Student DJ hits the books, drops the beat

After hitting the biology and chemistry books, sophomore Charles Tobias heads to his studio for some music surfing, to prepare playlists and to create his next musical mix.

Tobias has been a DJ for eight years. He started out with small events such as pool parties and soon graduated to sweet-16 events and banquets. He deejayed at Freehold Latino festivals and at Club Abyss, now known as Pure. Tobias has worked with many different partners and crews, including live vocalists. Tobias said he tried to keep the attitude that nothing was going to stop him.

At the start of his DJ career, Tobias said, it was hard for people to take him seriously because he was only a high school freshman. However, he presented himself as a professional, relying on lessons he had picked up from his father and his uncle as well as his own experience in the industry.

Tobias built his business from scratch and promoted it by word of mouth. His sets created a lot of buzz, allowing his business to really take off.

“Just getting out there and pursuing what you really want to do, that’s what really motivated me,” Tobias said. “If it was going to happen, it was going to be on me; I loved music, and being a DJ was something I always wanted to be.”

Tobias said the DJ is the center of attention. Although it’s a lot of pressure, he said he has as much fun as someone dancing in front of the speakers.

He said it is important to intrigue your crowd from the very beginning.

“If they walk in and they’re not feeling it, odds are they’re not going to feel it when the music starts playing,” Tobias said. “You have to create that atmosphere from the moment they walk in.”

It’s one thing to capture the crowd’s attention, but another to keep it. Tobias said it’s about getting a feel of the crowd.

“You just have to go with it, feel it, keep the bass going, keep the beat going, keep it matched; just constantly keep the songs going,” Tobias said. “It’s not really a science behind it. It’s music, it’s its own thing.”

Tobias describes the search for new music and new collaborations as uplifting.

“When I was putting new songs together and I just heard that new sound, it was just like candy to my ears,” Tobias said. “It was amazing and that new sound (is what) you always try to look for.”

Michelle Foti can be reached at

Author: Michelle Foti

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