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The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

The student news site of Westford Academy

WA Ghostwriter

Nakul Hans lights up the dance floor at Darba

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Sofia Gutierrez
DJ Nakul Hans spins beats at SASA’s Darba celebration.

Colorful and flashing lights spill into the hallways from the cafeteria. A mix of all different types of music echoes through the mostly empty halls. Laughter and cheers leak from the doors of the cafeteria, where one person stays entirely focused: the DJ.

On Friday, November 17th from 6:00 – 10:00 p.m., junior Nakul Hans DJ’d for the South Asian Student Association’s (SASA) Darba celebration. In a beautifully decorated cafeteria, Hans played a mix of Bollywood music and EDM beats. This is only the second time Darba (a mixed celebration of Diwali and garba dancing) has been celebrated at WA. However, this is Hans’ first time DJing for the event, as his father DJ’d for Darba last year.

Hans only started DJing about six months ago, but with the support of his father, peers, and teachers, he has been able to prepare for the event. A feat that may seem daunting was more manageable for Hans with the help of his father, who he credits the start of his DJing career to. He also mentions how much the rest of his family supports him, including his mother, grandparents, and uncle.

“My dad was a DJ before me. [He] got me into it. My uncle makes music as a sound engineer,” Hans said. “So he’s super involved in the music community.”

The event required a mix of older and younger music, so Hans relied on his and his dad’s music tastes for a multi-generational sound.

Hans’ set-up at Darba (Sofia Gutierrez).

Since Darba was a cultural event, he attempted to create a balance between the classics and the more modern pieces in order to appease all audience members. Although he started DJing fairly recently, Hans feels as though music has always had a huge impact on his life. Not only does being a DJ require a lot of effort outside official work hours, but creating new playlists and listening to new material can lead to very high screen times.

“If you look at my screen time on my phone, I’m on Spotify for probably 15 to 16 hours,” Hans said.

Prematurely preparing for events allows Hans to go with the flow. In order to best read an audience, Hans comes to any event with two playlists. He then mixes the first five songs of each playlist together, in order to sound out the audience, allowing him to give each audience a more personalized listening experience.

“I put certain types of songs into one playlist and certain types of songs into another. The first five songs that I play, I’ll mix [the playlists] and see which ones the crowd reacts better to,” Hans said.

That’s not all Hans does behind the scenes, since most of a DJ’s work is done before an event. He mixes songs before the event, allowing for the transition between songs to work seamlessly. There are still many more parts to DJing that get overlooked, such as MCing.

“People forget, a lot of it is also MCing, making sure the mics are working properly and there’s no echo. That’s the most difficult part, I would say for me,” Hans said. “People think DJs- they use the spin thing. […] I feel like I don’t even use that too much. That’s just a thing. That’s just there.”

Although Darba will be Hans’ biggest event so far, he has DJ’d for many school and out of school events. In the six month span that he has been DJing, Hans has performed in four events, three of which were social events at WA.

Students at Darba pose with the ‘SASA’ lights (Sofia Gutierrez).

“Over the summer I did a friend’s sweet 16. And then at the beginning – like the first two days of school, I did the senior barbecue. And then I did the junior barbecue. And then, I did the Best Buddies dance,” said Hans. “I think that would be my favorite one so far.”

Even though Hans has only been DJing for about six months, it’s clear that he has a huge presence at WA, not only as a DJ, but as a photographer. Hans takes pictures for many sports teams at WA, including the football and volleyball teams. According to Hans, although many recognize his Instagram account, dubbed @nakulhansmedia, it is actually not related to his DJing, but rather his photography.

“Before DJing, I got injured during basketball. […] I didn’t play AAU so I just started taking pictures because I still wanted to be around the team, and then that kind of kicked off I started liking it,” Hans said.

Hans works meticulously to perfect his craft, which was seen at Darba. Performing for over 300 students, Hans DJ’d for four hours, and it was a success. Many people who went to Darba were delighted by his skills, especially his mix of all different types of songs.

“It was amazing, I was so glad to have Nakul as our DJ, and he did an amazing job having a large variety of songs,” sophomore Co-Treasurer of SASA Srisai Vuppuluri said after the event.

SASA advisor and English Teacher Rashmi Kumar shares how she and SASA’s cabinet was able to come to the easy decision of reuniting with Hans for this year’s Darba.

“After having Nakul Hans and his father, Mr. Kamal Hans, DJ our first Darba in 2022, we were very clear that we wanted to go back to them again for this year’s Darba. The cabinet members and I were unanimous in our choice. When we contacted Nakul about this, he said that he alone would be DJing for us now, since he had also gained the experience of having his own gig in the course of the year. The transition from father to son was seamless,” Kumar said. “Nakul has truly come into his own.”

This sentiment is shared by many people who attended Darba, not only SASA board members, but regular students.

“I feel like it’s [Hans’ performance] a good representation for our class,” junior Vea Kashyap said. “I’m happy our class is getting more recognition.”

Hans hopes that Darba will allow him to continue to grow as a DJ, both in experience and recognition. Through his growth as a DJ, Hans has also seen a lot of change in himself.

“At first, I used to be really nervous, and the biggest part about DJing is not being nervous, but rather outgoing, that’s for any job, even for the photography. You can’t be shy,” Hans said. “Before DJing I was really shy and quiet, but, now I’ve transformed to become more outgoing.”

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About the Contributor
Sofia Gutierrez, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Sofia Gutierrez and I'm a sophomore at Westford Academy this year. It’s my first year working on the Ghostwriter as a staff writer and I’m thrilled to be a part of the team. I enjoy reading and writing, which is why I took an interest in journalism. I also enjoy art, listening to music, and volleyball. I'm excited to learn about the fundamentals of journalism and how to properly use them! 

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