Say the name Cheyne Kulessa on Misericordia’s campus and you’re bound to get some pretty interesting reactions. Lucky for me, I got an interview on the spur of the moment and a musical Monday evening.
The scene was all too familiar, yet welcoming and nostalgic as I walked into Cheyne’s apartment building. His roommates resembled zombies, attacking their video game controllers and ambushing their opponents during their heroic Call’s of Duty. I walked over to one of the trigger happy zombies who slowly awakened from his video game induced trance and greeted me with a acknowledging embrace. I am no stranger to this building. This building holds a lot of memories for me and even better friends.
I’m not sure exactly how or when me and Cheyne crossed paths, and in all honesty, it’s probably my fault why I don’t remember. But Cheyne himself is truly unforgettable. Both as a person and a DJ/ Producer.
Two seconds into any given conversation and you can’t hope but notice his energy is infectious and bouncing off the walls. I’m talking the kind of elicit energy similar to that of a hyperactive toddler who just chugged their parent’s precious red bull and finished it all of with a few obese lines of pixy-stick dust. Yes, the hype is real.
All hyperactive toddlers in time out and aside, because it is this same energetic presence that Cheyne’s musical mastermind is able to showcase within his vibrant music. This distinct creative energy directly resonates with his own sense of vitality, hard-work and dedication. His one of a kind style combines key elements from “electro house, tech house, and jungle.”
After my brief zombie encounter, I then casually entered Cheyne’s domain, which is full of two things. First off, even Stevie Wonder couldn’t miss all of the musical equipment… There’s a shhh ton of speakers, a respectable digital DJ setup, an alluring beat pad that mesmerizes me with it’s flashing bright green color scheme, and two large screens that display the intelligent musical patterns Cheyne once created inside of his mind and has now rendered into a enticing reality.. Oh, there’s quite a few PT books laying around because this particular industrious “old sport” is working hard in Graduate school. He tell’s me he’s been “turning down” his turn up, in complete devotion to his studies. I see you Cheyne.
Our interview immediately starts off with a few laughs, as I try to decide where to place the recorder. Leave it up to Cheyne, because he’s found the perfect spot on his computer desk, right next to the pretty beat pad I’ve had my eyes on…We start to discuss Cheyne’s roots and where it all started. He informs me he studied a course in music technology that was offered during his high school years…And I can’t help but compare his secondary education to my own, I would have KILLED to have a course like music technology in high school..
But that’s beside the point. Cheyne goes on to describe how he got into the scene as a producer and then began dabbling in DJing during college after realizing “that parties happened, like big ones..So I started DJing and playing music that I liked.”
I then decide to push a little bit further, questioning how Cheyne is able to creatively compile all of the songs he’s produced. He has a interesting song he’s made from straight scratch on display on both of his screens. He informs me he’s using the software Ableton to make his magic.
Just exactly how he can do this though remains a mystery. There’s hundreds of little sound bytes laid across the screen, each with their own respective place and layer in the greater scheme of things. A few seconds is all it takes to appreciate the genius behind the music.
I appreciate and then question Cheyne about the workings of his musical mind. He responds emphasizing “experimentation” in reference to both music programming and his artistry as a whole. Ending with sentiments of energy, focus, and drive. Just as I turn my recorder off, he quickly asks me “Do you wanna hear some of my songs?”
I’d be delusional to say no.