By Indigo Davis
Christian Legaspi, also known by his stage name Esch, is the man behind the lights and the mind behind the music. Many of us have appreciated his talents during prom and other school dances, making him well-known around campus. Not only does Legaspi DJ, but he also produces his own music from writing songs, making beats, and performing them on a turntable. While you’re out enjoying yourself on the dance floor, Esch is giving your ears what they want to hear.
Legaspi’s love for music all started when he was growing up in the Philippines, and his mom constantly tried to put him on stage. Dancing and playing guitar were always a part of his life as child.
“In the Philippines it was like a friendly rivalry amongst parents to try to show off their kids talents or whatever. I never cared for it much until a family friend taught me how to play this little guitar,” Legaspi said. That was when it all started.
He played guitar for a while, “making mountains of horrible songs”, until he got more practice and realized what sounds he liked. He stuck with playing folk and rock songs, but then started the transition into DJing and producing.
“Hip hop lyrics and beat patterns were always a motivator for me,” Legaspi said. “I was listening to some gangsta stuff in Trinidad Elementary.”
Legaspi learned to make music by just going with the flow. He has had three guitar lessons and made the McKinleyville High Guitar Club his senior year, even though he didn’t know what chords or notes he was playing. He was inspired to start making music when his girlfriend at the time told him he was good at it. Once he started producing music, he learned the programs just enough to make beats and synths.
“To be honest with you, I have no idea what I’m doing. I just do it.” He said. “I’ve always just made accidental music.”
Once he started DJing for Accurate Productions, he was pressured to get a stage name.
“I was watching Pokemon with my girlfriend at the time and she asked if I wanted to dress up like Ash Ketchum for Halloween. It just hit me… DJ ASH Ketchum,” Legaspi said.
Unfortunately, a lot of people were trying to get that same name, and Legaspi didn’t want Asian jokes thrown at him, so he decided to change it to Esh. He liked that name, and everything went well with it, until one night. Legaspi was the opening DJ for Salva, and after the show a stranger came up to him and said there was already a band with a copyright to the name Esh. About a month passed by, and he decided to add a “ch” to differ from the other band.
“I just went with the fastest option. It was an embarrassing situation,” he said.
Aside from working with Accurate Productions, Legaspi has put on his own local hip hop event called GoodEats. He was excited to put on his own show, but also realized the amount of work and planning that he needed to do.
“I was stressed out the whole night but the second I got behind the turntables I forgot the world and the fact that my door guy probably should have had security,” he said.
Legaspi’s favorite venues in Humboldt are the Sapphire Palace in the Blue Lake Casino and Portuguese Hall in Arcata. He prefers big venues because in his opinion DJing for as many people as possible makes it easier. His favorite types of events to DJ are the ones where he gets to choose what music he can play.
“Give me five minutes with someone and I can make them a DJ but what makes a quality DJ is someone who can pick up what the crowd wants,” Legaspi said. “Anyone can play mainstream and get a majority of people to dance, but can they mix those songs tastefully together?”
Music has become a huge part of Christian Legaspi’s world. He has tried to separate from it and focus on getting his masters in Psychology, but music always comes back into his life. He explained that he never really felt welcomed here after coming from the Philippines, and music helped him feel more connected.
“Music made me feel connected to life and gave me a sense of belonging,” said Legaspi. “I swear I didn’t just make that up for Tumblr bloggers to write about.”
Christian “Esch” Legaspi will continue to make his own music, and be inspired by Dilla, Ta Ku, and Kanye West, as well as photography and visual media.
“I try to apply what I see to what I create in the sonic world,” he said.
Don’t forget that there is a man behind all the lights, beats, and turn tables.