Q&A with DJ, music producer Ethan Meneghini


Nick Beckman

METAL MAYHEM: DJ and sophomore Ethan Meneghini plays his set. Meneghini opened the show for the metal band Blizzard Time.

Josie Cruzan

How did you start DJing?

When I was eight- it was near my birthday that year and I was about to turn nine- my step dad introduced me to Skrillex’s music, and that was the first introduction to electronic music that got me into producing electronic music. I started producing later that year when I got something called a launchpad for my birthday, and that was what got me into music and I took that further and it just kept developing on and on after that, and I started DJing about a year after that. I’ve been DJing and producing music for about seven years now.

Nick Beckman
BACK TO SCHOOL: DJ and sophomore Ethan Meneghini plays music for a back to school party. The party took place in his neighborhood and is just one of the many types of gigs he accepts.

What does DJing entail?

It’s more of going to local parties (for me): fundraisers, things going on around where I live. People have a lot of fundraisers and birthday parties for certain people or past clients I’ve had. If anyone has an event they need music for they (would) call me and say “Hey, can you do this for me for this amount of time,” and so I’ll play music in the background for people. What I’m trying to get into is playing at venues (and) playing my music, the music I create, (and essentially) a more performance kind of thing. (It’s) taking a while to get there because I’m younger and getting venues is a lot harder. It’s (mostly) client-based right now.

Is DJing something you’d like to pursue as a career?

I would definitely go into music- specifically production- as a career but I don’t really focus on that as much because I have another interest in building computers and engineering. It’s harder to get into music for a career because it has to take off for you to do well, so that you’re playing different venues, playing all the time, and making a lot of money. If you’re not doing that you’re just producing music and selling it online and it doesn’t produce that much of an income so it’s harder to get into the field unless you get really famous. I plan to do the normal thing: go to college, get a job, but if it does take off then that’s definitely something I’d be interested in doing.

Do you incorporate your interest in engineering into your music?

I do. I built my home studio computer, so where I produce my music most of the time is at home in my studio, and I built that whole system: the computer system that runs (the) studio. I also know, electronically, how audio works and so that blends in with the audio processing and things with computers

Where do you think DJing is headed in the future?

Right now, it seems to me that it’s kind of half and half. There are people that say ‘oh, DJs are talentless, all they do is play other people’s music at concerts and just go for a crowd that wants to party’ but I think it’s the other way around because I’m actually in that experience and I’m actually somebody that (DJs), so I see a lot more out of (it). I think it’ll go farther as more people get into electronic music but I think it’s harder for people to get into it if they don’t have an interest in that kind of music. It can only go up from here.

What kind of music do you like to work with?

Producing wise, I’ll work with anything. I focus on electronic music: dubstep, trap, stuff like that. Now that I know more about producing specifically, I can work with almost any genre. I like experimenting since I listen to a lot of music and love music so much, so producing rap music and producing for rappers around Carmel is something I want to get into.

Nick Beckman
A banner hangs over DJ and sophomore Ethan Meneghini’s set up. The banner describes the services Meneghini offers.

How has being a DJ impacted your daily life?

It’s been a pretty positive impact because it teaches me how to deal with people one on one for business related (things), like organizing payment and things for each event and talking to people and organizing dates and times and figuring out what’s good for me and what’s good for them. It’s a good way to talk about organizing events with somebody.

What goes through your head when you’re producing or DJing?

When I’m producing music, I just want to create something I have in my head. A lot of times, I have an idea, maybe at school, and I will write down what the idea is or record myself humming to save it for later so I can get an idea of what I was thinking of. If I have this idea in my head, I try to make it come to life and make it sound how I want it to sound. DJing, I think, is just (tailored) toward a crowd, so when I’m DJing, I’m also trying to fit (my) music (in) and see how it correlates with the playlist I have for the party. (I also see) how the crowd is reacting to music I’m playing and (play) music that fits with what people want.

Do you find it difficult to balance school and DJing?

Not really, because as of right now (my schedule is) not as packed. I really only have gigs during the summer because I perform outside, so it’s more common in the summer when I have a lot of free time. During the school year when it’s winter and fall, it’s a lot cooler so I may only play a gig for a friend on the weekend once every three or four months. Producing music is kind of different because I have so much time cut out of my week for school and homework.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

Just sharing that I am a DJ is the hardest part for me because I don’t know how people are going to react. I’ve always had some negative reactions from people. It’s mostly positive reactions, but there’s always somebody (who) thinks I’m weird or something like that. Another (challenge) is talking to clients, specifically for DJing if it’s somebody I haven’t ever really met before or (if) it’s a first experience with that person.

How have your friends and family reacted?

My family is extremely supportive, which I’m incredibly thankful for. My parents have always been carting me around for my gigs since I can’t drive yet, or they’ll post on their Facebook page and say ‘my son just released this new song’ and that’s something I can be really thankful for. My friends are also really supportive. One of my friends is a photographer and he comes to gigs with me and takes pictures for me, and does a lot of editing for photos for me, and a lot of my friends will just come to my gigs and listen to my music.

Is there anything you’d like readers to know about DJing?

What I do is very unique. There are only a few, select amount of people that produce music around Carmel, but there are a lot of people that have an interest in music. A lot of people don’t realize what producing music is like. (They) will listen to dubstep and think that the people who make it are just putting sounds into a program and editing them together and that it’s not that much work. In reality, it’s a lot more work than people think. There’s sound design, mastering (and) mixing. All (of the) different stuff goes into one song, and it can take months to finally release a song.