Penn’s premier DJ and producer group, The Collctve, is offering a new opportunity to learn more about music.
Lessns is a series of workshops run by The Collctve to teach students interested in the industry. The two main organizers of Lessns, Engineering junior Jerry Chang and College junior Dennis Dang, said that, given the often-intimidating nature of the music world, they are looking to lower the barrier to entry for interested musicians.
Early in the semester, more than 80 students applied to be part of the Lessns program — and of that pool, around 40 were accepted into three different sub-workshops: DJing, producing and drumming.
“The Collctve is a group of ‘creatives.’ We are a home for good music and want to bring good music to the community,” Wharton sophomore Aayush Sanghrajka said.
Sanghrajka and Wharton sophomore Matthew Mizbani are the co-presidents of The Collctve. They both joined the group as freshmen after experiences with music in high school.
“I DJed in high school, but I came to Penn not really sure if I could pursue it further,” Mizbani, a former Daily Pennsylvanian video producer, said. “But The Collctve came along and I took it as an opportunity to do different things from the normal.”
Mizbani saw The Collctve as an alternative experience that one wouldn’t normally find at Penn, prompting his initial decision to join the group.
Chang and Dang added that each Lessns group includes about five people, and they’ve just started getting to work on teaching the material and creating projects.
The club is looking to expand its influence throughout Philadelphia by DJing for other events on campus and throughout the city.
“We did an art gallery event a few weeks ago,” Mizbani said. “It was just a bunch of people [appreciating the] art and listening to really cool music.”
The group also is opening for WRLD + Smle — a collaborative concert between the EDM groups WRLD and Smle — on March 23 at Coda in Center City, after having recently opened for Cosmo’s Midnight at the same venue on Feb. 21.
The Collctve has also expanded its presence across the country. Students at the University of Southern California recently contacted the group and expressed their interest in starting another “chapter” of The Collctve on their own campus. The Collctve supported these students in their efforts, and the USC offshoot group had its first event in late February.
“We’ve had a lot of growth this year,” Mizbani said. “There are more social events, opportunities to perform and new members.”
The Collctve was founded two years ago by College senior Michael Palamountain. It began with just five members, but now there are 24 official members of the group. There are many different divisions of the club, including rapping, DJing and marketing.
“We’re excited by how Lessns is going so far, and we think it will expand even more next semester,” Sanghrajka said. “The Collctve is growing so much.”
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