Former Radford University student, Chris Reese, better known as DJ Pyrite, is now back at RU. Reese dropped out his junior year, not because he wasn’t doing well, but because he got an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I basically decided to stop going to school when one of my former roommates, Vinny Corbo, who was living out in Los Angeles at the time, started a production company… and he got me booked at the Roxy Theatre,” Reese said. “So I couldn’t really pass up the opportunity of going to do that.”
The trip out to LA was a two-week trip, so Reese decided he was going to miss too much school. “I thought I might as well take my chance while I can because I probably wouldn’t get that opportunity again.”
Reese started DJing in 2010 when his friends got into producing music. “I looked at it and thought it was something I could really get into and wrap my head around.”
Reese found his interest in electronic music when he had a friend crashing in his apartment, “he was constantly playing dubstep.”
Turntables, mixers and a ton of other DJing equipment have burned a huge hole in Reese’s pocket. As he put it: “Thirty thousand dollars worth of equipment, easily 30 thousand dollars at least.”
Reese gets most of his music to mix from upcoming artists. “A lot of the music that they produce is given away for free, and it’s kind of what I take pride in, it’s not having the same playlist as every other DJ or producer out there.”
Sharkey’s is home to Reese on Thursdays and Saturdays, but he also worked behind the scenes. He helped consult with Sharkey’s about what they were going to do with ‘Sharkey’s on Top’ from the very beginning. He was there to suggest what kind of sound system they should install, what they should do with lighting and even where to put the DJ booth. Another former RU student, Lindsey Schaffer, referred Reese to the position.
“I help them with their bookings, and help them organize who is going to play, sound, and which lighting company is going to be doing the lighting.” Reese also went to consult with the Sharkey’s in Blacksburg about doing something similar.
“It’s been pretty cool to come back here after I left and contribute back to the local scene and community.”
Reese travels a lot to play different gigs. He frequently travels to Richmond, DC, Baltimore, Myrtle Beach and Raleigh. “I should have something coming up in Austin, Texas in March, and possibly looking at some festival dates in Colorado later on this summer.”
This past January, Reese signed his first record label. He signed with True Score Theory, which is co-owned by Ill-esha.
“She’s an amazing producer, and very popular,” he said. Reese woke up one morning to an email from Ill-esha’s partner asking for his music. “I was honestly blown away.”
Reece has released one track already this year and has a couple more planned, coming out soon, probably by early March.
“Right now what I’ve released has been for free via the label, but what I have coming out will be on bport, where most people distribute their electronic music online.”
“I honestly never expected any of this to happen, and it’s been a crazy four years opening for some of my favorite artists that I never would have dreamed of sharing a stage with.” He opened for ‘Lotus’ and ‘Datsik’.
Reese was very grateful and reminiscent when thinking about his time at RU, and the opportunities it gave him in life. “If I didn’t go here and meet the people I did, a lot of this stuff wouldn’t have happened.”
When Reese began DJing, he couldn’t think of a name for himself. But after a while Reese felt he established an identiy for himself as a DJ. “I was always into rocks and minerals and stuff as a kind. Certain stones are supposed to have certain powers, and pyrite is the stone that’s supposed to bring positivity and shield you from negativity, and it just felt fitted.”