DJ sweetens Burlington music scene


Mike Scaturo, aka Cake Effect, has big things ahead of him. 

The group he performs with — Electrode Entertainment — just got a regular gig at Metronome on Thursday nights, he’s playing a show at Webster Hall in New York City next semester and he’s opening for Burlington’s Barstool Blackout Tour shows in January.

Scaturo, now a junior at UVM, stumbled into making mashups by chance.

“Freshman year one of my roommates showed me this program [to mix music],” Scaturo said. “I started messing around with it.”

He said he did not plan on doing anything more than making a few mixes.

“I never really intended it to go bigger than for fun, but over time it kind of just blew up,” Scaturo said.

The name Cake Effect that Scaturo performs under also came about largely by chance.

“Me and my friends were talking and they said, ‘You need a name. You can’t just go by Mike,'” Scaturo said. 

In hindsight, Scaturo said that he has not always been happy with the stage name he chose.

“I kind of wish I’d come up with something better,” he said. “People make frosting references sometimes, like a cupcake. Now I can’t really change it, though. I guess I don’t hate it too much.”

As Cake Effect, Scaturo has released a number of mixtapes and plays shows with some regularity, but he is also a full-time student.

“It can be tough at times [to balance music and school], in terms of the workload,” he said. “It’s a lot more fun to work on a new mashup than study for a statistics exam. [But] it usually ends up all balancing out in the end.”

When Scaturo spoke about coming up with new material, it seemed that making music could live in harmony with daily student life.

“I’ll hear a song I like — on the way to class or in the shower — and I’ll go home and download the a cappella version of it,” he said.

Scaturo said that after combining the song with other music, if he likes the result he’ll show his friends and see what they think.

This may sound simple, but the attention Cake Effect has gotten speaks to Scaturo’s knack for making music.

The Barstool Blackout Tour is coming to Burlington on Jan. 19 and 20. 

Originally, only one show was planned, but the first show sold out so quickly that another one was added, according to the Higher Ground website.

Both shows are now sold out.

Scaturo will be opening for both shows.

“We heard they were coming to Vermont, and I was really excited,” Scaturo said of Barstool Blackout. “I think that’s what our campus really needs.”

Scaturo’s manager contacted the people in charge of the show and sent in some of Scaturo’s music, Scaturo stated.

“They said they’d like to give me a spot,” he said. “I’m really excited. Barstool is one of my favorite websites.”

Burlington has been a good place for Scaturo to work on his music, both with opportunities to play shows like Barstool Blackout and a community of fellow DJs.

“[It’s great] how tight-knit all the UVM DJs are,” he said. “The music scene is pretty thriving. Good shows come here; [there is] good inspiration.”

Besides getting inspiration from shows that come here, and national electronic dance music (EDM) artists — such as Super Mash Brothers, the group that Scaturo called his favorite — Scaturo expressed appreciation for a fellow Burlington artist or two.

“Pierce Fulton is someone locally who I aspire to,” he said. 

Scaturo further participates in the local EDM community as a member of UVM’s EDM club.

Looking to the future, in addition to playing more shows, Scaturo wants to advance his music itself, he said.

“Mainly [I want to] actually start producing original music,” he said. “I played a lot of instruments in high school. I miss reading sheet music. Mashups can only get you so far. Producing my own tracks is the next step.”