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Arts & Entertainment

Summer Playlist

Summer is right around the corner and with it comes endless beach days, warm nights and lasting memories. The perfect complement for a summer to remember is a smashing playlist, so Mojo compiled a selection of the best songs to blast this summer. Take a listen and share your favorite summer songs with us by commenting below or tweeting us @dbmojo.

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Arts & Entertainment

Q&A: UCLA recording artist “Toy Light”

Walker Ashby, a third-year fine arts student and upcoming musician from Marin County, is one of the regulars at a hip hop and electronic club Low End Theory, a place frequented by artists such as Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer and Teebs. Ashby, who recently played at The Roxy Theatre on Sunset Blvd., produces music under the name “Toy Light,” and blends ambient and ethereal beats to create music with a rich, atmospheric feel.

He opened for indie dream pop band Twin Sister Thursday night at Kerckhoff Grand Salon, and Mojo caught up with him afterwards for an exclusive Q&A:

1. How did you land the gig last night?
A close friend of mine, Dylan Robin, who is the guitar player in The Ten Thousand and also in CEC, reached out to me at the last minute about opening for Twin Sister. I was very happy to fill in the opening slot.

2. How would you describe the music genre you’re drawn to?
I hang out at Low End Theory a lot. It’s mostly a hip hop scene over there which I enjoy, but my personal inspirations come more from the European/UK based stuff that’s happening right now. Stylistically speaking, I feel more drawn to the emotional side of electronic and bass music.

3. When did you start making music?
I’ve played guitar since I was eleven and was also in bands in high school. However, I didn’t get into producing and composing on my own until college.

4. Where do you look for inspiration?
I look inside. Being alone and finding beauty outdoors has always been a huge source for inspiration—relationships as well.

5. If you weren’t making music what would you be doing? Does school get in the way with your musical endeavours?
I don’t know what I would do without music. For as long as I can remember I’ve found music to come most naturally to me. Photography is how I got into the UCLA art program but I’ve always had a passion for visual, audio and more recently, sculptural expressions. My goal is to blend all of it into an immersive, expanding project.

6. Any artist you’re digging right now and why?
Currently I’m really into Emika, a German artist who messes with bass and piano in twisted ways that really speak to me—her song “Double Edge” in particular. I just love her style…it’s very dark and sketchy.

Check out more of Toy Light’s music here or go see him perform at his next show in Anti-Pop on Nov. 28 in Chinatown, Los Angeles.

Know any other student musicians or artist we should feature? Tweet us @dbmojo.

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Arts & Entertainment

Performers spread message of spirituality to students in Bruin Plaza

If you passed through Bruin Plaza this afternoon, you might have heard the sounds of Hare Krishna, a musical group that performs Bhajan, a type of Indian devotional song.

The group, which travels around the world, is centered in Culver City. Tuesday, they played on a corner of the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica; Wednesday, they are in Bruin Plaza.

“We’re here to share music, which is one of the best ways to become happy and elevate the soul,” said performer Syaan Priya. Priya, 53, chants a special mantra and plays the harmonium, a type of keyboard instrument.

Around 30 students approached the group within the first hour of their arrival. Most asked questions about the instruments and the meaning behind the chanting, Yasodeva Das said. Das, 25, plays percussion for the group.

“People are very busy, and college students are no exception,” Priya said. “But students are generally very curious and willing to open up their ears to new music.”

Early in the afternoon, a female student approached one of the musicians, Sudarshan Pitts, 19, and asked him about the drum he was playing, called a Mridunga.

“This campus is very lively, full of friendly people,” Pitts said.

Pitts first visited UCLA with the group at age 17. He said Janss Steps is one of his favorite places to play music because of the peaceful atmosphere.

“But the best place to be is right here (in Bruin Plaza), talking to people,” Pitts said.

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