The man behind the turntables: Sophomore Sam Dorrance on being the musical life of the party

Last spring, Butler students raged with Girl Talk, whose ability to infuse electronic, dance and hip-hop music into an infectious mash-up moved concert goers through the aisles and on to the stage.

With popping bodies and sliding feet, fans danced, not because of who they were dancing with, but because they couldn’t stop themselves.

Innovative artists like Girl Talk give inspiration to Butler sophomore and disc jockey Sam Dorrance, who believes its style deserves to be called one of the best of our day. Yet, throughout today’s changing music, Dorrance continues to hold onto a DJ’ing style of his own.

“I think what makes me unique is my focus on my audience,” Dorrance said. “A lot of DJ’s don’t keep their mind on the audience, and end up playing what they personally want to hear.

“I believe that the audience’s taste and enjoyment always comes before your own. If the crowd can’t track with you, you aren’t a good DJ.” Dorrance has been conceiving tracks since he and his friend created a small recording studio in middle school.

His love for music became more than just a hobby and soon Dorrance was mixing tunes as his Iowa high school’s DJ.

Recently, with his 12-inch mains and 18-inch subwoofers, Dorrance shook the foundation of Sigma Nu during its annual VooDoo bash.

“This year’s VooDoo turned out to be unreal,” Dorrance said. “I have never felt that much raw energy from a crowd before.”

Dorrance draws inspiration from songs that are both on and off the airwaves. He enjoys a good throwback to oldies like the Jackson 5, but also likes to “play the hits.” Pulling beats from “vintage” and “current pop,” you may hear Lil’ Jon getting low to the electronic sounds of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.”

“Whenever I hear a song that really grabs my attention and is fast enough to dance to, I make a note of it and get my hands on it,” Dorrance said. “It’s impossible not to hear most of the great party music out there right now by just listening to the radio and what people are humming as they walk between classes.”

No matter Dorrance’s distance from his DJ’ing stand, he is never far from the stage or the studio.

Dorrance is a member of the Butler Chorale and Out of the Dawg House. As a recording industry studies major, Dorrance is always working on something new in Butler’s music department.

“The music [at VooDoo] created an atmosphere with a lot of energy, and it was the perfect place to dance and hang out with my friends,” sophomore Samantha LaMantia said.

“At especially good parties, there is a point where the crowd stops being self-conscious and gets caught in the moment and swept away by the music,” Dorrance said. “The process of leading them to that point, and all the energy that is released when they are having a fantastic time, is what compels me to keep trying to be a better and better DJ.”

After graduating, Dorrance plans to pursue his long-term goals of producing and recording bands, and possibly even owning his own studio.

Dorrance said, “The DJ thing is mostly just for fun.”