Electronic music brings students together

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The Electronic Music Club began as a platform to allow electronic music fans to build community with each other. The club now organizes trips together to music festivals, local concerts and clubs.
Photo Credit: Jessica Joseph | Daily Texan Staff

Nothing makes a party worse than a low turn-out and bad playlist, but thankfully that’s something UT’s Electronic Music Club will never have to worry about, since the club is a platform for electronic music fans to make friends and for DJs to develop their skills.

Formed in the spring of 2012, Texas EMC aims to build a community for electronic lovers, ranging from DJs and producers to casual listeners. Though it was originally meant to help electronic artists better hone their craft, the club now welcomes all fans of the genre. Some students even join just to find people to go to concerts with.

Last year, a group of students went to the Electric Daisy Carnival music festival in Las Vegas together. The festival is the largest electronic music event in the United States and notable artists headlined.

Collette Nguyen, president of EMC and education senior, said traveling with a group is beneficial on both a social and financial level. Students learn to manage their budgets and plan for events they want to attend. Nguyen said she has made lifelong friendships through these experiences — she and two other members have matching tattoos and all met in the club. 

“We plan it out ahead of time,” Nguyen said. “The experience is better than material wealth.”  

Although traveling is one of the most exciting social elements of the club, Nguyen said it isn’t always necessary because EMC promotes local concerts and clubs. EMC also gives away tickets to encourage people to join.

“We want to provide as many benefits as we can with this club,“ Nguyen said. “We don’t ask for much and we want to give them more than what they gave us.”

The EMC invites professional DJs, nightclub photographers and other electronic music related artists to meetings for Q&A sessions. They usually visit meetings to discuss the ins and out of the industry and how they made a career out of electronic music. 

Officers also plan monthly parties where members can gain experience DJing for large crowds. Rebecca Munoz, mechanical engineering junior and vice president of EMC, said some members moved up from DJing at EMC events to actual nightclubs. 

“It’s cool to say ‘I remember when you played at this party for the first time and now you’re playing regularly downtown,’” Munoz said. 

For members like Jeremy De Paz, Iberian and Latin-American studies senior and EMC marketing coordinator, the club leads to actual once-in-a-lifetime experiences. In the fall of 2016, De Paz planned Red Bull Play & Destroy, a large scale electronic music event sponsored by Red Bull. After De Paz’s gig, EMC received $1,000 worth of merchandise from Red Bull.

“I searched for this club,” De Paz said. “I thought, ‘I have to be around these people because if they have the same passion for music as me, it’s going to transform my entire college experience’ and it did.”

A popular acronym among electronic dance music listeners is PLUR, which stands for peace, love, unity and respect. Members of the club said the culture associated with the genre is what helps attract like-minded people to the club and is why so many members have made lasting connections. This was especially true for Orlando Hernandez, junior international relations major,  who transferred to UT in the spring of 2016. 

“I think some of the best friendships I have right now, I’ve made through the club,” he said. “I’ve made some lifelong friendships and I’ve only been here for two semesters.”

Although the club currently has around 30 active members, they are looking for more people to share their love for EDM with. Nguyen said the club’s popularity is a result of its friendly and diverse community. 

“Music is kind of the universal language,“ Nguyen said. “It unites everyone. We get really close to each other; we want the club to be like a family.”