Humans of UK: Lucas Thomas brings a new type of jockeying to Lexington


Carter Skaggs

Lucas Thomas, a freshman who frequently DJs at local bars, poses for a photo on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, at the Gatton Student Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Carter Skaggs | Staff

Reese Durham, Reporter

UK freshman economics major Lucas Thomas found his passion of DJ’ing at the age of 13 when he began tinkering around with online production software. His interest in music started even earlier than that. 

He began playing the trumpet in elementary school, following in the footsteps of his father who once played the instrument. It did not take long for other instruments, such as guitar and tuba, to be added to his repertoire.

By the time Thomas reached middle school, he had exhausted the different ways of messing around with sheet music. He needed something new that could allow him to express more of his creative side.

Cue DJ’ing.

His excitement was instantaneous.

“I was focused on all sorts of things where I could express myself,” Thomas said. “Music was a great outlet for that.” 

Thomas immediately took to YouTube to find out more, even buying online courses to learn how to make his own music. 

Every step of his day became a routine: go to school, come home, go straight to his room and keep learning.

“There is a lot of practice and time spent at home that people do not get to see,” Thomas said.

By 2018, at the age of 14, Thomas scored some of his first gigs at smaller events like weddings and continued to hone his art. He eventually even took a class with the DJ for the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago White Sox.

However, DJ’ing is not Thomas’s sole interest. He has a love for music production in general.

Thomas worked alongside a filmographer for a short film called “Silent” where he produced the soundtrack that was being sent in as an application to a New York film school.

Thomas was invited to New York to speak about the short film but COVID-19 deterred his trip. Thomas still spoke about the film via Zoom. 

As college got closer, Thomas ended up taking a break from DJ’ing to focus on his applications.

When he arrived on UK’s campus for a tour, the spark was reignited.

“The outreach in Lexington is just amazing,” Thomas said.

Since becoming a student at UK, he has been given many connections and opportunities, such as DJ’ing at the popular Paddock Bar and Patio in Lexington.

“Sometimes you get a tough crowd and seeing that crowd light up is something I really like,” Thomas said.

In terms of creating a setlist that will keep the crowd engaged, he said it is much more complex than one may expect.

“The grand scheme of how it works is that not every song can be mixed with any song. For example, a slower song that is around 75 BPM cannot be mixed well with a song that is around 125 BPM,” Thomas said. “It’s all based on what’s called key matching and beat matching, so every song has to be synched perfectly all the time.”

To suit such a task, Thomas has a library of over 1,000 songs that he uses for different gigs.

Thomas hopes to continue his passion for DJ’ing and music production, seeking to pursue a future career as a DJ.

“I am going to keep pursuing it to the fullest extent and giving it my all,” Thomas said. ”If an opportunity where I can make it a career opens up, by all means I will take it. However, I am also very serious about pursuing a career in economics.”

As for the present, Thomas is fulfilled by the progress he has already made, and said he feels like he “ended up where (he is) supposed to.”