The magician behind many of Deerfield’s dances, Peter Pulai ’18 has been DJing for three years. He has DJed for Choate Day, Disco, lock-ins, and opened for the Lost Kings concert last year. Pulai explained why he loves DJing: “I like to make people happy.”
DJing, or disc jockeying, is not an on-the-spot, improvisational task. Pulai stated “[People] think that I can just make a remix on the fly, and that’s not the reality.” DJing focuses on the transitions between songs, varying widely depending on available equipment. He does a lot of his “dirty work” on his computer, in software such as FL Studio, while the actual DJing happens in Serato.
Pulai first encountered the art form at Eaglebrook School. Initially, Pulai had no interest in DJing, although he’d been listening to EDM since elementary school, going so far as to list Avicii’s “Levels” as his favorite song in his sixth grade yearbook.
“I find it amazing how polished Avicii’s songs are,” Pulai asserted. “He’s changed up his style completely… He’s kind of mixed folk music [with EDM].” He cites Martin Garrix as another source of inspiration in regards to both music and work ethic.
Pulai is meticulous in his process. Each song has a different tempo and different key, so layering sound involves curating playlists of songs that work, or can be tweaked in order to work with the beats in the background. The science of the matter, according to Pulai, lies mainly in the tempo.
“If it’s faster than one’s heartbeat, then one will want to move and jump, while anything slower will induce only the bobbing of the head,” Pulai commented.
He also often employs musical drops, spacing them around a minute and a half apart in order to maintain the balance between “hyped” and “frantic.” Pulai can spend anywhere up to two hours a day searching for appropriate music. He maintains a larger master playlist that he carefully pulls from for any performance, trying his best to cater to the majority of the listeners.
Currently, the Student Planning Committee (SPC) and Pulai are collaborating to create a more fulfilling dance experience.
“I think [Pulai’s skills are] honestly amazing,” said SPC member Jada Howard ’19. She has worked with him when organizing previous dances, such as the first dance of the 2016-2017 school year. She continued, “I think it’s cool just seeing a Deerfield student who has that talent, and [the school] giving him the resources and time to do it.”
As with any artist, several figures have provided Pulai with support. Specifically, Pulai accredited Topjor Tsultrim ’18 as “the man behind the curtain” at every dance he DJs. Through both their efforts, the team ensures a “topnotch experience” at all of Deerfield’s dances.
Pulai’s father has also encouraged his son’s DJing career, helping the two performers program the lights and engineer an optimal setup. He designed and built the elaborate truss system that supports the lights and tunes the speakers before each dance.
At the moment, Pulai is enrolled in Deerfield’s music production class, which focuses on a different element each term. Their current topic is music theory, and they will move onto studio production in the winter. He hopes to continue DJing and eventually produce his own music.