Noah Levinson and Jason Treacy: The Masterminds Behind DJ Duo TRIBE

These days, many of the most popular DJs are still college-age, and the trend isn't stopping anytime soon. Let’s hope that two NYU students and aspiring DJs, freshmen Noah Levinson and Jason Treacy, are on the same track. They have already performed at both NYU events and at other NYC venues, and have now come together as duo called TRIBE. We sat down to talk to them about their how they found their passion for music, and what their plans are for the future.

THE DL:

  • Name: Noah Levinson
  • Hometown: San Diego, CA
  • School/Year: Tisch ‘19
  • Major: Recorded Music (Clive Davis Institute)
  • Name: Jason Treacy
  • Hometown: Bethesda, Maryland
  • School/Year: Steinhardt ‘19
  • Major: Music Technology

HC NYU: Can you tell me about what first got you guys interested in pursuing music?

NL: I first got into music in like 7th grade, I was just playing guitar, nothing electronic really, and I took a couple music production classes in high school. During my sophomore year I took digital composition and that was the first year I really learned how to use more like digital systems to create electronic music, and it was actually back in 7th grade that I DJed for the first time and I’ve been doing it ever since. It kind of started as like birthday party/bar mitzvah/wedding DJing but as soon as I moved out here I’ve been doing club events and getting into that scene. And when I was a freshman in high school, this girl showed me the promo video for EDC 2012 and one of the songs in it was Seek Bromance by Avicii, which was like the first real House/EDM song I listened to, and I loved it and thought I have to be a part of this.

JT: I remember exactly when I first picked it up - I was at my friend John’s house and we were listening to American Idiot, that whole album by Green Day, and we decided we wanted to be in a band. I told my mom that day and surprisingly, it was a very nice [of her], she got me a guitar. I started lessons a few weeks later and I learned music by ear for a long time because I didn’t understand [music] theory for a while. Electronic music didn’t actually spark my interest until 11th grade. I went to this Steve Aoki show at Merriweather [concert venue in Maryland] with Waka Flocka, Borgore, and Pharell and after that show I thought, “Wow this is actually really cool music and a really fun scene. But if I want to get into this and listen to it, I really want to know how to make it.” And that’s just always how it’s worked for me, like if I heard a cool rock song, I’d want to learn it on guitar. I’ve always wanted to write music, and I found that electronic music allowed me to get my ideas down and recorded way more efficiently than using a microphone.

HC NYU: When did you know that this was more than a hobby, and that it was something you wanted to pursue a career in?

JT: Probably when I played during bRAVE - which was an event that my high school held for Leukemia and Lymphoma Month; we raised a lot of money and I got to DJ for it, and I remember hyping it up and working on songs. When it actually happened I was standing up there [on stage] and heard people actually chanting my name for the first time in my life, I thought that I could do whatever I want if I work hard enough. I don’t know if it’s what I’m going to do forever, but I know that I want to be around music all the time and working hard with it.

NL: Last April, Insomniac released an announcement saying they were looking for up and coming DJs to put on one of the smaller opening stages, and so they had a mix contest where people could submit 25-30 minutes mixes. and my mix made it to #1 in the minimal category. While I didn’t get to play I still realized, “Wow, maybe I could do this as part of my career.”

HC NYU: Who are the DJs or artists that you admire or that inspire you the most?

NL: On a day-to-day basis, Chainsmokers is way up there, 3LAU, Porter Robinson for sure, and Illenium.

JT: I think that we could probably give you ten different answers everyday. We both really really care about the Chainsmokers, and we like progressive house. Flume’s been another big one for me, because he takes things into his own direction and I think he’s really creative.

HC NYU: What NYU/NYC Welcome Week events have you guys performed at so far and how did you get those gigs?

NL: I opened for DJ Earworm and the Brooklyn Bash [NYU-affiliated], and then I also played at the Glow and the Masquerade [both NYC Welcome Week parties] as one of the closing sets. In the middle of the summer I sent out an email to the NYU Welcome Week crew and the NYC Welcome Week crew, and I just said “Hey, if you guys need any DJs for events, I’d love to perform, here’s a mix,” and I sent them the mix from EDC, and they both got back to me.

JT: I DJed Brittany Ball with two friends, Kai and David - they’re both musicians as well. As for how I got it, people just contacted me on Facebook. Noah was really ahead of the game [with the NYC Welcome Week events] - when I found out about those parties, his name was already on the flyer.

HC NYU: Aside from being individual DJs, you guys are also a duo called TRIBE, can you tell about what it’s like to perform together and why you guys decided to work together?

NL: For the Road to I’m Shmacked event, Jason and I were both asked to play, and we asked if we could combine our set and play together, and so that was the first time we played together. The room was packed and we were just totally vibing off of each other and the crowd, our mixing was so much fun, and I think it was at that point that we realized that it’s so much more fun when we perform together, and that we’re much more skilled and confident as a duo. We performed together as a back-to-back set and we got to play longer because we were keeping the crowd happy.

JT: That was probably the best show. The club we played at for that event, SONO NYC, had amazing equipment, at least an $8000 DJ system that we got to play on, which was totally a treat. I also think that what’s a big factor towards us hoping to be pretty successful as a duo is that we’re both pretty good at promoting ourselves, and I think we both have a pretty good mindset for that.

HC NYU: What kind of professional gigs have you guys done this semester and what were the experiences like?

NL: The I’m Shmacked event was really like the kickstart of it. It’s really surreal like the first time, and the second and third time as well, but I think what’s really cool is that you get up on stage and you’re thinking about how you’re above everyone and there’s this huge crowd in front of you, and you’re nervous, but as soon as you start the first song, all of that goes away. Everything’s totally great and exciting and easy and fun and as the set progresses, you get more comfortable and the crowd gets more excited and it’s such a great feeling, seeing that every move you make makes the audience do something different. It’s great.

JT: I’ve played in other kinds of live shows before - I’ve played in jazz ensembles and in rock bands, but honestly I’ve never had a more exhilarating experience than a good hour DJ set. Man, that’s fun - just going out there and watching the crowd  - As for preparing, you have a general idea of what you want to play, like I’ll go on Souncloud the night before and I’ll go on a few other websites that I like to look at and I’ll get like maybe 20 or 30 new songs that I think are pretty bumpin and that would work. And then I’ll make a playlist and pop in another 40 go-to songs and now I’ve got double the amount of music I need, and having stuff that’s new is always important. Trying to figure out what song’s about to be big is a fun task. I also performed at Space Ibiza between ODESZA and their second headliner, Chocolate Puma. It was a pretty good crowd, at like a rooftop bar scene area.

HC NYU: Can you guys give any tips for other students who are also aspiring DJs?

JT: Watch hours and hours and hours of videos; that’s the only way to do it. There’s so many sites out there like Dubspot.com, Warp Academy, Groove3, that cover almost everything on music production. Just take it seriously like it’s a class in school, and really practice it.

NL: Videos of tutorials, production tips, how to build synths and drums, etc. I’d also say it’s really important to find your own sound. It’s okay to have people that you look up to, but for example if you see a tutorial of “How to make [artist’s name] synthesizer," watch the video, but then tweak it so that it’s your own sound.Also this goes for everyone in the music industry, not just DJs - while everyone in the music industry is trying to make it big, everyone still looks out for each other, so all you have to do is ask and show that you’re passionate, and you might be surprised with some of the results.

HC NYU: Do you guys have any future goals or plans?

NL: Right now, we’re about to release a good chunk of music [as TRIBE]. Mostly remixes and some originals, hopefully. As far as future gigs, we’re working on trying to get some opening spots at festivals, and we’ve got some really cool performances coming up too.

JT: I have the means to put music on iTunes and Spotify now, and I’d love to see TRIBE put an original on there in the future.

And just for fun...

  1. Favorite Movie: NL: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. JT: Space Jam
  2. Favorite TV Show: NL: Empire. JT: Breaking Bad, Arrested Development, Seinfeld
  3. Favorite Food: NL: Sushi. JT: Pizza
  4. Favorite Song (at the moment - both Electronic and Non-Electronic): NL: Electronic - Disarm You (Illenium Remix) by Kaskade, Non-Electronic - any song by The Weeknd, Habits Of My Heart by Jaymes Young. JT: Electronic - Be Together (Vanic Remix) by Major Lazer, Non-Electronic - Earl Sweatshirt by Sunday, Stitches by Shawn Mendes
  5. Favorite Study/Work Spot: NL: my room. JT: my room or Bobst
  6. Other Interests/Hobbies (besides everything that was discussed above): NL: I love rock climbing, surfing, and snowboarding. JT: I love watching movies and jogging.
  7. Ideal Date in NYC: NL: I think I’d like to watch some of those older New York romantic movies, probably something with ice skating, and watching the sunset from Hoboken. JT: On a nice day, I’d go to the Highline and get ice cream; that’d be pretty cool.
  8. What do you look for in a girl? NL: Well my mom says that she has to be Jewish [Jason: yea my mom says that too], I kind of agree [with Jason], as far as music, they can’t love country music, I want them to generally like the same kind of music I do, or be open to listening to it. I want them to be driven, it’s really cool to hear someone who really wants to do something. JT: She’s gotta be as crazy as music about me or almost as, I mean, she doesn’t have to, but she’s gotta have a passion for something. I really love seeing passion in somebody’s eyes, I love seeing somebody who really cares about something. That’s probably the biggest thing for me.

Check out TRIBE’s music and follow them on social media to keep up with their future performances!