Helping a blind DJ to start scratching

mindaugas Blind DJ

There’s nothing quite like being able to use the industry contacts we’ve gathered over the years to make a genuine difference in someone’s life. Such is the case with Mindaugas from Lithuania. Via a chain of friends including DJ Tech, Mike from Pro X Fade, DJ Rasp, and the IDA World, we were all able to help Mindaugas start down the road of becoming a scratch DJ. The only small wrinkle in this plan is that Mindagaus is blind.

Enter DJ Mamania, a Lithuania DJ and friend of Mike and Rasp. I’ll let him take over from here:

Hello!

My name is Arturas, but in my country Lithuania my friends and others call me Mamania or DJ Mamania.

I’m DJing for 20 years. I used to take parts in DJ competitions and I continue to play club nights, concerts with my band G&G Sindikatas and hosting weekly radio show Gatves Lyga.

A little bit more than a year ago I was contacted by the guy named Mindaugas. I knew he was blind. I also knew that he was starting a band, had some recordings done. The reason he called me was the turntable. He wanted to learn to scratch. I personally have couple sets of turntables and Mindaugas was asking to sell one turntable for him. At first I couldn’t understand or better to say imagine how he wants to do that scratching thing. He asked me a couple of questions more, from what I understood he wants some phrase cuts on his bands tracks and wants to learn it to do by himself. Yeah, same as DJ Premier or DJ Revolution do. I also remembered the blind dj participating in DMC World in 1996, so I thought to myself it’s actually worth of trying.

It was the time when Technics discontinued the production of their turntables, so I was not willing to sell any of them. But I said, I will search for a used deck online. That was quite a challenge, because usually they sell them as a pair. Mindaugas wanted just one. I found an advert on Lithuanian dj forum where one girl was selling two decks. She made a car accident and had to sell her decks to pay the damages. I bought both, also explaining that it’s not for me. So Mindaugas gets his turntable and I get one too. So almost at the same time one friend of mine who owns small underground club calls me up and also asks for one turntable. Great I said, I got one and you can buy it.

Then comes the time that Mindaugas actually needs a mixer and that’s a tuff one to be honest. We were sitting with him and chatting about the amount of money he can spend. He started buying vinyl records so he was on some small budget. I spent some time researching. I came with vision of simple two-channel mixer with no extra effect buttons and faders was perfect for a blind guy.

My first idea was to buy some used Vestax mixer and get the new Pro X Fade crossfader in it. But there was nobody selling it. I called a couple of DJs and used to be DJs with questions about mixers. Unfortunately no one had anything to offer. Then I remembered a video demo with DJ Rasp, who actually was opening performer for my band G&G Sindikatas on UK tour the same year. He was showcasing DJ Tech mixer. I went online to find more info on that simple on the first view mixer. I was surprised that it happened to have very good quality for a really small price. But then comes another problem – it’s not for sale yet! I contacted DJ Rasp straight away. There was BPM show the next weekend where DJ Rasp wanted to go to the DJ Tech booth to talk about the early purchase. Unfortunately DJ Tech booth was not there.

Later on I reached out to Mike Williams, the man behind the great Pro X Fade name. I wrote him the whole story about the blind guy Mindaugas wanting to become a turntablist and trying to get DJ Tech mixer for him soon. It took a month for Mike to come back to me with some extraordinary news. He was on the phone right after the IDA championships in Poland and said that Mindaugas will get his mixer for free! Mike also said that it’s him and DJ Worx guys are taking care of that what made me very happy and Mindaugas even more. DJ Tech mixer came with whole bunch of goodies for the blind guy to start his dream working straight away – battle records, IDA slipmats, plus T-Shirts and whole other merchandise. Truly amazing!

Recently I started showing Mindaugas some scratch basics. He can’t see, so tutorials online are useless, unless he shows me the sounds he likes and we will try learning and recreating it. It’s an interesting process, but quite an experience to show and see how person wonders hearing the sounds made buy his hands. We started with baby and tear scratches. It will take some time, but hopefully my weekly visits will push things forward faster.

I want to say big big thank you to Mike Williams at Pro X Fade, DJ Worx, IDA and DJ Rasp for giving opportunities for those who don’t have many of them – I salute you!

Arturas / DJ Mamania

Helping a blind DJ to start scratching

At a time when the scratch scene seems to be tearing itself apart from within, instead of drama it’s really nice to see some good coming out of it. We’ll keep revisiting this story to see how Mindaugas develops over the coming months and wish Mindaugas the very best of luck in his quest. And thanks to Mike, Rasp, the IDA and Mamania for making this happen!