Colby’s most in demand DJ

Club Viper, Waterville’s hottest nightclub, is notorious for hosting Colby’s most energetic Thursday nights. Colorful lights flash back and forth, illuminating the dance floor flooded with fun-loving Colby students dancing the night away. Responsible for the movement of the crowd is none other than Colby senior Tony Karalekas, also known as DJ Tonedeff.

Senior Tony Karalekas aka DJ Tonedeff can be found at any number of the downtown bars, setting the pace – and the beat – for a fun night on the town.

“The name DJ Tonedeff was actually a joke at first,” Tony laughed. “I did acapella my freshman year and I was the worst singer in the group and they called me tone deaf so DJ Tonedeff is kind of a play off of that.”

However, the name DJ Tonedeff has no negative connotations. Not only do Colby students love seeing a familiar face behind the DJ booth, they also go crazy for the beats DJ Tonedeff mixes. “His music is fire,” said Natalie Oakes ’18. “It’s always a great night when he’s the DJ.”

Karalekas is from Naples, Florida and is majoring in Economics with a concentration in Financial Markets. He plays basketball and is a member of Mayflower Hill Capital, a student-run investment fund. So how did he become Colby’s most popular DJ?

His sophomore year, Karalekas was injured while playing basketball and wanted to find something to fill his time. “I’ve always been interested in music,” Karalekas said. That spring, he attended Ultra Music Festival in Miami and was inspired to learn more about electronic music. During graduation week that year, he purchased a mixer from a senior, and spent the summer playing around with it, learning the ins and outs of the technology. “I was just messing around at first but it became more than I ever thought it would,” Karalekas said.

In the fall of his junior year, Karalekas emailed Club Viper to see if they would be interested in having him DJ a bar night. “They loved the idea and it was then that I realized I had to get serious about it and it just developed from there,” Karalekas said. As he began to do more and more Viper shows, Student Government Association started to ask Karalekas to DJ Colby events as well, such as Fall Ball. Now, DJ Tonedeff performs at every Colby bar night at Viper and gets paid to do something he loves. He had his first Cancun performance on Sept. 28. Cancun has recently revitalized their space and is equipped with a dance floor, perfect for DJ Tonedeff’s energizing sets. Thanks to Karalekas, the night was a hit, and students were raving about how fun Cancun was.

In addition to Colby events and bar nights, DJ Tonedeff has performed at a few frat parties at Cornell, where two of his good friends go to school. Karalekas laughed remembering one of the Cornell parties, “It was a pretty big night and the house was super full and they had this crazy speaker system. It was so loud that the cops came and they actually debated writing me up for causing the rowdiness of the party. It all ended up being fine but it was funny that I could have gotten in trouble for the party.”

Many people wonder whether or not Karalekas misses out on the actual party or bar night when he’s the DJ, but he loves it. “It’s a great way to still be involved in the party and enjoy a night out without having to really go crazy,” Karalekas said. “It’s really fun because I have a pretty good pulse on the music Colby students like to hear and it’s great seeing everyone get excited about a song I put on. I just want people to have fun.”

For DJ Tonedeff, the hardest part of being a DJ is dealing with song requests from the crowd. Being such a friendly member of the Colby community, students have no problem running up to the DJ booth and eagerly asking Tony to play their favorite song. What students don’t understand, is that it’s a lot harder to work in requests than one might think. A nightly set is not just a random assortment of songs, but is organized around different levels of beats per minute (BPM). “You start with a lower BPM and then work up to the highest BPM at the peak of the night and then back down towards the end of the night. It aims to match the crowd’s heartbeat. I love requests but if it’s not in the right BPM of the moment it’s hard to work in,” explains Karalekas.

While Karalekas loves the occasional DJ gig, he’s not planning on making a career of it. “If you want to get into the music industry you have to know how to do more than just mix. You have to be able to make songs. I definitely want to keep doing it as a casual hobby though,” Karalekas said. 

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