Tyler Sherman has been privy to more than a few major ragers, despite the embryonic nature of his DJ career. As his alter ego DJ Munition, the ASU student, who's currently pursing a bachelors degree in chemical engineering, has only been in the track-dropping biz for a mere four years, but has reigned over some crazy 18-and-over crowds during off-the-hook house parties, at the Marquee Theatre while opening for Porter Robinson, and even on a houseboat teeming with frat boys and drunken lasses.
Later tonight, he'll use his mixing mojo to instigate some insanity as one of the headlining DJs at Afterlife's Gangnam Style Party, which is inspired by K-pop star PSY's equally insane worldwide club banger hit of the same name. During our recent conversation with Sherman, the 21-year-old described how he plans use the song to drive the crowd wild at the club during the affair, as well as discussing his love of trance music and how performing topless girls wasn't as cool as being an opener for Robinson.
Name: Tyler Dillon Sherman
AKA: DJ Munition
Preferred genres: I am pretty all over the map. Really depends on the crowd I am playing for. [At] clubs, I'll play hip-hop, current dance, Top 40, house. But my true passion and what I like the most is trance and progressive house.
Where have you performed? I have a weekly gig at Afterlife on Fridays, midnight to 2 a.m. I recently opened for Porter Robinson and Mat Zo at the Marquee for their Language Tour, and also at Sound Wave Music Festival [at] the Redbull MXT Truck stage. Just did a recent [frat] boat party on Lake Pleasant.
How long have you been DJing? Four years on the dot. Started my junior year in high school. I really got into the party scene at pretty much the same time I started DJing. So I had no idea what people really wanted to dance to. Had no flow between genres and [didn't] even think about beatmatching. Didn't have anyone to teach me the ways. I'd hit up everyone who would throw dance parties/house parties. I became progressively better as I would spin for larger crowds.
Which high school? And how epic were these house parties? Mountain View. There was a big dance party scene in high school actually. We built it up over a year at different venues. Had to pay to get in. College was where the house parties got intense.
Explain. In high school, at least at my high school, kids were pretty amateur in the house party business, being mainly a Mormon high school. There wasn't enough flowing of beer or girls getting down to the music as a DJ would want. It seemed like once I moved into a scene of kids who had moved away from home is where I was able to experience DJing for a crowd of ruffians who really knew what they were doing.
So what was the aforementioned boat party all about? A buddy of mine needed help with music for his private frat boat party. Basically, they had their brothers get a ton of hot chicks and party bus shuttled me to Lake Pleasant with 'em to DJ on the second story of the houseboat they rented out for the entire day. That was a crazy college party if I ever did see one.
Drop dime. How crazy was it? Topless drunk girls falling off the side of the boat from sliding on the beer covered deck crazy. With sailor/stripper-esqe looking bartenders making everyone whatever they wanted at the open bar. The center of the boat packed with soaking wet drunk college kids dancing up on each other.
Was there extra pressure since you had a captive, rowdy audience that you had to keep satisfied? People will definitely expect to hear what they want to hear, making lots of requests (especially the early drunk girls). But you are absolutely right, I definitely made sure to figure out right away what the majority of people wanted.
Granted I did have all day to weave in and out of different styles, which is exactly what I did. I feel that at the end of the day everyone got to listen to what they wanted.
What was your Sound Wave experience like? I was so ecstatic to be involved in such a large-scale event. The largest EDM event in Arizona's history. Playing the music I love and seeing people go crazy and loving it just as much as myself on such a banging sound system. And of course the treatment of being able to go wherever I wanted at the event as well as back stage of all the stages. Meeting Seven Lions and Calvin Harris was pretty awesome
Was that the pinnacle of your DJ career thus far? Lineup-wise absolutely. But Porter Robinson was pretty insane though. Better crowd since I was on the main stage.
So you had to win a contest to land that gig? Yes sir! Was a lot of hard work promoting my mix I submitted. Really drained me. But it was a great way to promote myself as well as get onto a show for a guy I have been watching rise to fame for two years.
How have you gotten better as a DJ since your high school days? By understanding to watch the crowd. Listening to people's feedback and reactions. I would ask people about my set all the time afterwards. Also began attending more events with other DJs and listening/watching them. Realizing what works and what doesn't on the dance floor at different times.
Any other tricks you've picked up lately? Taking the crowd by surprise has been an enjoyment of mine lately, especially with oldies they easily recognize with new hits.
For instance? Well, with hip-hop I can't resist dropping "Back That Thang Up" right into "The Motto" then hearing the crowd cheer to an anthem dancing song. Or in trance bringing back a song like "Platinum" that was the anthem for Trance Energy in 2007 with the new Ben Gold remix. I personally think things like that show dynamic in a DJs ability. Being able to flow an older song into a set and making it really work.
What other artists have been finding their way into your mixes lately? Andrew Rayel has really been coming out with some amazing stuff, as well as Ben Gold. Both of those guys can make up easily a third of my hour sets of trance
What's your current favorite track of the moment? Husman, "EDM." It's going to be in my sets for a long time
What's harder: Planning out the perfect mix for a big show or designing a car powered by chemical engineering? I would definitely have to say designing a car. When handling the design of your own power source while juggling so many other perimeters of that type of competition. Getting to read a dancing crowd and play what they want to hear and what I know is fantastic music doesn't quite compare. In fact it never even feels like work for a minute.What will you drop during your set at Afterlife's Gangnam Style party?
Lots of current upbeat tunes that will get your girlfriend to finally want to put on a hot outfit and go out dancing with you.
Like the PSY song or its insane music video? I will, of course, be playing that song and its remixes throughout the night. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, which will make the crowd glad they came. There will be a whole Korean Dance Team with the funky Asian guy himself [a PSY imitator] there rocking hard to the music. And supposedly a video crew will be rolling around getting it all on film.
Are you surprised there hasn't been another "Gangnam Style" party before this, given the song's astronomical popularity? Extremely. I first heard the song three months after it had already come out in Korea, and by then there was already a video up from a concert with what looked like over 300,000 screaming Korean girls filling up this gigantic city square. It was bound to become popular throughout the world. I think this is the first time I have heard a completely non-English/Spanish song on the radio in my lifetime.
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What is it about that effin' song that's so damn catchy? The quirkiness of it really gets to people's "stop-caring-about-what-people-think-and-just-go-crazy" side. The dance sure adds to it's popularity. A lot of songs get popular from just the dance alone, but this one being already so intriguing just makes the dance an extra element to its huge success.
One of PSY's mottos is "dress classy and dance cheesy." Do you expect to see people doing just that or dressing like him? I think a couple brave individuals with a good sense of humor will play the part. Even a few girls will [as well], I am sure. People who go out on a limb to dress extra insane like that always make the party what it is. Get people in the mood for what the event really is about.
The Gangnam Style Party takes place on Friday at Afterlife. Doors open at 10 p.m. Admission is $15 (or $10 for those who dress Gangnam Style costume and arrive before 11).