Student by day, DJ by night: DJ Tickles tells all

July 21, 2017

When it comes to school choice, Jasper Lipscomb is undecided. Heading into his junior year, he has a choice between returning to Desert Academy or home schooling. When it comes to his other life, as DJ Tickles, he knows what he wants. He has been DJing for about seven years and, in collaboration with Warehouse 21, hosts an electronic-music radio show called DAW Days on Ground Zero Radio broadcasting KSFR 101.1.

What sort of events have you played for?

Jasper Lipscomb: I did a couple of really cringy birthday parties. I think my first gig was for my friend and they were all into mainstream music, and I was there playing this really underground electronic music and it didn’t exactly work out. I also did a fundraiser, and a couple times I just DJed outside of Warehouse 21 for open houses. In April, I DJed for this event they were doing for a collective called the Oasis Blacklight Party.

What or who were your early musical passions and influences? Did any particular DJ inspire you?

I think the first electronic music song I heard was from this dubstep artist called Bar9, he was a pretty early artist in the whole dubstep scene. At first I really didn’t like it, there was a lot more discord and noise than the music I was listening to at that time. I then started getting into other electronic music like house and techno and I was a lot more into those because they were more melodic. A little later, I was introduced to a mainstream artist Skrillex, and I was still a little bit on the fence about him. Eventually, I was introduced to someone who really inspired me to get into techno music — MitiS — and what he was doing really had me wondering, “How do I get involved in this music and contribute to the community?”

What’s challenging about being a teen trying to make it in the music business?

I’d say the hard thing is getting booked for events because it needs to be organized for a teen since most of these events that go on are, like, 18-plus or 21-plus events so you can’t really get in. So because of this, the events that are planned are pretty sparse, and we live in a super-small city, too. That stuff makes it really hard.

Is this a career that you would like to pursue as an adult?

I’d like to get into something audio-related whether that be for film, doing soundscapes, or getting into radio. I’m trying to get an internship at Hutton Broadcasting right now, but I couldn’t say that I wouldn’t want to have some type of career in audio, DJing or production, if possible.

How do you put together your sets when preparing for a show?

It honestly comes from random practice for me. If I’m just taking a certain EDM [electronic dance music] genre or sub-genre of EDM, I practice some stuff and if I get a really good flow of songs going, I look at what I just played and start developing it into a set. Another thing I can do is take a song that I think is a good opener for a set and build everything around that. For my radio show, I have a mix planned that’s something around 15 [minutes] to 20 minutes, and then an interview and a mix done by the person I interviewed.

What’s the most exciting part about being a DJ?

There’s a lot of things. It’s not quite like analog performing where you literally have an instrument. I just like grooving to the music with a bunch of other people and helping them have fun.

What has been your most memorable experience on the job?

At the the very end of a set, I don’t know if it was my friend or somebody else, but once I just finished the song somebody was like, “Yeah, DJ Tickles!” and everybody screamed, “Yeah!” Originally I was going to go with the name DJ JJ since my name is Jasper, but it sounded a little clunky to me. I was sitting on a subwoofer and I was kind of curled up where I was feeling all the base through my body, and it was just like a moment where I said in a really funny voice, “Oh, that tickles.” And then I thought it was funny to come up with DJ Tickles. I went to look it up that night, and I saw there was not a DJ Tickles out there so I snagged that name.

What are some of your other hobbies?

I like criticizing and studying films. I mean, I’m a teenage boy, so obviously video games are a hobby. I kind of like building computers and dealing with technology hardware.

Any advice for teens on following their passions?

As somebody who is still kind of struggling with motivation for pursuing something I like, I guess if you really want to do it, you’ll know it. You’ll really want to be committed to it, you won’t just want to half-ass it. Another good thing would be collaborating with somebody who knows more about your passion than you do.

Sakara Griffin is a senior at Santa Fe High. Contact her at sakara8823@gmail.com.