Lights of deep blue and bright pink bounce around the room. The low hum of the bass is vibrating through the bodies. The chant slowly begins to build over the loud blasts of the music: “Team No Sleep, Team No Sleep, Team No Sleep.”
The beat drops and the floor erupts with emotion. Not a single body remains still and the audience is a wave of expression. This is what they live for. This is Team No Sleep.
“It puts a huge smile on my face to see that all the hard work has paid off,” said Ian Fennie, aka DJ Lead, of Team No Sleep.
Team No Sleep began as a hobby for founding members Ruben Sanchez and Carl Caven. Both found interest in the development of digital DJing about a year and a half ago, and decided separately to start experimenting with software and controllers. Though Chico State’s Theta Chi fraternity the two began working together as the entity Team No Sleep.
The music scene in Chico has changed a lot in the last four years. Sanchez said. Early on it was about top 40 and Bay Area music.
Caven and Sanchez began “spinning” at parties playing what the audience wanted. Branding themselves with a name, an image. Slowly they began mixing in aspects of various electro dance music into their set lists.
“There was a lot of trial and error,” Caven said. “Similar to public speaking, you are speaking through your music.”
The early outlets provided Caven and Sanchez a venue to practice their art and hone their skills before delving more drastically into the world of EDM DJing. Around six months into the project Caven and Sanchez asked local DJ Ian Fennie to officially join the group, Caven said. Fennie had been DJing for about seven years prior to the project and had a lot to offer Team No Seep as both a DJ and a performer.
To Kyle Kruger, a fifth year recording arts major and coordinator for the Web department to Wild Oak Production and a friend to both Caven and Sanchez from the beginning, Fennie brought experience into the group.
“Ian brought ore of a traditional aspect of DJing,” Kruger said. “He had a better knowledge of DJing and was able to help teach the basics.”
Kruger had watched Team No Sleep grow from the party, fraternity DJs that they began as into full unity with the addition of Fennie.
With three DJs now solidified within the lineup, styles began to come together and mesh as one, creating the tech house, electro sound that is now so distinctively Team No Sleep.
“Everybody has their own opinion; everybody wants to play a song,” Caven said. “But it’s a team thing, we like to state by that and live by that.”
So as a team they heavily critique themselves to push each member forward to create a better and better sound.
With the lineup solidified, Team No Sleep pushed forward performing at local electronic events such as Counter Culture and Heart Beat while also obtaining a spot on KCSCradio.com.
A bond began to form with the members of Team No Sleep and another local DJ, Tyler Withrow, aka DJ No Requests. No Requests defiantly had an influence on Team No Sleep, Sanchez said. When the music started it was much more aggressive and No Request’s influence added growth and build to the sound.
“The most progression was within this last semester,” Withrow said. “The development of the studio gave them a place to really practice.”
Team No Sleep now had an outlet to practice in with the studio and a place to test what they had been working on with their show at the station. And the gigs to show people what they were really about.
All member involved admit to being highly critical of their work and the outlets that they now had gave them the time and place to really test-to the smallest detail-when they really wanted to do with a mix.
“We critique ourselves pretty severely, to be honest,” Caven said. “We are putting our names behind this, this is our image, this is our livelihood, this is what we want to represent through a music stand point.”
This is what makes Team No Sleep who they are. It’s what makes them stand out from the crowd. It’s the true love that they have for the music. They don’t DJ because they think it’s cool or to impress people. They do it because they love the music and they find true passion in it.
DJs these days are a dime in a dozen, Fennie said. Anyone can download a program or buy a mixer and call themselves a DJ and it has flooded the industry. The true talent and dedication is what makes Team No Sleep stand out. It is the reason that they can get the whole crowd at Wild Oaks electronic showcase chanting their name. Team No Sleep will never die in Chico, Withrow said. Because they are special, they offer something different down to the smallest piece of a mix.
“We stand behind published music, we stand behind artists,” Caven said.
Team No Sleep is largely opposed to piracy of music and spends time listening, finding and purchasing all of their music. They really listen to what they are playing before they makes the decision to buy it Fennie said. Details like this are such that most people wouldn’t even begin to consider as something important but to them it is.
“Trying to solidify a brand behind what we do, pushing or vision, it’s all about having fun,” Fennie said. “Five years from now if it hasn’t left the ground, we just want to have fun with what we do, take it serious, but in a serious way that it’s still fun. Enjoy what we do.”
To Team No Sleep, it doesn’t matter if it’s a crowd of five or 5,000 they are there to put on a show. They are there for people listening to have a good time. It’s not about money or fame, it’sfor the love of the game.