With lockdown restrictions continuing, one man decided he was not prepared to wait for indoor parties to be sanctioned once again. So he went on to eBay, bought a custom-made three-wheeled bike, affixed his turntables to the handlebars and started simultaneously cycling and DJing around towns and cities across England, broadcasting electronic music from a speaker.
Dom Whiting, from High Wycombe, said he had been frustrated at not being able to help stage parties with the events company Audio Venom for so many months and thus took matters into his own hands to provide an outdoor forum for people to gather and listen to music.
“I wanted to bring people together and enjoy a bit of music, because we’ve been away from each other for a long time. We hadn’t had live music for so long, it’s nice for people to be able to come out and experience it,” Whiting said. “It’s not exactly a club atmosphere, it’s completely different, which actually makes it unique and special. It’s a nice feeling, people appreciate you coming to their city.”
After more than a dozen livestreamed outings since September, Whiting, 25, is developing a following. More than 100 people joined him on bikes, rollerblades and on foot in Brighton last weekend, and almost a million people watched his drum’n’bass journey through London.
“I didn’t actually realise that amount of people were going to come,” he said of his jaunt on the south coast, for which he wore a “Surveillance State” jersey. “I was so surprised when I looked behind and saw so many people following. I’m very humbled to have people come out and appreciate what I do.”
On the more than 2.2 million views he has amassed on his YouTube channel, he said: “It makes no difference to me, I’m still just the same and looking forward to getting to the next city. The most important thing is bringing people together. I just want to keep going and see how many more people we can add to the train of bikers.”
Whiting said it did not take him long to learn to proficiently mix tracks and pedal at the same time – though it is not plain sailing. “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.”
The idea came about when he was discussing how best to be a mobile DJ. “I was with my friend one night and he said: ‘Have you tried DJing on a bike?’. I didn’t take it that seriously but then, after assessing the options, I realised that it was probably the best way possible to be moving and DJing.”
Whiting has a keen social conscience, too: a charity ride of about 16 miles from High Wycombe to Maidenhead raised £1,500 for the mental health charity Buckinghamshire Mind. “During these very crazy times, I think mental health issues have been heavily overshadowed, arguably affecting people’s lives more than ever before,” he said at the time.
With a movement seemingly burgeoning behind the pedalling disk jockey, Whiting – who repairs cars for a living – said he intended to take his travelling roadshow across the country. “We’ll go to all the cities in England, for sure. That’ll see me to the end of the year. We’ll do it – no problem. It would be awesome to go abroad, too, but let’s see what happens.”