DJ duo aims for Ultra

Photo courtesy Go Big Entertainment

A student duo with a passion for hot music is hoping for a little help from their friends as they compete in a DJ competition for the chance to perform at Ultra Music Festival next month.

Seniors Jono Hofgard and Nathan Nabatoff, the DJs behind DBT! – Do Big Things! – are taking part in the DJ Mix Competition. The winner gets to perform a 60-minute set during Ultra, which will run from March 23 to 25 at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami.

The contest, however, only runs through Wednesday. Anyone can enter by uploading a live recording of a set of up to 30 minutes to Mixcloud, an online, on-demand music-sharing platform where listeners can post comments about each submission. The mix competition has attracted entries from around the world.

DBT! said they want their fans to show support by listening on Mixcloud and leaving positive feedback, which will be reviewed by the contest judges to help determine the winner.

“The more hearts, comments and plays we have, the better position we are in to win,”  Hofgard said.

DBT!’s set currently has more than 8,000 plays, 1,000 favorites and 500 comments.

“Our music combines electronic dance music with every other genre to create a fusion, strongly influenced by living in Miami for the past four years,” Nabatoff said. “Our fans call it DBT! music.”

Senior Robbie Allison, one of their UM fans, hopes they make it to the Ultra stage.

“Their unstoppable energy and passion for their music is what draws fans like me to DBT!,” Allison said.

Nabatoff and Hofgard both grew up in northern Virginia, but met as freshman at UM. The two began collaborating musically after they attended Ultra 2010.

“I’ve never experienced anything like my first dance music festival,” Hofgard said.

The two started spinning at some UM student events, including Sigma Phi Epsilon’s formal in spring 2011.

Soon after, the duo started to produce DBT!’s sound. Their first original track, “A.D. Disco,” was selected as a judges’ pick from nearly 2,000 entries in the Indaba Identity Mix Competition in August 2011. Since then, DBT! has performed at local spots such as Treehouse, Nikki Beach, Vice and Louis. Most notably, they opened for DJ and producer Sharam at Mansion nightclub on South Beach.

“We like to put on a show for our fans,” Hofgard said. “It’s fun watching the crowd get hyped to the music we play.”

The Ultra DJ Mix Competition is strongly influenced by the amount of fan activity on the submissions received, though the final verdict is decided by the judges and sponsors, including Ultra Music Festival, Aerial7 and Mixcloud.

“If everyone helps out, we truly have a chance at winning,” Nabatoff said. “If you listen to our music, you won’t regret it!”

February 26, 2012


Elizabeth Duffy

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