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Embracing the exuberance of DJ Volpix

DJ Volpix (Rhys Nybo) has a passionate, exuberant attitude towards music.  - Will Johnson photo
DJ Volpix (Rhys Nybo) has a passionate, exuberant attitude towards music.
— image credit: Will Johnson photo

Rhys Nybo came up with his DJ name while watching Pokémon with his wife Alanna. He liked the name of one of the characters, Vulpix, and decided to tweak the spelling to suit his purposes.

When asked what the name “Volpix” means to him, Nybo had no shortage of answers.

“High voltage. Electric. Spunk. Full of life. Lively. Enjoy. Compassionate,” he said. “I hope my music lives up to that name.”

Nybo’s enthusiasm is contagious, and he has no shortage of creative ambitions. As well as being a self-taught DJ, he is an actor, artist and multi-faceted designer.

“Basically I like to design anything, including music,” he said.

For the past few years Nybo has been teaching himself how to use the equipment and software necessary to become a digital mobile DJ, but it was his recent mentorship with Selkirk College practicum student Eden Martin at Nelson CARES Society that encouraged him to take the next step and book a gig.

Nybo performed for the first time at Expressions Cafe on April 24, and owner Nelson Becker said he was thrilled by the turnout. Approximately 15-20 people congregated on the dance floor for the pre-recorded two and a half hour set.

“It was a mix of things we knew, mashed up, and some things we didn’t know,” Becker said. “I wouldn’t have known it was his first time.”

“Sometimes I find electronic music really unlistenable, but his stuff? His stuff is very listenable. It was dancing, gyrating-type music.”

Martin echoed the sentiment.

“When Rhys got on stage, he shined. He was in his element, not shy at all. When he played Black Eyed Peas, everyone was yelling and happy.”

Nybo was nearly lost for words when he tried to describe the recent performance.

“I felt a fire in my heart and a motivation. I practiced and I got myself together and I got ready,” he said. “There’s no words to describe that. It feels like a bonfire. It feels like I’ve accomplished quite a bit.”

Nybo said he still can’t believe that he’s getting a chance to be a performer. Though he currently loops and mashes up other artists’ songs, he expressed aspirations to ultimately produce his own album of original content. His taste in music, which he credits to his father Greg, ranges from rock, hip hop, reggae and electronica.

“I had a good musical education from a young age,” he said.

He said he finds the process of creating music immensely satisfying. Two of his favourite tracks include Daft Punk’s “One More Time” remixed and “Feel so Close” by Calvin Harris, integrated with a “good ripping instrumental tune by the Venga Boys.”

“Sometimes I’ll listen to my MP3 recorder and think `did I do that?’ And I say to myself `yes, I did’, then I smile. It’s amazing. I want to do more.”

Nybo is grateful for Martin’s help in planning and executing the gig.

“She helped me bring it to life,” he said. “I always wanted to be an entertainer and give back to the community. I feel stoked, exuberant.”

Martin down-played her role, and emphasized Nybo’s creative dårive.

“Rhys is a part of our community, but he’s very independent,” said Martin. “He’s completely driven. It’s amazing.”

Carrie Clark, the supported employment assistant of Nelson CARES, was effusive about Nybo’s musical prospects. “We had an opportunity to have a student work with him, so I talked to my supervisor to see if we could take this on. We teamed him with Eden and he ran with it.”

“She would give him homework and he had this whole binder organized. You should’ve seen it. Since his gig ended, he’s been in here every day. Rhys has really big dreams.”

Nybo, who has Down syndrome, said there are many misconceptions about people with his genetic disorder. He said once people realize how talented he is, they are often surprised.

“I think most people look at me and see high capability,” he said. “They don’t realize I can do the things I can do, but I can. I’m very intelligent with technical things.”

On top of his creative pursuits, Nybo also works for the Nelson CARES society, delivers papers for the Nelson Star and volunteers for Our Daily Bread Soup kitchen. He said art is 90 per cent of his life, which leaves 10 per cent for “everything else”.

“I love people, I love kids, I just love the whole community,” he said.

For more about DJ Volpix and his music, visit his Facebook page at facebook.com/volpixdj.

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