The Exciting Lives of Fraternity DJs

The most essential part of a fraternity party is the brother standing at the front of the room playing all of the music: the DJ! The job takes a lot of hard work and dedication, so VALLEY decided to talk to some Penn State DJ’s themselves in order to get their take on the gig, who their inspirations are and how it all came to be.

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Marco Giannilli

Marco Giannilli, a junior studying IST here at Penn State, is the DJ for Phi Kappa Theta, otherwise known as Phi Who. Marco says that the coolest thing about being the DJ for Phi Who is all of the people he gets to meet.

So many people i’ve never met before are just interested in the DJ and what they do, so i’ve made a lot of good connections and overall met really good people from doing this.

According to Giannilli, every DJ has at one or two go-to songs to get the party started. When asked what his songs were, Giannilli responded with Dreams and Nightmares by Meek Mill, as well as Levels vs. No Hands, a mashup of artists Waka Flocka Flame and Avicii on Soundcloud.

“Avicii’s music is iconic all over the world,” says Giannilli. “Anything by him gets people hyped.”

Giannilli has been passionate about music for a while but says his passions for it really picked up when he came to Penn State and saw his peers engaging in it.

“As soon as I entered Penn State, I saw multiple people who were DJ’s and they said it was the most fun thing they ever did. I’ve always liked music, so I figured it would be a super fun hobby to pick up. I’ve never looked back since,” says Giannilli.

Marco’s dedication to his music doesn’t go unnoticed. Ben Borus, a Sophomore at Penn State, is one of Marco’s many fraternity brothers who is in full support of his aspirations.

“Every time I’m in Marco’s room, I see him making music,” says Borus. “He’s just really dedicated to it. He’s one of the best young DJ’s in the State College area. He’ll go far.”

Image courtesy of Marco Giannilli.

Marwan Ibrahim

VALLEY took the party over to another DJ — one who is not exclusive to a specific fraternity. Marwan Ibrahim, known professionally as Mar1, ranges from our local frat parties to big name music festivals such as Firefly.

“I started making edits and remixes of my favorite songs back in high school and DJing was the best way for me to perform the songs I made in the studio,” says Ibrahim. “I used to always watch live-streams and after-movies of music festivals, and that in a way inspired me and drove me to hone my craft because performing at some of these festivals was one of my goals.”

Ibrahim says that his long term goals as a producer and a DJ is to continue improving his sound and style, as well as continue to push the limits to what an artist can do so that he can pave a way for other artists that are going to come after him. Marwan wants to represent his country, Egypt, through the music he makes and through the music he performs on the festival stages.

Ibrahim says that it’s hard for him to choose one DJ to be his favorite, as he is inspired by all of the DJ’s he follows. However, he can safely say he looks up to The Chainsmokers the most because they stepped outside of their comfort zones and managed to get through a lot of obstacles in their career.

“When they first started everyone thought they were just two basic DJs with a one hit wonder,” says Ibrahim. “However, they managed to put themselves out there and experiment with new sounds which eventually allowed them to achieve unimaginable success. This is something I truly admire as an artist. I hope someday I can do the same.”


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