When an infectious beat grabs your ear, and you can feel the floor pulsating beneath your feet, how can you help but move your body in time with the music? In the world of DJs and music production, the ultimate goal is to build community on the dance floor wherever that may be - in a local park, or a city club, at a 50th birthday party, or a massive music festival.

“If people aren’t moving, you’re doing something wrong," says John ‘Wes’ McGee, a Music Production Apprentice in the State Arts Council’s Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. He’s only been DJing since 2016 but his Master and accomplished Music Producer, Derrick Braxton (Brax), shares that in due time Wes will be one of the greats in the broader House music community. His natural talent is matched by his fierce dedication to the craft and according to Brax, (pictured above left), Wes has made great strides in the short time they’ve been working together.

Both artists are from New Brunswick, a community they care deeply for and give back to regularly, sometimes even playing music for free - creating space for people to gather, commune, and of course dance. The effect of the music can be easily seen. What goes unnoticed or misunderstood by folks outside the scene is the knowledge the DJ and Music Producer must possess, and the level of skill they must hone to excel. There is a required capacity for executing intricate and improvised details through what a DJ can hear, see, and feel, but there is also the practical side of understanding the technological tools of the art form. It shouldn’t go unmentioned that building an encyclopedia of music history for a brain (which both Wes and Brax have done) is like having a playground of sound at their fingertips. The more they know, the more they can access to create new, exciting, and original sounds. “The sky’s the limit,” says Brax, “But you have to know what draws people in and makes them move.”

We were recently invited to meet with Wes and Brax in their beloved hometown of New Brunswick at The Arts Institute of Middlesex County. Welcomed by 124 beats per minute, we swayed back and forth between moving and chatting, listening and sharing. It is safe to say that there is no better way to learn about this art form than experiencing it in real-time with the artists who make it happen.