Sophomore Mehul Tolia, known as “DJ Brownbear,” will open for Timeflies at their first concert in Michigan this Sunday at Wayside Central, 2000 S. Mission St.
Before attending Central Michigan University, Tolia attended Indiana University and Oakland University. Now he’s studying audiology at CMU, but plans to take his dental exam this summer.
“I really want to be a pediatric dentist and work with kids,” Tolia said.
He said he took two years off after his sophomore year at Indiana University.
“I took off to DJ and produce,” he said. “I was working with five other guys, making and producing music and DJing around the country — Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Indiana.”
Tolia, who also plays the drums and piano, said music has always played a major role in his life.
“I’ve always looked to music as my outlet from stress,” Tolia said. “I had a pretty interesting childhood. Nothing was ever handed to me. So now I appreciate everything I’ve got. Music for all the stressful times was just sitting there; I could always rely on it.”
After getting into DJing, Tolia said he realized music could be a professional hobby.
“But it’s not just a hobby, it’s a passion,” he said. “I can take it wherever I go and it’s something that will keep me grounded forever. It keeps me sane.”
Tolia’s DJ name comes from a nickname he had in high school.
“In high school, everyone called me ‘Brownbutt,’” he said. “I was one of five Indian people. I got along with everyone. As the DJ passion grew, people kept calling me ‘Brownbutt,’ so I thought I’d convert that into ‘Brownbear.’”
For “DJ Brownbear,” it’s all about the crowd’s vibe.
“I just zone out when I DJ,” Tolia said. “I try to read the crowds. I also do weddings almost every weekend, which is a totally different scene. For me, it’s about making people forget what’s happening, and focus on what’s right now — let’s have a drink and dance. No pressure, no stress.”
Tolia said his parents are very supportive.
“My mom wants to come to every event I DJ at,” he said.
Tolia and Commerce Township senior Greg Smith are responsible for helping bring Timeflies to Wayside.
Timeflies, the electronic duo of Cal Shapiro and Robert ‘Rez’ Resnick, have been touring the country over the past few days, doing shows with artists like Nelly and Gym Class Heroes.
“These guys are doing their thing,” Tolia said. “They’re original.”
Jon Hunter, owner of Wayside Central, said he’s excited for Sunday’s concert and is expecting it to be a big event.
“Mehul and his friend Greg came to me and said, ‘We know the Wayside always likes to do events and we have an idea,’” Hunter said. “After looking at it, I said ‘Alright let’s do it.’”
Hunter said pre-sale VIP tickets sold out in less than two days and around 600 tickets are already sold.
“I hope these guys come in and sing their hearts out,” Tolia said. “I hope they have a good time and help put Central on the map again. I’m really stoked and excited for the show.”
General admission tickets are still on sale for $15 and can be bought at timefliescentral.eventbrite.com. Hunter said tickets will be available at the door Sunday, but most likely at an increased price.