In the midst of three DJ stages filling the Denver Convention Center with massive sounds at Decadence over the New Year's holiday was a blow up white igloo. It was frequently packed with dancing fans and DJs, but there was no sound coming from it.
The EDM.com Silent Disco felt as intimate as being at a small club. The sets were broadcast through radio waves into fans' headphones, which were provided by Sound Down, a Denver based Silent Disco company.
See also: Ten Ways Decadence Is Like A Carnival
Peter Hoang and Carlos Padilla, founders of Sound Down, went to a silent disco at the Treasure Island Festival last October and fell in love with the portable, interactive concert experience. As they returned to Denver, they looked for silent discos to attend and couldn't find any. So, in December of 2013, they started their own silent disco company. "We love music so much, and realized that Denver was in a spot of growth and this was something they needed," Hoang said. "Silent disco" is a unique party experience with live DJs, music or movies whereby the audio is fed through wireless headphones," as is explained on their website.
Hoag explained that silent discos originated in highly densely populated areas with a lot of noise pollution and ordinances. They are gaining steam in the US because of the versatility, portability and uniqueness of the experience. Sound Down uses their services for movie experiences, where the user can choose which movie to listen to in a room with many screens; they provide audio for art installations, where multiple audio sources can be playing a part in the experience. And, of course, they put on DJ shows.
Hoang explains you can have a silent disco in the middle of a remote field, because his company has long-range transmitters and battery-operated systems. So, a party or show doesn't have to be in a place with a speaker set up.
As for the silent disco at Decadence, eleven artist played on the stage, two at a time. The listeners were able to change their headphone channel to listen to either DJ. Denver based Milky.Wav, DJ J'Adore played a set together, and saw their fans switching their headsets to altering DJ's throughout the set. "I liked seeing that, it let me read my audience," says J'Adore. She brought up her tempo when she saw fans changing to the DJ next to her, and was aware of the color of the audience's headphones, which indicated their channel.
This was Sound Down's first year putting on an event at decadence, but not the biggest event they've put on, saying that street festivals in Denver have brought large crowds. "We are thrilled to be a part of the pulse of Denver," says Hoang. "Many people see silent discos as being anti-social, and I think that it's the exact opposite of that. We are really excited to be bringing culture into the streets of Denver."
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