Local DJ duo pursues passion during pandemic

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Ethan Ramos and Drey Despot. (Photo courtesy of SHIFTY)

Tucson DJ duo SHIFTY aims to shake things up in the local music scene. SHIFTY is composed of Ethan Ramos, 23, and Drey Despot, 21, and together they specialize in bass house music. 

Utilizing heavily layered production with energetic buildups and breakdowns, the two keep spirits high with their dynamic sound and performance style. Though they are currently focusing on bass house production, they are eager to switch up their style and push the limits of their creativity.

“We don’t necessarily want to box ourselves in,” Ramos said. “We want to be free to do whatever we want to do.”

The two performers met during the pandemic and bonded over their shared love of music production and live mixing. Since they agreed to start making music together, the pair haven’t looked back.

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SHIFTY credits their unique stage presence as a big part of what differentiates them from other bass house DJs. Their high energy and intimate engagement with the crowd creates a thrilling live performance that is electrifying to witness.

“Together, our stage presence is pretty unmatched,” Ramos said. “When we’re together, we just feed off each other.”

Ramos and Despot thought of the name SHIFTY while browsing skateboarding videos on Instagram, referring to the way one’s feet shift around the board while preparing for a trick. After realizing the appeal of the word, the two immediately knew they had discovered their moniker.

“We thought this might give us an opportunity to reinvent the word,” Ramos said. “We’re taking something that has a negative stigma about it, and we’re completely shifting what the culture is around that word.”

After establishing the name of their duo, the two began working to craft their social media presence, making accounts on Soundcloud, YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. They said believe that having a prominent social media presence is essential to achieving commercial success.

“In this day and age, it’s too freaking important,” Despot said. “We have our YouTube channel that we post once a week, and then we’re on the TikTok game too. And I think that’s helped us a lot to gain attraction.”

Having already performed regularly at local venues like Gentle Ben’s and Funky Monk, as well as large-scale events like Dusk, the pair intends to keep their momentum moving forward and play even bigger festivals and events in the future. With their sights set on the future, there’s no looking back for this talented twosome.


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