In three years, DJ Tambat has taken a momentous leap from quietly mixing songs in his bedroom to the lively setting of Pauley Pavilion.
Back in community college, fourth-year mechanical engineering student Shan Tambat studied the basics of song mixing in his free time, never imagining that his efforts would lead to the largest performance of his life this Saturday at Dance Marathon. Tambat will take the stage at 6 p.m. for an hour-and-a-half-long jam set and later partake in Campus DJ’s UCLA competition at Pauley Pavilion.
Drawing musical influence from artists such as MAKJ and Dash Berlin, Tambat said his fascination with electronic dance music began back in middle school.
In the past year Tambat has refined his skills at several Greek life date parties and on-campus DJ sets.
“About three years ago I saw one of my friends perform at a house party and became very interested in it, so I just started learning how to DJ from other people and YouTube,” Tambat said.
Last year, Tambat performed an opening set for electronic musician Ryan Hemsworth at Ackerman Grand Ballroom for the Undergraduate Students Association Council’s Campus Events Commission.
“I remember during sound check I was playing a little bit and (Hemsworth) was like, ‘That’s pretty good,’” Tambat said. “I was a bit blown away that this was coming from Ryan Hemsworth – someone I listen to all the time.”
Tambat’s friend, fourth-year sociology student Brandon Acuna, said Tambat does a great job mixing different genres such as hip-hop, Top 40 and future bass to change the vibe on the dance floor.
“(Tambat) has a great stage presence and does what a lot of good DJs do: He gets up, gets his hands up and gets the crowd active,” Acuna said.
Performing for the most sizable crowd of his career thus far, Tambat does not deny feeling a bit nervous in anticipation of such a notorious UCLA event.
“I think that once I start getting in the groove and keep people dancing, it’s just all fun,” Tambat said.
Mixing electro, progressive house and trap music, Tambat said his Dance Marathon set is going to have many different sounds and styles as he appeals to different tastes of the crowd.
In addition to the Dance Marathon jam set, Tambat will perform a 10-minute DJ battle set for Campus DJ, an organization that selects top DJs from universities across the United States.
UCLA alumnus Bentley Montes, last year’s national champion, has taken Tambat under his wing as a protégé throughout the past year.
“When you love what you do it is easy to commit to it,” Montes said. “I taught him a lot of the tools to get started and now he is busting out some moves that just blow me away.”
Tambat said he enjoys doing something different with his time that people may not expect from an engineering student by keeping a balance between his engineering curriculum and live performances.
“I do not know if I am going to make a push to clubs, but for now, I am content just seeing college students dance to my music and (studying) hard,” Tambat said.
Montes said Tambat does not want to be the center of attention, but rather loves bringing the music to heighten the energy of the crowd as a whole.
“I do not want to be the guy with the mic just yelling ‘Get your hands up’ the whole time,” Tambat said. “You have to be focused and read the crowd because it is all about the music when it comes down to it, and that is the main thing that I like to focus on.”