Social functions at the College have somewhat of a slapdash atmosphere – there is an open dorm, someone plugs an old playlist into an aux cord, the lights are turned off and everyone is expected to just sort of roll with it. Eventually, Justin Sardo ’18 got tired of it. “My friends and I love to dance,” he said. “If there’s a dance party on campus, we’re there. That being said, the music is usually significantly sub-par at on-campus events. I wanted to fix that.”
Taking matters into his own hands, Sardo started the Electric Collective last fall, recruiting local DJ Bryan Bailey ’19 (also known as DJ BryGuy) to help him run the show.
When talking about group’s formation, Bailey says that he and Sardo “clicked musically and with our vision for the campus electronic music scene, so we’ve been meeting almost weekly ever since to discuss music and our plans to help people get up and get down.”
Aside from their shared passion for electronic dance and house music, Bailey and Sardo have a mutual appetite for a groovy and eccentric aesthetic, that kind of night where everything gets weird, but in a good way – the kind of unexpected weird that leaves you and your friends all laughing, wondering where that came from and hoping to see it again. “Williams is great, but its nightlife is lacking,” Sardo said. “The Electric Collective is my remedy. It’s a way to throw intimate parties at which people can feel comfortable getting down and dirty.” Do not show up to an Electric Collective event and expect to just stand around a punch bowl.
For the Electric Collective, however, this is not thought of as a one-time hairball experience that happens during the late night thralls of a Winter Study haze. Sardo explains that Electric Collective events are not meant to be your run-of-the-mill wall-to-wall meat-packing party that students have come to expect from off-campus events. “Our events are meant to be intimate. I have a single speaker and a black light and that’s it. We want the focus of our events to be on awesome new music that people haven’t necessarily heard before. That’s not going to appeal to everybody. We want a crowd that is okay getting out of their comfort zone and vibing to something that is not a middle school throwback.”
Sardo is describing as much a social event as he is an opportunity to party almost productively. After so many nights of casually roaming from house to house, the Electric Collective seems to provide a space in which you can plant yourself for the night, walking away feeling as though you’ve not only had fun and boogied down, but that you’ve never boogied as hard or gotten down as low as you had before. “The mission is to consistently provide the campus with a place to enjoy and dance to electronic music, with the DJs of the EC [Electric Collective] providing the soundtrack to the night,” Bailey said.
The Electric Collective has already started making itself a known presence on campus. “Bryan and I are both WCFM DJs,” Sardo said. “It was WCFM that got me interested in playing good music for an audience and WCFM that makes me want to constantly be on the search for new music that people haven’t heard before.”
It is clear that Bailey is serious about his DJing. By performing his own live mixes, he is deliberately shifting away from the passive performance of the party-playlist disk jockey who presses play and nods his head, expecting everyone to groove while he basically makes sure the phone stays plugged in.
In terms of the future of the organization, Sardo and Bailey are exploring a two-fold approach. One of these goals is to enlarge their number of DJs. “We are looking to grow the [Collective] by training more DJs next fall, so that there are events with DJs rotating in with different styles every week. We hope to be the Collective that is thought of when people want to hire us for their parties because they enjoy good music that we work hard on putting together and performing,” Bailey said. To add to their rotation of DJs would diversify the perspective of electronic music provided by the club and would provide a greater base in the community, drawing from different social groups across campus.
Furthermore, the Collective hopes to expand upon its typical venues. “Our events have been late-night dance parties in social rooms around campus, but we are looking to be DJing block parties once the weather gets nice, as well as shorter pop-up shows during the week if people are looking to relieve stress with music and dancing,” Bailey said. Certainly, the more different types of events the club can slap their name on, the greater prowess they will attain.
At the end of the day, Sardo expressed the tenacity and excitement that the Electric Collective is bringing to the College community. “We want to be the weekly destination,” he said. “We’re also hoping to expand to outdoor parties as well. There’s no event that can’t be made better with music and the Electric Collective is here to provide that.” The Electric Collective is not the voice of those interested in the esoterica of electronic music, but rather that of the social community at the College.