For fans of live music, the past eighteen months have been an absolute disaster. The UK is getting close to fully opening up, nightclubs and other big venues last on the list to reinstate freedom as we once knew it.
There’s one man out there who took it upon himself to bring electronic sounds back to Old Blighty’s quiet streets. And with it came the sense of togetherness and oneness that the rave scene once gave us.
Dom Whiting is a 25-year-old from High Wycombe in South England, not too far from London. He came up with the novel idea to start filming live streams of himself playing drum and bass (and occasionally house and techno) in the streets of cities across the UK.
He wanted to stand out amongst other internet DJs, though, so he heavily modified a bike and started live-streaming himself mixing, MCing, pedaling, and steering his bicycle. Anyone who says men can’t multitask needs to subscribe to this guy’s YouTube channel.
A Strong Start
Dom really mixes it up (excuse the pun) on his streams. On his first-ever solo ride out in Marlow, he jumped in the river Thames and then continued to mix and ride for another hour after that.
Nowadays, he uses his social media to let his fans know where the next event will be, giving him a peloton of drum and bass disciples. His most viewed video features him and an ever-growing squad cycling through central London to Hyde Park, where thousands of people celebrated 4/20.
The UK is far from perfect, but his videos are a testament to the freedom that can be enjoyed. On the whole British people like to see others having fun, and we will tolerate traffic delays if it means banging tunes and smiling faces.
Dom’s videos are peppered with comments of people saying you would not get away with these types of unexpected mass gatherings in the US and other countries. His videos showcase how this type of grassroots-level new trend can create a collective quickly.
It’s reminiscent of bygone scenes and illegal and legal raves. It’s the kind of thing that makes you proud of the British music scene.
Our multitasking hero has said that he will visit all the cities of England, which will keep him busy until the end of the year. There is a potential to take the bike and tunes abroad as well if Dom’s successes continue. One look at his Twitter page, and you can see that there’s no sign of him slowing down. This young man is going places, both literally and figuratively.
The Bike Build
Like most good ideas, Dom came up with the idea of Djing on a bike whilst drinking with a friend. Dom was already a handy guy with the ability to modify vehicles, being the owner of a car servicing and repair business.
He bought a standard bike and heavily modified it, two wheels at the front, one at the back, and a pair of DJ decks on the handlebars. Then there is a camera on a long stick facing the rider, and a large trunk on the front two wheels with all the technical stuff inside makes the magic happen.
There are speakers, a plethora of various wires, a power pack generator, and a powerful internet source that keeps Dom streaming no matter where he is (most of the time).
It took Dom multiple man-hours to create his musical three-wheeled contraption. The aforementioned bike wasn’t even the first build. The mark one bike was a two-man job.
His friend cycled for him while Don DJ’d in the back sat in a little cart. The new bike definitely creates a more exciting look and is a much more impressive feat to watch.
Dom could DJ, MC, and soak in the vibes from onlookers and his stream’s comments back in those early days. Although, now he has to be a high-functioning control freak.
Somehow he manages to stay tuned into his mixing, fans, and the dangerous world around him. He does have spotters upfront that plans the route for him, so thankfully, local topographical knowledge is one less thing for Dom to worry about.
“You just need to be aware of your spatial surroundings and keep your eyes out to make sure you don’t crash into a car or cause any damage. But when the sun’s out, it’s impossible to see the decks. It’s an absolute nightmare. I almost came off twice going down a hill in Bristol. I have to be careful sometimes when I’m riding because it is easy to come off,” said Dom.
A Cycling Revolutionary
Cycling really is one of the best ways to travel, slow enough to respond to the people around you and stop when you discover something worth stopping for. But fast enough to see plenty of new things on every trip, if that’s hours or days.
There’s a lifetime’s worth of stories to read about the world’s most intrepid cyclists, from brave women like Dervla Murphy and Jin to whacky game-changers like Ed Pratt. There’s no end to people changing the meaning of life on two wheels (even that is up for debate).
Dom Whitting, though, is truly in a league of his own. In the world of viral videos where everyone seems to have done something more exciting with their day than you have, it’s difficult to be an innovator.
This man is giving a resurgence to a type of music that must be experienced live to truly appreciate it. He’s giving people a reason to be outdoors beyond the usual call of the wild. A more people-centric experience based in urban spaces that still relies on movement, travel, and fitness.
Is it possible that something so positive could come from governmental restrictions during a global pandemic?
Yes yes yes!