DJ SwiiSs gives CU hot spots a European spin

Gordon Agunobi mans the DJ booth as DJ SwiiSs at The FuBar Lounge Thursday nights. I started mixing overseas and I just continued it for fun when I got back here. Dean Santarinala

Gordon Agunobi mans the DJ booth as “DJ SwiiSs” at The FuBar Lounge Thursday nights. “I started mixing overseas and I just continued it for fun when I got back here.” Dean Santarinala

By Erica Yuenger

A few minutes past 10 p.m. on Thursday, DJ SwiiSs strolled casually from his setup of a laptop and a turntable to the bar at The FuBar Lounge. With the switch of a dial, the music that had been playing stopped abruptly and was replaced by DJ SwiiSs’ latest rap mixes. He returned to his equipment and put headphones on to prepare the next song in the lineup.

When Gordon Agunobi was 10 years old, he and his family moved from the Lincoln Park area of Chicago to Geneva, Switzerland. It was a drastic change to what Agunobi called a calmer, safer environment, with a lot more techno music.

“My friends and I were just like we should start DJ’ing just for the fun of it and to try it out, so we bought some turntables and I’ve been messing around with it ever since,” Agunobi, sophomore in LAS said.

In high school, back in the United States, Agunobi took on the name DJ SwiiSs when he needed to put a nickname on his locker for the varsity basketball team.

“Everyone knew I was a DJ, and everyone knew I was from Switzerland,” Agunobi said. “So I became DJ SwiiSs or G SwiiSs.”

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Agunobi said he continued to DJ when he came to the University. He has played at Clybourne and The FuBar Lounge on campus and Ko Fusion in downtown Champaign.

Although The FuBar Lounge has only been open since last March, DJ SwiiSs and Heineken night have made Thursdays a popular night for the bar.

“He’s got a good style, he’s a good guy,” said FuBar manager Phillip Deverell. “People really like him.”

Agunobi said he prefers playing at bars such as FuBar and Ko Fusion to bars such as Clybourne, which he said can get too rowdy.

“I like FuBar because it’s really clean, it’s a nice place to be,” Agunobi said. “The environment is really colloquial – everybody gets along.”

Emma Schuering, a bartender at FuBar, said in addition to being a good DJ, Agunobi is very sociable and takes the opportunity to interact with and get to know people around him, which is a quality Schuering said that makes him unique.

“Some of the other DJ’s do not really take the time to get to know the people that work here,” Schuering said.

Besides working at the bars, Agunobi also DJ’s for the local radio station, 104.5 The Show on Friday nights from 10 to midnight, and occasionally plays at parties for his fraternity, Omega Delta.

Agunobi said he arrives about half an hour before an event and usually DJ’s for about four hours.

Because this job requires him to work weekends, it sometimes cuts into his social life. Agunobi said he will often hear of a party he wants to go to and then realizes he has to DJ the same night.

“Usually it always works out, though,” Agunobi said. “People tell me that the music was bad and that I should have been DJ’ing.”

“That makes me feel better, but who knows if what they’re telling me is true or not,” Agunobi added modestly.

Agunobi said DJ’ing involves a lot of outside preparation as well.

“A lot of people think that you just go there and play whatever, but you always have to be on top of the new music; what’s new in each category, what you think people will like, what people can dance to,” Agunobi said. “You have to analyze the moods of people.”

When he returns home to West Hollywood, Calif. in the summer, Agunobi said he will continue to DJ at local events such as proms, luncheons and outdoor events. He said he may even try to get an internship with MTV.

As a cinematography major, Agunobi said he is interested in combining what he learns in his major with his love for music by possibly working in the music industry and making music videos.

The future may even find Agunobi in those music videos as well. He writes his own songs and records them in MP3 files to send out to his friends on Facebook. He said he even occasionally plays his songs when he works an event, but he is modest about his promotion.

“I try to mix them in a litte bit,” Agunobi said. “But I don’t tell anybody it’s my song just so I can see how they react.”