By Julian De Ocampo ’13 & Roan Enright ’13
The excitement is palpable in the football stands on Friday night.
The crowd — ready to see the Broncos take on the opposing team— feels like a barrel of gunpowder waiting for a spark.
Suddenly, a wave of stomach churning bass hits, sending the crowd into a frenzy – all courtesy of Keaton “DJ Leanderthal” Leander ’13.
Leander, who whips the crowd into an uproar at nearly every week’s football game, has become a familiar face when seen from behind a laptop and a monolithic tower of speakers.
DJs like Leander are part of an emerging pool of talent at Brophy that spans across all grade levels and backgrounds, a collection of like-minded musicians who recognize that the difference between a party and a dud is just a few clicks away.
And now, regardless of differences in direction and vision, these DJs are coming into their own, acting as the beat beneath the dances, sporting events and parties.
Operating alongside Leander, DJ Steven Douglas ’12 is ever-present at Brophy events, ready to get the crowd moving to the sounds produced by his laptop.
Douglas turns hobby into crowd-pleasing talent
Douglas is just one of many disciples of previous school DJ Bryce Muzzy ’10.
“The one person who influenced me was Bryce Muzzy. I’ve gotten advice from him beforehand, and he’s gotten me very involved,” Douglas said
Muzzy, a self-proclaimed “dance commander,” is, according to Douglas and Leander, a source of inspiration for those who fondly remember his use of far-reaching genres like dubstep and techno on the dance floor.
Douglas said the point of his work is to make people move around and feel his heart-stopping beats.
“I’m trying to become more involved outside of Brophy, but I’m not really involved outside of school yet. I go home and do it for fun, but it’s more of a hobby for me,” Douglas said.
And while Douglas said he intends to continue DJing into the near future, he sees the hobby as something recreational, differing from other DJs with money on their minds. In addition to efforts of pumping up Brophy’s student body at the games, Douglas is also planning on resurrecting Techno Tuesday, the weekly Brophy techno dance party that went defunct at the tail end of the 2010-2011 school year.
“I did it last year (Techno Tuesday), but it was cancelled by (former) Dean Mr. Jim Bopp because of the noise,” Douglas said. “But we still need to talk with Dean (Mr. Pat) Higgins about it.”
Douglas works alongside Leander at games and dances, aiding DJ Leanderthal to enthuse the Brophy crowd.
“Keaton has been a huge help to me. He helps me up set up and all that good stuff,” Douglas said.
DJ Leanderthal leads as maestro of energy
Alongside Douglas, Leander enjoys some of the highest visibility on campus, running the sound at nearly every event on campus.
Leander got his start running the sound and audio at his church. After being elected to Student Council, he was approached about running the sound systems at a number of Brophy events.
Taking cues from Muzzy, Leander stepped into the shoes of student DJ, beginning to create mixes to play at school rallies and friends’ parties.
“We had Bryce Muzzy, who I always looked up for as an awesome leader and motivator for everyone, so he was always someone to look up to – I thought it was so cool for him to DJ,” Leander said.
Still without a proper DJ name at the time, Leander decided to adopt the name of DJ Leanderthal, a title first created by J.P. Mulligan ’11 while Leander served on Student Council.
“I see my DJing more as a leadership role more so than a hobby that I might pursue in college,” Leander said. “I even didn’t think that I needed quite the nickname of a DJ or the name of one – I just wanted to use music to bring more energy and spirit to the school.”
Since then, Leander has taken to his laptop to energize events like the Summer Dance and Frosh Mixer.
“It’s an awesome feeling. Just being able to press a couple buttons, set up a sound system, and see how much energy that brings to people,” Leander said. “One of the best parts of DJing is just seeing the effect your music has on people.”
But the role is not without its drawbacks; Leander said that while he loves seeing the energy he creates, it’s difficult not being able to partake in the party.
“Sometimes it’s hard seeing your friends when you’re up there. I know they’re dancing because of my music, but sometimes I just want to join them,” Leander said. “One of my main dreams has always been to be one of the letters in the ‘BRONCOS,’ but if I’m always a DJ then I won’t get to do that.”
Still, there is hope for Leander to fulfill his wishes – he’s looking for a replacement.
“I’ve had my time, and hopefully next year I can pass the torch and become one of the letters,” Leander said. “Once I take off, hopefully I can pass the torch to numerous people who can do it.”
The search for new DJs continues
As Leander highlighted, an ever-present quest for new DJs looms over Student Council, with fresh faces emerging in every grade, each and every one of them perspective heirs to the position.
Although too close to graduation to claim the title for long, Leander has been working closely with Chad Aherensdorf ’12, a hopeful DJ who has the added advantage of originality.
Aherensdorf makes his own beats and remixes, including a remix that spliced together speeches by President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbichev, which Leander played during the Frosh Mixer.
Leander also cites Jake Anderson ’15, whom Leander met through the Brophy Big Brother program, as a early candidate for the title. Anderson is a bit of a DJing wunderkind, already aiding Leander in running the sound at football games like an apprentice learning the trade.
“When all the freshmen followed their big brothers around at freshman orientation was the first time I heard Keaton (Leander) say that he DJed all the dances and games,” Anderson said. “I just thought that was really cool that a student could do something like that.”
Leander was happy to show him the ropes.
“I got him down there on the track with me, he watched and he thought it was the coolest thing ever,” Leander said. “And now he’s been down there with me since.”