The extraordinary life of Paralympian-turned-DJ Dylan Alcott
Originally published in the Weekly Review, 17 July 2017.
Dylan Alcott’s interest in music started when he sang in the Australian Boys’ Choir, although his time as a choirboy was short-lived. “I started playing sport, my voice broke, and I forgot how to sing,” he says.
But his love of music was never far away, which is why he is so happy with his latest gig presenting on triple j.
His passion for music has taken him to music festivals around the world, including Coachella in California, and Meredith and Splendour in the Grass in Australia.
“I love them all,” Dylan says. “That’s how I got discovered by triple j. I made a bit of a name for myself six years ago when I crowd-surfed at a music festival at Soundwave. People grab the chair and get you up. I’ve only fallen a couple of times.”
Dylan has had plenty of remarkable festival experiences. “I got on stage with my favourite hip hop group, the Wu-Tang Clan, and rapped with them at Meredith in 2014,” he says. “I got on stage with Queens of the Stone Age at Soundwave and went cruising around with them. It was cool, mate.”
The 26-year-old started at triple j in January, hosting weekend afternoon music shows and doing guest spots in the breakfast timeslot on Mondays and Fridays. “I’ve been a big triple j fan for a long time,” he says.
For Dylan, the role isn’t only about music. “It’s been a goal of mine since I was a little kid to change the perceptions of people with disabilities, and the best way to do that is through the mainstream media,” he says. “How many people do you know with disabilities in the mainstream media? We need to break down those barriers and I’d love to be that guy.”
He says there’s a long way to go in awareness of disability. “I was getting a coffee the other day and a lady came up and congratulated me on getting my own coffee.Her expectation of me was that I sat at home and had a carer and couldn’t leave the house. She’d never been exposed to someone with a disability. It’s not her fault. We need to expose more people so they realise we’re normal people, too. I just happen to be in a wheelchair.”