More at home in dark clubs and crowded parties, DJs are not usually tapped to perform at Fall Fest. This year, however, Neil Khurana, a GW student and local DJ, will be playing and creating music at the show as DJ Korona.
Khurana’s music is fun and catchy, and his clever mixes combine several familiar elements into a tune that is both surprising and new. “Paper Grammar” samples the background of M.I.A.’s hit “Paper Planes” underneath Nelly’s “Country Grammar:” when Nelly says that he’s “cocked and ready to let it go,” Khurana fires up the mood with M.I.A’s three gunshots. In another song, the young DJ aptly combines the two kings of pop music, Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake, to create a seamless and danceable mix.
Aside from being a DJ, Khurana is double-majoring in psychology and pre-med. A typical school week for Khurana means juggling his five classes, a job at the hospital and music gigs, which typically happen during the weekend.
“It’s fun but it’s also stressful,” Khurana said. Despite the hard work, Khurana takes delight in being a DJ. For him, music is not just a hobby, but a passion.
Khurana says he was always very interested in music. A longtime friend that happened to be a DJ helped cultivate Khurana’s interest, he said, so he bought a small mixer one summer and began practicing.
After a month, Khurana says he knew that making music for people to enjoy was something that he wanted to continue doing, so he invested in a better mixer and worked harder.
“If I wanted to be respectable, I needed to put more into it,” he said. “More time, more money, more effort.”
The effort paid off when he started landing jobs: he’s now doing frequent sets at clubs and parties around the District.
Khurana, who chose the name DJ Korona for its catchiness, did not become a DJ for the money; what he enjoys most about playing his music, he said, is watching the audience listen to it and love it.
“I’d rather [play] less for a larger crowd of people that I like than for people who pay more but won’t enjoy it as much,” he said.
Fall Fest is Sept. 5 from 3-8 p.m., so don’t miss out on Khurana and the other performers.