Tyler Lasdon feels most comfortable onstage, getting a crowd on their feet and dancing to the music he mixes and plays behind his DJ booth.
Although he is only a 15-year-old, the Hart High School sophomore already has a following and growing business within the DJ industry in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Lasdon estimates he has DJed at nearly 200 events for audiences young and old since he began his company, “Mixes with DJ TY” three and a half years ago.
Getting into the industry
When he was 12 years old, Lasdon became interested in the live-sound side of music and performance. After a trip to Guitar Center’s DJ room with his father, Lasdon was hooked.
“I started out with a super small pioneer board, and from there the company has grown,” Lasdon said.
Lasdon realized he wanted to start a DJ company after a successful event DJing at a family backyard party in Simi Valley, Calif.
“I thought, ‘wow if I’m doing this and having such a great time, then why not create a company out of it?’” he said.
Reading the crowd
At first, he was shy booking events and fearful speaking to crowds on a microphone; however, after working with Graham Silver of Silvertunes Entertainment, he became more comfortable on the mic and in front of audiences.
“He is one of my mentors. He taught me how to interact with the audience since that was his specialty,” Lasdon said. “I definitely have gotten better on the mic and interacting with the audience.”
As his comfort grew on stage, so did his awareness of his crowds.
“The music selection is everything, you have to read the crowd,” Lasdon said. “As I’ve developed as a DJ, I’ve been able to read the crowd better and that’s played a large part in getting people up on the dance floor.”
His keen sense of his audience is what has made him a hit with children, teens and adults throughout the Santa Clarita Valley and San Fernando Valley.
“We’ve been doing it long enough now that we’re getting re-bookings; we’re being asked back,” said Alicia Lasdon, Tyler Lasdon’s mom.
Interest in technology
One of Lasdon’s favorite parts of the DJ industry is its continual technological advances in software and equipment.
“The technology advances for the DJ industry are really great right now,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun learning the new technology since there’s so much out there.”
Lasdon just purchased a new Denon DJ board that includes screens within the device for mixing, eliminating the need for the traditional, additional laptop.
The 15-year-old is nearly fluent in Ableton, a software music sequencer and digital audio work station that few adults, let alone teens know and understand.
“When I first bought the software the guys at the store told me to come back and teach them how it works because they had absolutely no idea,” Lasdon said.
His understanding of the software was entirely self-taught through YouTube videos, conversations and customer service calls.
“It was all just learning as I go,” he said.
Lasdon sometimes incorporates light shows into his DJ performances or in videos on his YouTube channel through a midi-controller that interacts with Ableton Live.
“You can instantly plug something in and it instantly becomes a new artistic tool,” he said. “You can program that to do anything you want it to do… you can create light shows with it.”
Balance with school
With many events occurring late at night or during the school week, Lasdon has to find a way to balance his real work with his school work.
He said that the William S. Hart Union High School District’s use of Google classroom and his teachers’ understanding have allowed him to continue to book gigs during the school year.
“A lot of my teachers are super flexible with me because they know what I’m doing with this,” he said.
The experience performing in front of large crowds has also made it easier for the teenager to speak in class and give presentations.
Although all of Lasdon’s teachers know of his DJ company, not many of his peers do.
“Not a lot of kids really know about me doing this,” he said. “I’ll mention it or they’ll see pictures on Instagram and they’re kind of surprised.”
When students at Hart High learn of Lasdon’s business, they are supportive and ask him to work their next party or event.
Creating his own music
Recently, Lasdon began creating his own music using his personal home studio, complete with a computer, monitors, a large DJ board, a production table and a DJ table.
“I have a small studio set up in my bedroom that I use to create music and beats and trying to figure out song placement,” he said.
The hardest part of creating new music for Lasdon was mastering elements in pre-production to learn the basics on creating a song based on where the harmony, melody and beat drop is.
“That’s such a technical thing and each artist has their own way of doing it,” Lasdon said. “It’s about what your personal spin on music is and how do you want to be heard.”
Ultimately, Lasdon hopes to create an EDM or pop dance track that gains popularity throughout the county to follow a path like one of his inspirations, Martin Garrix.
“He created his entire set through Abelton, the same exact program I did, and he published it with a record company and it was huge,” Lasdon said. “So I’m working on submitting something to that same record company and hopefully get something out of it.”
Lasdon is also interested in exploring a career path in producing and audio design, with DJing still being in the mix. Until then, Lasdon will continue to perform throughout Southern California and develop new tracks in his bedroom studio.
“The house is too quiet without music playing nonstop,” Alicia Lasdon said.
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_