Senior Louis Inglese has played at Clam Jam, giving inebriated, fun-loving Fairfield seniors a bass-heavy backdrop to their end-of-the-year debauchery. He’s played from the balcony of a Lantern Point beach house, his mixes carrying euphoric sounds over a sea of students adorned in colorful clothing celebrating different countries for the Beer Olympics. And last Saturday, on April 12, he opened for Spanish EDM stars Chus & Ceballos at Pacha, a popular nightclub in New York known for hosting the likes of DJs and producers Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki and Victor Calderone.

For Inglese, Pacha was by far his largest venue with the most prominence — and a different setting than his bedroom, where he first started mixing his own tracks.  At around age 12 or 13, Inglese was listening to Axwell and Steve Angello, DJs and producers who have greatly influenced his style and still remain his favorites today. After getting exposed to a variety of electronic music, at 16, he thought, “Maybe I’ll give this a shot.”

The Brooklyn native — “DJ Lou” to his peers at Fairfield — pulled together “the cheapest equipment” he could find and then retreated to his room and mixed records, experimenting with music even while having “no idea what I was doing,” he says. He reached out to a friend, DJ Dom Tufaro, who showed him more techniques for mixing music. He’d look at his favorite DJs and try to decipher their technique and sounds.

The journey to this point had its ups and downs, but nothing that Inglese regrets doing. Once getting to Fairfield, he remembers annoying club promoters, asking if he could play for maybe a half hour. Some said yes, some said no. He played sets at New Haven’s Elevate and a small lounge in NYC once. “Whatever I could find,” he says. “I was just trying to get my foot in the door.”

In his sophomore and junior years, he met more people and they’d ask him to play longer sets, with pay. After that, he was getting calls from promoters and people in the city. “This summer was definitely a big turning point to me,” Inglese says.

After playing at the W Hotel in NYC, a promoter noticed his talent and contacted him about a gig at Pacha. Inglese didn’t hear back until after he performed at the Greenhouse in South Village.

Once seeing the word “Pacha” in the subject line, Inglese says, “I didn’t even read the email at first. I said ‘yes’ right away.”

For him, producing and playing music go hand in hand, but he can’t say if he likes one activity over the other. “There’s no really wrong way or right way to [produce music].” Everyone has a different way of composing music, but Inglese is inspired by new music and his favorite artists.

Though schoolwork has gotten in the way of producing music lately (Inglese is an accounting major), he plans to make more music in the summer.

When Inglese does gigs, he likes being surrounded by people and feeding off their energy. He switches up his music depending on the crowd; Fairfield audiences usually like more commercial music, while NYC crowds boast a larger palette for both strands of EDM. Inglese doesn’t label himself commercial or underground and sometimes feel like the arguments about what’s “good” or “bad” distracts people from appreciating the music that so many DJs put out.

“People tend to pick sides … but this is one-sided. People need to learn that just because … you don’t like a certain artist doesn’t mean they’re not talented. You just have to realize that it’s not your style,” he says.

Dance music, simply, “is really good music when it’s high energy and makes people come together,” he adds.

Inglese will graduate in one month. The future is unforeseeable, he says, but he’ll continue producing and playing music because he likes it.

“I don’t know where it’s gonna go,” Inglese continues. “I didn’t even think it was going to get this far. [But] the main focus is school, getting a regular job.” Inglese will work on his master’s degree in the Dolan School of Business Graduate Programs.

He credits his girlfriend, Francesca, and friends who come out to his shows for supporting his career so far. He says, laughing, “My family likes what I do, as long as I do my schoolwork.”

His next gig? In less than two weeks, he’ll play at Clam Jam again. “People will hear things they haven’t heard from me before,” he says.

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