From freshman to sophomore year, Andrew Kang hasn’t only risen in seniority — he’s graduated from mashups to Glitch Jockey.
Clad in a blue and green striped sweater, jeans and Nike sneakers, Kang slides his black MacBook Pro out of a SwissGear backpack. An up-and-coming artist who describes himself as a “hybrid” of a DJ, producer and mashup artist, Kang released his second album on May 12, entitled STRTDAPRTY MIXTAPE: WHO THE F*** IS GIRL TALK?
“I’m not calling out Girl Talk or even comparing myself to him as a mashup artist,” explains Kang. “It really identifies the audience and ideas associated with the album… [it’s] really approachable for any listener of any genre of music. So, if you by chance have never heard of Girl Talk… I tried to present it in a way that moves mashup culture more into the mainstream listening audience.”
Kang’s transition from “strictly a mashup artist” to “Glitch Jockey” was a growth process from his freshman to sophomore year. The name “Glitch Jockey” combines Kang’s interests in DJing and mashups — before they were “mashups,” he explains, they were known as “glitch pop.”
“After really spending this year trying to further a unique sound, I’ve realized the mashup artist description didn’t quite define exactly what I do,” he says, citing production value and practicality of DJing for live shows.
In pursuit of his DJ ambitions, the triple-threat political science major, BIP minor and IMC certificate candidate works at a desk that reflects his musical aspirations.
“If you ask my friends, they’ll tell you I’m always doing music more than I am doing work,” Kang laughs. “I leave my DJ equipment on my desk and I’ll work on my bed, but that just gives you an idea of where my priorities are.”
The driving force behind STRTDAPRTY MIXTAPE was Kang’s loss at Mayfest’s 2009 Battle of the DJs.
“I was a freshman just trying to get my music out to anyone who would listen to it,” he explains. “I lost to this DJ that basically played the Super Mash Bros. and E-603 albums during his entire set…. About 70 percent of being a DJ is doing exactly what he did — I was simply outplayed,” he says.
Kang maintains an original flavor as a mashup artist. Through his musical development from his first album, Panic and Paranoia: The Catastrophic Mixdown, Kang is still working to nail down a distinct sound.
“It’s schizophrenic,” he says with a glimmer in his eye. “It’s like controlled schizophrenia. I’m not on any label, so I’m just experimenting and seeing what works. I enjoy that freedom — I’m a college kid.”
Freedom is an important aspect of creating mashups — cutting, mixing and blending songs together in an innovative manner goes hand in hand with a fresh approach. With expressive hands and his head bobbing, Kang describes the process of a Glitch Jockey mashup.
“I first count the beats per minute (BPM),” he explains. “The biggest thing to match up is the drum beat. Then I go through my iTunes library and from there, it’s really just trial and error. I’ll actually put the tracks on my turntables and mix and cut there.”
STRTDAPRTY MIXTAPE echoes sounds characteristic of a DJ mix, while interspersed with instrumental consistency and song transitions that exemplify Kang’s minimalist approach to music.
“I’m not going to change the song as you know it,” he says. “I’m gonna play you that song the way you know it, but the rhythm’s gonna stay the same and all of a sudden when the song changes, you’re still gonna be in that rhythm.” Kang said. “I take ‘Tik Tok’ from Kesha and move it into ‘Forever’ by Chris Brown, you know? Everything’s punching the same way and then it just switches.”
Kang’s development as the Glitch Jockey is borne out of the entire mashup culture as a whole. With its own unique dynamic, the underground mashup scene breeds new artists every week; Kang points to E-603, Super Mash Bros., Girl Talk, the Hood Internet and White Panda as examples of artists who have become more mainstream.
“It’s really interesting to see, because people have been doing this for years,” says Kang. “It never stuck. It was like, ‘oh it’s a nice hobby.’ It really took Girl Talk to make it like, ‘hey, we can actually perform, we can actually headline concerts.’”
While still exploring his sound and overall musical identity, Kang’s mashup tastes continue to teeter between the Top 40 genre and Flo Rida’s style. Yet behind the talent, drive and ambition, Kang remains humble.
“At the end of the day, this is my passion, my hobby,” he says. “To be able to share what I do with other people is more than I could have ever asked for.”
Want to know more about Glitch Jockey’s set-up? Click the stars below.