DJ HEX hosted a third installment of Waves, a night of Electronic Dance Music Thursday night at The Union Bar and Grill, 18 W. Union St.
Waves 3.0 was hosted by DJ HEX alongside DJs Matty Kane and Logie Bear. The event featured a costume contest due to its closeness to Halloween, sparking creativity amongst the audience’s attire.
The opportunity for DJ HEX to host Waves was granted to him by Scott Winland, who handles the booking at The Union. The event was a chance for DJ HEX to organize a night to showcase whatever genre he wanted.
“I was told I could do anything I wanted with this night,” DJ HEX said. “I chose to do EDM because I’ve always wanted it at The Union. My whole time at OU it’s been a dream of mine because we don’t have any raves in Athens.”
DJ HEX explained that a unique aspect of the Waves’ events is the light production, which his friend Logan helps run. The added production value, he mentioned, creates a more energetic environment for the audience.
“Something that we do at Waves that nobody else does in town for an event like this, is that the lights aren’t set to a computer,” DJ HEX said. “I actually have someone doing lights as I DJ so it’s not sound-reactive, it’s human-controlled. It’s much more accurate to the music and a more immersive experience.”
Mallory Walsh, a graduate student studying art education, articulated her fondness for the culture of EDM, and specifically its eccentric features, despite her spontaneous discovery of it.
“EDM is definitely one of my top two favorite genres and I’m pretty obsessed with it,” Walsh said. “I got into it my sophomore year of high school from my cousin. I thought it initially was just some crazy robot noises. But I was so intrigued by it and kept checking out more and more artists. I like that it’s dancy and so unique and multilayered. It’s just not something you hear that much.”
For Walsh, coming to Waves was an opportunity for her to surround herself with the music she enjoys in a positive environment.
“The community is so welcoming and you can walk up to a stranger and compliment their outfit and you can end up hanging out with them the rest of the night,” Walsh said.
DJ HEX expressed that the judgements people have toward the EDM concert atmosphere is misconstrued, and that rather, it is a very open and accepting place.
“A lot of people kind of have a preconceived idea of what raves are going to be like without ever going to one, and they may feel nervous or insecure about going, but it’s not like that at all,” DJ HEX said. “The truth is, it’s an extremely welcoming and friendly environment because most people who go to raves are very down to earth people.”
Austin Spears, a senior studying sociology-criminology, said that his recent realization of EDM exposed him to its intricate nature, which can be beneficial both socially and mentally.
“I actually just learned what EDM was like six months ago after meeting DJ HEX,” Spears said. “He taught me that the hard EDM gets people’s anger and emotions out that they can’t normally do on a regular basis. And then there’s trippy bass that heals and brings you back together so I really like that aspect.”
The purpose of events like Waves, DJ HEX explained, is that they are emotional experiences, which can be equally enjoyable and therapeutic.
“The whole point of a rave is to let out aggression in a healthy way and then you can come together as friends and family at the end,” DJ HEX said. “It’s like a healing experience where you let it out by headbanging to dubstep. And then at the end of the night, it’s self reflection and meditation. And you’ll feel a lot better the next day.”
For Spears, the convergence of the Athens culture is what makes his experiences at Waves fulfilling.
“Since I’m a local, I really like that it brings people together and that these are OU students doing it,” Spears said. “It brings the whole community as a college town into one.”