Can You Feel the Music?

Sound check: Vibrations and visuals are the driving force behind DJ Harcor’s mix.

Posted by MShemel on Sun Jul 6, 2008

Music News
In most cases, feeling the music refers to the ability to procure feelings from the sounds and melodies of the music. When I was in high school, I recall a music teacher, Mr. Stickley, who commented that younger generations literally need to feel the music. Mr. Stickley was explaining that the popularity of bass intensive music such as Hip Hop or Techno had spurred a greater yearning to feel the vibrations of the bass, a reasonable explanation for the pounding subwoofers shaking cars as they drive down the road. I will now ask the next question. What if you had no choice? More specifically, what if the only way to enjoy the music was to literally feel it? For Spencer Collins, also known as DJ Harcor, there truly is no other choice as he has been deaf since birth.

Collins, from the UK, has developed a genuine liking for electronic music. Although he cannot hear it, his inclination towards music is not new. He has played many instruments since childhood, including the saxophone, the clarinet, and the drums. In fact, he has developed his other senses so well that he has made it his goal to mix it, devising a system that uses a combination of musical vibrations and sound wave visualizations to effectively mix the music without hearing it. Collins achieves this true feel by standing on pulsating speakers that serve as a sort of vibrating metronome.

For those of you skeptics who may admire his goals but also believe they are a bit far fetched, remember that electronic music is directly linked with technology, which is always changing and always improving. Collins mixes through detailed waveform visualizations, using products like “Total Control” from Numark. Such technology makes it possible to see the overlay of beats. While some would argue that a lot of visual tools are superficial, for Spencer, they are an absolute necessity, and have proven helpful.

“For many years, I've wanted to make my own beats, and create a form of music that everyone could enjoy, so that I can do it for Reading Festival or anything big like La Vela in the USA,” says Spencer.

After completing a 13-week training program last year at The DJ Academy and working with well known instructors such as Antix, Spencer believes he is ready to move forward and begin to share his music with the world.

When I asked Spencer about the types of music he likes, I was not surprised to hear the variety. After all, with a strong enough rhythm and vibration, it would seem that most any form of electronic music could be appealing.

“I'm into House, Drum and Bases, Techno/Electro, and Trance as well...
At the moment, I am doing my demo for nightclubs; also, I am looking for someone who can help me to create music as well... I would like to learn from the best. I am always looking to meet people from the music industry, who could be of help,” he says.

While the opportunity to share his talent with the world is more than deserved, the actual event on a large enough scale might shape a new era of music. Collins, as DJ Harcor, may very well spawn an entirely new genre of electronic music, made for both those who can hear and those who cannot. Personally, I think that DJ’s and producers alike should start thinking of ways to make their music adaptable for both the Deaf DJ and listener. Even with current technology, the applications and possibilities are endless. All avid fans and producers relate to him in at least one way, and he should be given the chance to relate to us, as to open electronic music to a population of people who until now have had very few means of doing so. Personally, I am already thinking of it, and would ask all of those who know me to do the same, as many of you know that your music may be more suited to the task. Such a feat should not be overlooked.

In conclusion, once again, I ask “Can you feel the music?”

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