Defwill was born in Brisbane, Australia with hearing loss and damage to his nervous system. In spite of the difficulties facing him, he has made a career as a DJ and promoter, and is much loved by the underground dance music community in Queensland. Will has a lot of things in the works and I had the opportunity to ask him what the future has in store.
Q. Defwill you have a number of permanent disabilities and you’ve told me that you have 75% hearing loss. More than two years ago you explained to the Sunshine Coast Daily how you perform as a DJ with your disability, an impairment of the sense naturally associated with music. Can you take us through your process of preparing a mix, and give us some more insight as to how you perform live in the club?
A. Well I started digging through some of the artist I keep following and artist list keeps growing, due to many new sounds out there. As well I look out for waves that got creative taste that allows me to feel there journey of the song.
During the clubs, I play live and select random tracks to feed the audience on a new journey. Each gigs has a different story and vibes to share and tell for everyone to enhance the music loves.
Q. Your sound spans all manner of house and techno. What were some of the records, DJ sets or gigs that got you interested in electronic music?
A. Since watching Tony Harvey play back the days, while teaching me to mix tunes that I enjoy the most, it made me that I wanted to have ago. Yes, I had bad start with scene by putting finger up the audience and being complete show off. Which was deep mistake that nearly booted me out the scene and my career. So after taking some time away and accepting from my mistakes I started to do things professionally and peacefully by starting from the bottom to regain the respect from the promoters over time. It was hard hill battle to get where I am now and I’m still learning from old and new mistakes over time, while being that inspirational guy that just shows the magic of sounds.
Yes, we all make mistakes mistakes over time and keep driving forward to get better, but 1 thing I learnt. You only get 1 shot from each promoters and second chance is world war 3 work out to regain the respect and equality.
Q. In an interview with the Gold Coast Bulletin you told them that you learned to mix at Lightsounds in Fortitude Valley. When did you know you were ready to become a DJ?
A. I was ready by testing my fear with the audience, which I fail at times to times to learn everyday to have fun with them with the music. It only been recent that I’m having complete enjoyment and being true with the music, while expressing my story from the vibes.
Q. In 2013 you did well in DJ competitions at Chalk Hotel, Wharf Tavern and The Victory, which earned you a spot playing at Schoolies that year. You’ve also played at a heap of underground gigs, such as opening the night for DragonFruit Beats presents Steve Ward & Jamie Stevens in 2015. Those are some unique experiences, what were they like and what have you learned from them that will help you in the future?
A. During 2013 was a great year for my experience with electro house and many more with mainstream music during the year while building awareness at the same time. Then I faced my enemy with mental health conditions of double episode of anxiety in 2014, before Your Shot and started going into the depths of pure vibes of house and techno which made me grow to new places that I never experience before and I LOVE IT! Got the runner up for Your Shot Day 2 and played at Dragonfruit events for Steve Ward (Melb) and Dark Forest Festival in December 2015 (while being the artist manager for the amazing artist at the festival), last of all performing on the boat and closing the Paradise Stage for NYE White Party 2015.
Most of time Steve Dee (halfway House (SYD)) good friend of mine, show me the way of madloic journeys within the music during the early dark undergrounds vibes days and showed me Sydney Underground Music by visiting the Fox Studio for Flying Circuit Event featuring Alex Niggermenn and many more. It was one of great learning curves for me and passions to drive more to study more within the events and creative arts, while promoting disabilities awareness.
Q. Defwill you are not just a DJ, but a successful promoter too. In 2012 you started the La Vibrations parties, and on November 7 last year you had Aussie techno legend Steve Ward playing with some brilliant local support DJs at Capulet in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. What can we expect from La Vibrations in the years to come?
A. Had a great start with La Vibrations with the boat parties during the first year and started looking at interstate artist, so we decided to booked Steve Ward from Melbourne, due I was inspired with his old classic “Splash Of Greens” that was supported by Egbert and Secret Cinema performance in a international festival. We had great time and Steve was well looked after during his visted in Brisbane and meeting Errico that playing before La Vibrations event.
Now we looking doing few more underground techno and house artist from Melbourne that Cass (Cìrukè) and I dig during our exploring of performing at gigs around Brisbane and Cass interstate gigs.
Q. A lot of the old guard in our scene in Brisbane are still very active, be it DJing or running events. Who are your mentors in the music industry? If you could have a mix with anyone who would it be?
A. My mentors are everyone that wish give me advice or ideas to implement, but most of learning was from studying at TAFE QLD. Which I recently completed Dual Diploma in Events and Travel & Tourism, with some of best teachers I could asked for which included Renen from Manifest Music Festival, and volunteering at Andromida Festival with George and meeting Earth Freq reps ladies. Oh as well Peter (Classic dude! Such a funny medic to work with during the gate duties).
I love to have mix with all legends that knows the scene inside and out for the share of love unity with the scene, including it shows that pure vibes is all ways in the heart that capture the games.
Q. In an interview with ABC radio in 2013 you stressed the importance of advocating for people with disabilities. What do you think of Australia’s new prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and what is the first thing you would like to see his “thoroughly liberal” government do for people living with disabilities?
A. All I want to see that everyone working together while having equality to everyone to enjoy the social freedom. Yes, I understand there a lot of red taps that need bee look at, but the key is sharing educations for everyone to learn and enhance new audience to enjoy the nightlife and festivals for our beloved creative culture.
Q. You have been to schools and spoken about what it’s like living with a disability and what opportunities are available for people in that situation. Can you tell us more about that?
A. I been few old skills that I grew up and sharing my experience with teachers and students that comes to work to learn the hospitality trade at Fison Cafe (Help Enterprise), that like get advice to enjoy the nightlife. Nothing major, just sharing experience and ideas for those want to become artist within the scene.
Q. You are the perfect example of someone facing great difficulty, yet overcoming it to live the life you want to. What would you like to say to other people with disabilities who are interested in electronic music and even becoming a DJ?
A. Just do it, do it for the love and not for the money.
Q. It’s clear that you are really devoted to the music scene and running events. But when you’re not DJing or studying events management how do you spend your time?
A. Just collecting tunes, playing the PS4 or working during the working weekdays to keep driving through life.
What a truly amazing story, Will you are an inspiration to a lot of people. Thanks for being so patient with me and I look forward to your continuing success.
– Photo courtesy of Michie MissMich Pattie.
Defwill has put together a fantastic set for us, with music from some of the best in the genre. If you like techno you will definitely enjoy this. Thank you Will!
01. Giulio Lnt – Amen (Tony Kairom Remix)
02. Andy Rojas – Check This Out
03. Chad Chandhler – Breaking Good
04. Marco Resmann – Sun
05. Luigi Acidmachine – Strong Sister
06. Stefano Noferini & Paco Maroto – Million Units
07. Violent Blondes – PETRA
08. Luigi Madonna – Back To School
09. Dosem – Your Turn
10. Kiko – Slopper Boat (Nicole Moudaber Remix)
11. Luigi Madonna – Unconditional Beauty
12. Orlando Tosi – That’s My Sora (Matheo Velez Remix)
13. Pan-Pot – 808 Nirvana (Ray Kajioka Remix)