My name is Matas and I’m the current president of the Leeds Beckett CUE DJ Society. Growing up, music was always a big part of my life. Whenever I was doing something that didn’t require conversation, like traveling or working, I would always have my earphones on, cycling through my favourite tracks. It allowed me to stop paying attention to the time and just get lost inside the music while my body moved on autopilot.
It took me some time, and a degree in finance, before I realised that what I really enjoyed was making music. I started learning more about production, experimenting and exploring as I went along. I slowly transitioned from Hip Hop to electronic music before eventually purchasing my first DJ mixer and some cheap controllers.
About half a year from then, I got accepted to do a masters in music production at Leeds Beckett and instantly started searching for any music related societies. That’s when I first noticed the CUE DJ society and knew it would be something I would be a part of. When I enrolled onto my course, I went to the Fresher’s Fair and met with Dumi and Mario, the president at the time, and signed myself up.
I was still a beginner, I’d never played to an audience, and I relied on the sync button at home. But the great thing about the society was that they welcomed and taught everyone. Mario organised a one on one lesson with me at the BOP DJ store and I remember the first time I touched some Pioneer decks. I didn’t know what I was doing but it just felt right. All those years of listening to music, subconsciously processing and internalising, finally started to make sense. I was addicted. I went home and practiced every day for hours, just beat matching, training my ear, mixing the songs I had over and over and over again.
The society runs an open deck event once a week from 4pm-8pm on stage 2 by the SU City Bar. After a few weeks of practice, I finally got the confidence to come down to the open decks, get on stage and try my hand at mixing in front of people. I was nervous, sweating but excited. The moment came and passed in a flash. It was the most fun I’d had in forever. I came back every week since.
Since Mario and Dumi were graduating in the summer, I put myself forward to be the new president. I felt it was an incredible opportunity for students to learn how to DJ and get practice on stage performing in front of people and it would have been a really great shame if it no longer existed.
This year, we have kept the tradition going and we are continuing the weekly open deck sessions at the SU City Bar. These have been held on Fridays and will continue on Thursdays from November, 4pm-8pm. We also offer DJ lessons for newcomers and even have some music production streaming classes planned. On top of that, the focus this year is to provide our members with even more opportunities to play in front of people. We have teamed up with the SU as much as possible, playing at Varsity, the Hive launch parties and UG Open Days, but are also collaborating with other societies, universities, the Gym Group and even The Old Red Bus Station to play at various events throughout the year!
As crazy as it may sound, I have gained so many more connections, skills and direction in life through participating in the society along with my course. When you’re around people who share the same interests and passion as you, you are bound to meet some great friends, as I definitely have. So if there’s an interest you have, I would definitely recommend finding a society, or starting your own, and get involved!