Now here's some serious inspiration for all you wannabe DJs out there. The CNN headline "DJ rocks despite hearing loss" caught my eye this morning; have you heard of Robbie Wilde yet? Don't hold me to this, but this might the the guy that It's All Gone Pete Tong based their character Frankie Wilde on. Shit would be a little too ironic if it wasn't one and the same.
Robbie Wilde lost his hearing at the age of seven and has been DJing for a about a decade now. He learned from DMC world champion DJ Shiftee at Dubspot in New York. The concept of being deaf and a DJ isn't as implausible as most might think, you just have to approach the craft in a different way.
The idea first hit home when I came across Grammy-winning percussionist Evelyn Glennie. I discovered her years ago via a TED talk, which you really should check out here. She's an absolutely amazing drummer and has been profoundly deaf since the age of 12, which proves without a doubt that listening to music involves much more than simply letting sound waves hit your eardrums. She regularly plays barefoot for both live performances and studio recordings, to better “feel” the music. Serious, watch that TED video and tell me how a musician who has almost no hearing is able to play with such sensitivity and compassion?
Like Evelyn Glennie, one of the tools Robbie Wilde uses to mix records is feeling the vibration. Unlike Like Evelyn Glennie, where it's her and her drums (read: no vocals), to DJ you need to be able to hear the lyrics and composition, so Robbie Wilde relies on technology to see the music and differentiate between vocals, bass and kicks, via his laptop and DJ software.
To help him feel the vibration on a greater level, tho, he uses a brand new device called SubPac. So new it's not even out yet. It basically looks like one of those back message things that you put on a chair Or maybe a cushion. More on SubPac later today. I couldn't be more inspired by Robbie Wilde and what he's accomplished.
Theres a lot of sounds out in the world you dont want to hear. I like it muffled. I like who I am; Im proud of who I am. -Robbie Wilde
Check this video out, an HP Envy Commercial with Robbie Wilde using the Emulator and Traktor Pro to DJ.
You can read the CNN article here.