DJ Zauce mixes and records original tracks

As students swapped sweatpants for dress clothes at the Augiethon formal in early February, they danced the night away to music by DJ Zauce. Dancers rushed to the DJ booth to say hello and request songs from Augie’s resident DJ.

Logan Swanson, whose stage name is DJ Zauce, plays tunes for events from weddings to Union Board of Governors (UBG) dances, in addition to recording his own mixes.

“It’s the only job that everyone is in a good mood, and it’s a lot of fun in that regard,” Swanson said.

Swanson said last year’s Augiethon formal was one of his favorite events to DJ because he knew many of the students who attended.

“It was really interesting to see all these people dressed up and to see the people who like to go out and the people who don’t like to go out all at the same place,” Swanson said.

The senior secondary education and STEM composite major said he plans to continue working with music well into the future.

“I would really like to open my own event center and have my own DJ company back home in Mankato,” Swanson said.

Having DJ Zauce at Augustana means campus events like the UBG dances, the Augiethon formal and the Viking Days Kick-Off were equipped with great music to set students’ moods high.

Swanson uses his minivan to transport and protect his speakers and thousands of dollars in music equipment. 

This summer, Swanson drove that signature minivan to DJ for 14 wedding dances. This fall, he has only two DJ events as he steps onto the field to play D-line for the Vikings football team. But in December, he has four more gigs. Spring for DJ Zauce means playing for high school dances and proms.

“He is very well-rounded to the fact that he can go play a wedding, a college bar or a kid’s birthday party. I think he still would be able to excel the atmosphere so that people are having a fun time,” Ryan Adams, Logan’s producer at KaiZen Studio, said.

Swanson’s DJ career began when he played several high school dances with two friends. Then Empire Productions hired him to DJ events. Since last year, Swanson has been making and recording his own music.

About once a month, Swanson visits KaiZen Studio to work on his craft. Swanson said he first “finds a beat” by listening for a strong baseline, tune and emphasized parts for a chorus; then, he freestyles.

“Logan’s cool because he comes in having an idea of what he wants,” Adams, who is known on the music scene as T.H.E. Honoroll, said.

Swanson said the production style between him and Adams aims for flow, trying different elements and seeing which fits best.

A collaborative song among Swanson and two other Sioux Falls musicians began with a favorite NFL player and a dance move. “Odell Challenge” is a song Swanson made with Soleil Bashale and Jamal Joseph, also known as JamCity, along with a music video and dance. 

The signature dance move mimics Odell Beckham Jr.’s famous one-handed catch, and because the team also recorded the song, the move fits perfectly with the music. 

The dance challenge video is available on Spotify, YouTube and other social media.

Not only does Swanson DJ and record songs, he also balances his involvement with the Augustana football and theater programs.

“It’s very hard to find someone that’s athletic, artistic and academic,” Adams said. “Those three things are very hard, and Logan has that.”

The name “DJ Zauce” came from Swanson’s time in high school theater when his peers gave him the nickname “Sauce.” He said someone’s parent brought Buffalo Wild Wings chicken without sauce.

“I was ticked,” Swanson said. “I was like, ‘How can you eat wings without the sauce?’”

Soon after, Swanson — who was participating in a secret santa gift exchange — received a sauce bottle every performance night, from teriyaki to barbeque to soy sauce. And, like fingers after some saucy wings, the nickname stuck.

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