Why is your business called Disco Mountain? – Understandably I get asked this question – a lot! Luckily I love answering it.
Spoiler alert – this is not a short story!
I have always loved the imagery associated with 70’s and early 80’s Disco.
I’m drawn to the whole spectrum from the psychedelic 70s imagery conjured up by bright oranges and yellows and eye-popping cursive fonts, right through to the neon strip lights and luminous glitter imagery more synonymous with the 80s. My favourite film is Saturday Night Fever, I am drawn first to the look of the film – most notably the light-up dance floor of 2001 Odyssey discotheque – but also the contrast of the storyline. Saturday Night Fever is a film that is often considered frivolous and shallow but in reality, is a dark and disturbingly honest commentary of some very dark themes.
That light and dark contrast is deeply rooted in my personality, whilst I am, much like disco, loud, vibrant and exhaustingly positive, I am also drawn to what is probably best referred to as “the dark side”. Black Sabbath and Slayer records sit comfortably in my record collection alongside Earth, Wind and Fire, if you ask me what my favourite type of music (my first love) is I’ll talk passionately about something called “Doom” and my favourite colour is indeed black.
Disco Mountain is named after a piece of music that brings all this together.
To begin at the beginning – in 1867 Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky wrote a poem depicting a witches’ sabbath named Night on Bald Mountain. In 1886 Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov composed his version which was eventually used in the famously terrifying final section of Walt Disney’s 1940’s film Fantasia. It’s a stunningly dramatic and dark piece of classical music.
Cut to the 1970 and various artist started experimenting with bringing classical pieces together with more modern arrangements, the most notable of these is probably A Fifth of Beethoven by Walter Murphy which is what we refer to in my house as a “big tune”. Meanwhile, David Shire was also working on something similar for a particularly dramatic scene in the film Saturday Night Fever. He reproduced Night on Bald Mountain in a similar style to A Fifth of Beethoven and Night on Disco Mountain was born.
In 2015 I bought the domain discomountain.com. This was at the very beginning of my journey to becoming a web designer, at that point all I knew was I wanted to change my career, doing “something on the internet” seemed like a good path for me to follow and buying a domain that was a tribute to my favourite film but had no idea what to do with seemed like an excellent way to start that journey. I eventually used the domain to host my web development course final project – a website advertising an imaginary night club called Disco Mountain.
In 2019, after establishing myself as a web designer under the banner johamlyn.com I realised I needed to “pivot” my business. I had worked tirelessly to identify a career that would challenge me intellectually whilst simultaneously allowing me to express my true artistic and “vibrant with a touch of darkness” self. I hadn’t been put off when I discovered that lied in tech, a field in which I had zero skills, experience or influence. I had trained, built my client base and the resilience needed to do both those things but somewhere along the line, I had shied away from the true self bit.
I realised that there are loads of web designers out there (that’s a brilliant thing by the way) and if I wanted to stand out and do just the work I loved, building stunning websites for clients whose stories were as unique as the online profiles I created for them, I needed to be a bit more authentic. In essence, I needed to be weirder – I needed to create a unique business with a brand that represented me. One that if people liked it that meant they would like me and my work and if they didn’t that was ok, it meant clearly that they weren’t my ideal client.
When I asked myself what that business should be called the answer was obvious – and luckily I already had the domain name!
Going to work every day on Disco Mountain is a dream come true and my clients are happy to visit me there to make their online dreams come true – you are very welcome there too!