A background in music is exactly what I found in the DJ Matthew Future, the techno-producing alter ego of the mild-mannered Marquette student Freter. Admittedly electronic music is not normally in my forte. I listen to a little bit of Deadmau5 and Avicii, but I am far more likely to listen to garage rock like The Strokes or The Libertines, even a little bit of hip hop like Nas or Chiddy Bang. But, I had taken a class with Freter the semester before and knew him to be an interesting guy who had good taste in music, which I felt would make a good story.
I first interviewed Freter in Feb, and it went interestingly. One would think that a guy who was used to performing in front of so many people would be far more comfortable at speaking with just one other person in the room and a recording device, but he was nervous. He stuttered at parts and didn't quite know what to say at others. It almost seemed like he was to humble to believe his story was newsworthy.
His personality changed, however, the first time I went to get photos. Freter is truly in his comfort zone when he performs. he becomes wrapped up in the music and it becomes part of who he is. In the DJ booth he becomes a magnetic force, armed with turntables, on a mission o infect the bar-goers with dance the spirit to dance.
That nervousness the first time i interviewed him must have been an anomaly, because that was the only time Freter seemed uncomfortable telling his story. Other than trying overly hard to give me good sounding – Freter is a former Journalism major - Once he was used to me being around he was very comfortable within himself. I got to see all the aspects of his weekly life. From the early morning valet shifts to the late night DJ shifts to the full commitment to his classes three days of the week, Freter is 100% in everything he does. It is an amazing thing to be around.
The first time I saw DJ Future perform it was at Caffrey's on a Thursday night. I was going to take photos of him for for my story and was concerned about the lighting since it is usually very dark in bars. One thing did pay off in my favor, the lighting in Caffrey's was very good. However, the crowd was very small and clearly not there to dance or enjoy the tracks that DJ Future was performing.
Two nights later at Murhpey's I had the opposite problem. It was a dark room with bright neon lights directly behind the DJ booth. In short, the lighting was terrible. It took me a while to figure it out, but eventually I did get some good shots. And the best part was that the crowd was great.
Seeing a performance from a third party standpoint, rather than in the crowd or on stage, is a very odd experience. you see the people dancing and you see the performer, but you feel removed from it all in a way that is surreal. It is the same feeling you get when you are covering any story other kind of event that you have been a participant in, I guess, but to be among the crowd and trey to remove yourself from the show so that you can be a reporter is a strange thing.
I didn't only cover Freter when he was performing. I took photos and interviewed him while he was squeezing in some study hours, and I took photos of him while he was working as a valet. The valet photos were interesting because he really wasn't busy. He really just sat around in the booth, did reading for school and listened to his ipod while waiting for customers to arrive. He told me it helps him keep up with music and stay in the DJ mindset.
Freter's work schedule is insane and his passion is infectious. He said he is concentrating on school, but you can tell that somewhere in the back of his mind, he really just wants to DJ for a living. Perhaps one day he will and I'll get to tell his story all over again.