Penn State Junior Bobby Santoni, known for his mashups and mixes, is a talented and self-taught DJ looking to break into the music industry. Performing under the stage name “FVNTM,” he draws inspiration from successful EDM artists like Martin Garrix, Avicii and more. Having already played gigs throughout both Penn State and Towson University, he hopes to one day turn his hobby from part-time to full-time.
A Self-Taught Mindset
Santoni had always loved listening to music, but it wasn’t until the summer before his freshman year of college that he started to create his own. Inspired by his hometown roommate who would make mixes on GarageBand, he decided to give music a try. It wasn’t easy at first — in fact, his first track took over two weeks to make — but he didn’t let it discourage him. “I realized that I was awful at first, but I really enjoyed doing it so I kept taking steps up, teaching myself from YouTube videos, learning different music theory and keys, stuff like that.” It was that summer where he bought his first DJ board that would lead him to create originals of his own, serving as the base for his SoundCloud presence; which currently racks in over a half million plays and over 400 followers.
From Low-Key To Life Of the Party
Growing up in high school, Santoni was more on the introverted side of things — preferring a night in playing Xbox with his buddies over a typical high school party any day. Things changed, however, in his first year of college after rushing a fraternity and pursuing his love for music more and more. “Knowing that i was good at DJing and figuring out that I could do it, it really did break me out of my shell,” he said. “I really figured out how to cater to the masses, make sure everybody has fun and have a blast myself.”
Now, Santoni lives for the weekend, spending most of his free time behind the DJ table for gigs ranging from frat parties to formals and more. His largest performance to this day was a New Year’s Eve performance in front of a crowd of almost 2,000 people. Reflecting on the night with a smile spread across his face, he admitted it was “probably the best night of his life.”
With performing comes a sort of “performer’s high,” a feeling that rises the second an artist takes the stage. “Watching people dance to stuff that I’ve made is the craziest feeling ever,” he said. “That’s the main reason I started making original tracks rather than just playing tracks that other people have made, because it gives a personal aspect to it.”
Finding His Sound
In a world where music groups like Two Friends have taken over the mashup scene, Santoni knows that in order to succeed, his music has to stand out. “A DJ is not gonna make it unless they make their own original stuff from scratch,” he said. “So that’s my current goal right now, to find my sound and establish and execute it towards a track, that way I can monetize it, sell it to a label.”
Taking inspiration from EDM artists such as Avicii, Hardwell and Mike Williams, it’s no surprise that, when asked if he could describe his sound in two words, he responded with “super energetic.” “I’m just trying to get people to have a good time,” he said. “If I had to play a one hour set of my ideal music, it would be energetic stuff that people can sing or dance to at the same time.”
Though finding a unique sound isn’t the easiest task, staying motivated and inspired is easy when it comes to the strong support system Santoni has. “Between my parents and the kids in my house that support me, it really makes it easy to keep making stuff and be comfortable playing it without having to worry about any backlash,” he said. “It’s a big plus.”
Looking Toward the Future
Though creating music is just a hobby for now, Santoni has high hopes for a future in the industry. “There’s always been that thought in the back of my mind that I could go somewhere with this.” Thinking realistically, he knows the journey to a full-time career won’t be easy and is focusing on one small, attainable goal at a time. Having already performed gigs all throughout State College and Maryland and gained attention for his mixes and mashups, the next goal atop his Penn State bucket list is to perform at THON. “I’ve been trying for years, and it would mean the absolute world to my org and THON family to see me on the stage.”
Persistence has been key in Santoni’s music career thus far, and he doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. Epitomizing the phrase of “practice makes perfect,” he learns and creates new sounds each and every day, keeping the goal of taking his talents full-time in his head at all times. “Once I start getting connections and opening for bigger DJ’s, I definitely think that this could be something more than a hobby,” he said. “ I’m working hard on it. But for now, I’m working in silence.”