Interview: From drumming to DJing with Lucky Sun
Tom Lown aka Lucky Sun has been producing mellow house music for a number of years now. Following releases on Savoir Faire Musique, Lost My Dog and 5 & Dime Recordings, he has just recently put out his debut album, Olive Street. This album shows a maturity in his production, with a coherent body of work ranging from ambient through trip hop, house and more.
Prior to his involvement producing and DJing in electronic music as Lucky Sun, Tom was a drummer. It's in these early years that he found out about the necessity to protect his ears. Unfortunately, however, Tom has struggled with tinnitus for a number of years. Here, we ask him about his experience.
When did you realise you had to start protecting your ears and what triggered this?
At quite an early age, probably around 13 when I was doing a lot of drumming in various bands and orchestras, it was clearly very loud and highly recommended by my drum teacher that I use earplugs. It made a big difference but I never managed to use them while DJing or in a club environment, which is probably where the most damage was done.
Did anybody warn you against exposing yourself to loud music when you started playing drums at an early age?
Yeah, other drummers, percussionists and teachers.
What problems have you encountered as a result of tinnitus?
I really notice it when there is quiet or no noise, it’s a kind of hum/whistle.
As a DJ, spending the majority of your weekends at clubs and festivals, what effect does your working life have on your condition?
I don’t DJ that much anymore but when it was every weekend, I could certainly tell a difference when I was in the studio in the week as I had to really use my ears. I always try and produce at lower levels and not get louder until further down the mixing stage.
How have you found wearing earplugs when DJing?
I haven’t! It would have probably helped when DJing though.
How do you best cope with tinnitus under times of tiredness and stress?
Usually by having quiet/background music or even white noise to help me sleep.
What one piece of advice would you give to anyone in the scene to prevent them from getting tinnitus?
The earlier you start using earplugs the better they will prevent ear damage. It might seem strange at first but you get used to it. Also, I think there are really good ones these days.
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