Winter Music Conference is traditionally all about bringing the noise, with big beats and booming bass cascading throughout South Beach and its surroundings.
But imagine an event at a hotel where its guests can choose between grooving to pulsing electronic music – or simply enjoying the silence.
Impossible? Not when headphones for the masses are involved.
The “HUSH Ultimate Silent Beach Party,” from noon-7:30 p.m Wednesday, March 24 at the Surfcomber Hotel (1717 Collins Ave., Miami Beach), offers one of the most unique experiences during all of WMC – an interactive journey through sound where you can choose from, and vote for, various DJs.
Here’s the deal: HUSH is set up to pit eight U.S. DJs against eight DJs from around the world, two at a time. Put on your headphones and choose which sounds rock your soul, and vote afterward.
“We’re gonna have 550 headphones available, all custom-made for this purpose, with both mute and volume-control functions,” said event organizer Daniel Saro. “And they allow us to play two DJs at the same time on different frequencies, and people can switch between each individual DJ. If you don’t like one DJ, you can switch to the other one automatically.”
So where did this idea originate?
“The first concept of people dancing with headphones came from a Finnish sci-fi movie in 1969 called “Time of Roses,” said Saro. “Then, in the ’90s, eco-activists utilized this concept of headphones at parties to minimize noise pollution and disturbances to the wildlife. And around 1999 or 2000 a Dutch company came up with the name “Silent Disco” and started using it at parties, and in 2000, BBC Live Music did a thing called “Silent Gig” with a band called Rocket Goldstar, and they also used the headphones. That’s a brief history. In Europe, it’s used mostly in places where there’s a problem with noise disturbance, where they can’t have loud music playing.”
If you’d expect most DJs to balk at the idea of changing things up sonically, think again.
“All of them [we approached] are thinking it’s a cool idea,” said Saro. “They were a little worried about how to really make it happen, but they liked that it’s something different. They just didn’t know whether they would have monitors, how they could hear the music, and how we’re gonna make it happen.”
Predictably, you’ll hear house music in all its various forms, but there will also be a few change-ups, said Saro.
“We chose a variety of DJs – some are going to be playing more progressive house, but there’s also DJ Crush, whose background is more hip-hop and disco. So it’s going to be a big variety of musical styles. And it’ll be actually out on the sand, to re-create the Balearic style from Ibiza.