I got my first taste of mixing my own music back in the winter of 2005 and started to mix and occasionally get my hands on a sound system at friends’ parties. DJ-ing is loads of fun and the DJs often like to not only mix and spin but also dance as much as the crowd does. With me however, there is one small catch, I am a DJ, but I have a disability called Aspberger’s disorder. Aspberger’s is an Autistic-related learning/social Disability. DJ-ing with a disability like mine makes doing certain things more difficult then they might seem for most DJs.
Electronic Music is more than just something I want to do as a hobby, it is something I want to do and it is more than just an interest for me. Electronic music is a wonderful genre with plenty of endless opportunity to space out. The problem there is that I space for long periods and sometimes I space out and do not make it back to reality fast enough. For this reason, I always have another person behind the decks with me so that if I space out in between the songs and am not hearing the start of another song or should be paying attention, then that other person can get my attention in real hurry. I spin more private parties for friends and occasionally I will DJ a community event or go in a challenge for fun. I enjoy stuff like that, as it keeps my confidence up.
One spot where people will actually hear my disability is in my music. It is simple and direct, much the same way you to talk to someone who has Aspberger’s disorder. A lot of my sound is beat and rhythm oriented, but this comes more from my being an Irish Dancer not from my disability. When it comes to creating music, my system may not be up to standard, but that is beside the point. I need and use mixing programs that are easy for someone who doesn’t get a clue when it comes to technical talk and long winded explanations to use. With someone who has Aspberger’s disorder, you need to be direct, gentle and straightforward. In this same aspect, I need programs for mixing that are the same way. I have trouble with basic things when I mix my own music like creating my own samples and creating my own technique. This often leaves me upset and somewhat depressed, especially when my disability does not let me hold down a job in order to acquire funds to purchase the equipment I would like to have.
As a DJ with a disability, I have some special requirements as readers of this article can see. However one thing that people with Aspberger’s Disorder do have is huge drive to keep going even in the face of adversity. Though we don’t always take critsism very well we do try to incorporate what others tell us into our understanding. I find more and more that if I do not have my ears in the mixer or am not behind the deck on any given night, then I feel empty, hollow and worthless.But this feeling is diminished with each round in the mixer or behind the decks. I guess it could be said that I already have set myself apart by trying my hardest to DJ with a disability. Where I go from here, I don’t know. All I know is that when the feeling grabs you, take hold of the decks and your dreams, and let the discs and your heart, spin like they’re on fire!
"Never be a prisoner of your own style."(Armin van Buuren)