically like, ‘You guys are all DJs? That’s awesome, I was the only freshman DJ last year,’” explained Ethan Young ’13, who also responds to “Flammenwerfer.”
The collaboration seems to be working to the group’s advantage; according to Ullman: “This way, if one of us gets a gig, we’ll usually pull one or two people in with us, and it just lets us play pretty much everywhere.”
The latest development is the Risky Fresh mixes (initially called “mix tapes” until a post on the Anonymous Confession Board corrected their use of the term). The series began on September 25 with a compilation from Ethan Cohen ’13, also known as Guido Suave (and a piece of Snorlaxxx), and there have also been offerings from Bostick, Ullman, and, on Tuesday, Adrien DeFontaine ’13—or Aviator. Every mix has had a slightly different feel, and each has been the work of a single DJ. In fact, Risky Fresh as a collective has intentionally refrained from planning a season or structuring mixes with intentions behind them.
“If anyone downloads them or listens to them, we’re absolutely thrilled. I feel like we don’t have any more quality of music taste than anyone else, it’s just that we know how to navigate these music programs that allow you to make new mixes. And we’re really excited and want to share this music we love with other people. So if people are open to that, we’re thrilled,” Young said.
The fledgling group is slowly beginning to imagine grander horizons: in addition to continuing to release a mix once a week (more or less), they plan to release an album of original mixes and songs once a full cycle of mixes has completed, and perhaps (with luck) get performance opportunities at other schools. They’re also hoping to expand.
“We’ve been looking for freshman DJs. There seems to be a lack of DJs compared to last year, I would say…If you’re a freshman DJ, talk to us.” Bostick said.
At the end of the day, Risky Fresh is about spreading music. This is why they’ve formed as a collective, not an administration, and this is why they release their mixes—both of others’ work and their own—free and easily accessible.
“When it was me just finding freshman DJs it was just trying to build a scene. I was the only one,” Ullman said with a smile. “Now there are many.”
Risky Fresh’s mixes are released roughly once a week on www.wesleying.org. They are free for download.