Everyone knows about NOD; it is easily the most anticipated party of the year. However, few people know anything about the DJ who will be spinning all the tracks for the night. Will Rice senior Clayton Chaney is the man behind the music.
A passion for music in high school inspired Chaney to become a DJ.
"I was always the guy that had the brand new music and gave it to all my friends," Chaney said. "I was always burning CDs for people. Music was always a big thing for me, like number one priority."
However, once he started studying at Rice, the demanding schedule of a civil engineering major put a damper on Chaney's interest in music.
"I got into college and was extremely busy with school," Chaney said. "I couldn't really do the music thing like I wanted to."
School was not the only thing occupying Chaney's time. A decorated track athlete, he competed at last spring's Conference USA Championship, winning both the decathlon and the heptathlon with a personal best time in the latter. His athleticism granted him advancement to the national level. He ultimately placed 12th in decathlon at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship and was named a second-team All-America athlete.
His performance is even more impressive because of his modesty. In conversation, Chaney barely mentions his involvement on the track team, much less the facts about his medal-worthy achievements. He makes the intensive practice schedule and diligence required for an athlete of his caliber seem entirely inconsequential. His lack of emphasis on his track star status only highlights his passion for and dedication to music.
Despite the heavy course load and rigorous track schedule, Chaney managed to make time to pursue music. He was inspired to DJ by watching and learning from other DJs.
"I go out and about in Houston and I met a DJ that I really liked," Chaney said about mentor DJ Mr. Rogers. "I followed him, went to his gigs, and I eventually met him. I spent the whole past two years with him and he taught me everything about DJ-ing. He showed me the world."
With DJ Mr. Rogers as his model, Chaney set out to provide a similar experience as a DJ who interacts with the audience and feeds off the crowd's energy. Since he began, he has worked at about 20 weddings. He is most active around campus; Chaney had three gigs over Centennial weekend and often DJs for Willy's Pub. Throughout his experience, his favorite part of the job is encountering new people.
"You meet all kinds of people from all over," Chaney said. "They just come over to check out your system and you always make connections."
At Rice specifically, Chaney has found unique music tastes.
"I love it," Chaney said. "Everybody here is so diverse; everybody likes all types of genres. I just take what I like and take what other people like and integrate it into my own thing."
His comprehensive style and his involvement on campus helped him secure the NOD DJ position.
"I asked them two months ago," Chaney said. "They said, 'We really want you to do it.'"
Chaney has been busy preparing for NOD. As part of his preparations, he has created a special NOD mixtape to distribute to Rice students.
"I decided to make a tape full of slow R&B type songs to get it on to, to set the mood for NOD," Chaney said. "Hopefully out of the whole CD, everyone will like at least one of the songs."
Beginning with Mario-themed dialogue and sound effects with definite elements of the spirit of NOD, the hour-long playlist features an array of seductive tracks. In addition to the downloadable version of the mixtape which is available on his website, Chaney plans to distribute CDs on campus.
The mixtape serves to increase excitement about NOD, but Chaney put just as much thought into the actual NOD playlist. In addition to incorporating the NODtendo theme, he will also be acknowledging the occasion.
"I mean, it is Halloween too," Chaney said. "That'll definitely be integrated into my mix, especially for the prime hour."
The tracks will include popular Halloween hits like "Thriller" and the Jaws theme song.
Following NOD, he has no intention of slowing down.
"With the DJ thing in general, I'm like a kid in a candy store," Chaney said. "I don't really know where it'll go after I'm done with college, but I hope that I can pursue it around Houston. I'm going to get my job and then, on the weekends, DJ."