DJ Natural Light shines bright in Andy’s Bar basement

DJ Natural Light shines bright in Andy’s Bar basement

DJ Natural Light shines bright in Andy’s Bar basement
June 25
10:27 2018

On a rainy Wednesday night in the basement of Andy’s Bar, DJ Natural Light served groovy tunes to an enthusiastically hungry crowd. With fog and wildly colorful strobe lights, the small basement room was the perfect place to escape reality.

DJ Natural Light is the stage name for Blake Montgomery, a 25-year-old student at UNT. He will be graduating this summer with a bachelor’s in integrative studies with a focus in music, philosophy and business. It is an interesting combination at first glance, but it begins to make more sense with a closer look into Montgomery’s life — like few fortunate people, his passions may one day lead to a full career.

“I’ve always been drawn to music,” Montgomery said. “My parents noticed this when I was little and encouraged me to take piano lessons as a preschooler.”

He then progressed to the guitar at the age of 9, drums at 12 and has been playing ever since. His love for electronic and dance music, however, did not come about until the release of the hit song “One More Time” by Daft Punk.

“It sort of changed my whole perspective,” Montgomery said. “I realized that dance music could have some substantial emotional depth and it wasn’t all kitschy or something.”

Then in 2010, Montgomery experienced what electronic music had to offer in a live setting by attending an LCD Soundsystem concert with some friends.

“I went … without ever really having heard them before,” Montgomery said. “I remember how the repetitive, continuous pulse of their music inspired me to dance in a way that was genuine and natural, and I had never really experienced that in a concert setting. By the end of the show, I was drenched in sweat, and my shirt was completely unbuttoned. After that, I really started to delve into house, techno and disco.”

Given Montgomery’s first enamoring experiences with electronic and techno music, he invites his own fans to experience the same. He often encourages his audience members to dance and let loose, so his shows are energetic and fun.

Everyone starts somewhere

Montgomery’s DJ career started with the purchase of the cheapest USB turntable controller he could find.

“I began searching for tracks on YouTube that I would rip from and experiment mixing together,” Montgomery said.

Now, his DJ sets have developed into a mix of ambient hip-hop, funk and disco.

Montgomery’s first time DJing was a little more than a year ago at a friend’s birthday party at a local house venue called the Bean Cave. He kept the dance floor going until 3 a.m.

Since then, he has continued to play at the Bean Cave for parties and has also played around town at Andy’s Bar, Dan’s Silverleaf, Tom’s Daiquiri and other house venues, like the Rabbit Hole and Space Station. Montgomery also currently plays drums in the bands Dead Sullivan and Crisman.

“The fact that I can share music that inspires me [and can in return] inspire others to move and dance is very rewarding,” Montgomery said.

But perhaps it is more than just the music that inspires people to move. Perhaps it is Montgomery himself and his passion for his own craft that is visible to everyone in the room.

Montgomery often performs with his good friend, Ryan Hearne, 28, whom he has known for a little more than three years. He agrees that Montgomery has a special touch as a DJ.

“He’s living proof that empathy is transferable to others,” Hearne said. “When he plays, people suddenly lose it to music they never knew would move them. It’s inspiring.”

Worldly Influence

Montgomery also gave credit to UNT for some of his current musical influences and philosophies.

“I took the African drum ensemble class with Gideon Alorwoyie a couple of times, and it was really eye-opening,” Montgomery said. “West African music is an ancient tradition that has been passed down aurally, beginning long before music notation came about, and has influenced many later genres of ‘world’ dance music. It continues to influence a lot of the more contemporary music that I listen to. Taking this class helped me to realize that it’s all kind of a part of the same thing.”

The African influence was evident at one point in his performance on Wednesday night.

Audience member Brennan Dufrene, 21, took note of this.

“The African influence was really cool,” Dufrene said. “He also had a lot of female-heavy songs that he mixed, and I thought those were really good.”

DJ Natural Light peforms for an intimate crowd in the basement of Andy’s Bar. Will Baldwin

Looking toward a bright future

Montgomery said he is not jaded by the allure of money and fame. For him, it is solely about the music and where it can take the listener.

“Playing music is fun, but what I’m really drawn to is the emotional and intellectual content that can be communicated through it, and the sort of out-of-body yet hyper-awareness in the moment that playing or listening to music can bring,” Montgomery said.

As for his goals and aspirations, Montgomery said he’d be happy with a few different outcomes.

“I would like to see the bands that I’m in take off, and I would also be happy running sound at a venue, working in a studio or working in broadcasting doing live mixing,” Montgomery said.

As of now, however, he follows the opportunities that present themselves to him.

To be updated on upcoming shows, follow DJ Natural Light on Instagram @ntrl_lite.

DJ Natural Light peforms for an intimate crowd in the basement of Andy’s Bar. Will Baldwin

About Author

Claire Lin

Claire Lin

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