8- March 9, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
BEATS BY A
The hobby that turned Mac Bennett from defenseman to disc jockey
by Matt Slovin-
University of an
son's glare before, but not here.
M ac Bennett had seen Red Beren-
There wasn't a rink in sight.
But at 35,000 feet, the coach
had a lot on his mind.
The Michigan hockey team was fly-
ing to Alaska, in search of its first win
in seven tries. Mired in its longest losing
streak since 1998, the Wolverines were
nothing short of desperate. Their coach,
however, chose not to focus on all of the
negatives surrounding his team, and
instead decided to get to know one of its
He turned to Bennett.
"What are you studying, Mac?"
"I think I'm goingto major in musicol-
ogy," Bennett offered.
Then he caught Berenson's stare.
Bennett's major, outrageously
different from his coach's business
degree, took about 10 seconds for
Berenson to process. And when he
finally did, he didn't mince words.
"What the hell is that?"
Undeterred, Bennett calmly
explained what is possibly the Col-
lege of Literature, Science and the
Arts' most obscure major, hoping to
earn Berenson's respect off the ice as
he had with his play on it.
"I'm still trying to figure (the
degree) out myself," Bennett said
later. "You learn about the history of
music, music theory and all that stuff.
...It's a broad degree of music."
Berenson mulled it over. If hockey
doesn't work out, does this kid have a
plan to fall back on? So he asked one
more question, looking for reassur-
"Can you make money doing that?"
Bennett promised him that it was,
in fact, possible. Satisfied, Berenson
turned away and the aircraft continued
its cruise against the jet stream into the
great white north.
With the coach's inquisition finally
over, Bennett searched for an escape -
from the white noise of a commercial
plane and the burdens of a mid-season
slump. He reached over for his fix of a
drug that can get him through even the
most difficult weekends. He dove into an
alternate reality that relieves him of the
stress that comes with being a Division
Mac Bennett turned to music.
In a corner of the room - beneath a
collection of papers, pens, candy wrap-
pers and a Nyquil cup - is a desk. Beneath
the rubble sits music-making equipment
valuable enough to break the bank and
powerful enough to fill auditoriums.
Don't call that Rhode Island native
with the NHL pedigree seated at the
desk Mac Bennett.
In that setting, he goes by Beats.0, the
stage name coined by Bennett and former
teammate Scooter Vaughan, who gradu-
ated from Michigan in 2011. ("Probably
the only black guy you'll ever meet who's
I was over at (Scooter
Vaughan's) house one
day and he had all of
his DJ stuff out. Buttons
and wheels and stuff - I
wanted to touch things.
into electronic nusic," Bennett said)
Fixated on the Iluminated screens in
front of him, Ben ett's transition from
blue liner to artist is as quick as the trip
from Yost to his homemade studio.
Bennett's bede m, a converted din-
ing room at th use he shares with
teammates Lu lendening, Shawn
Hunwick, Greg ryn, David Wohlberg
and best friend Derek DeBlois, offers vir-
tually no privacy. His bed is separated
from his rambuitious teammates in the
living room by a sliding door that opens
from either side.
At night, the setup can be a nuisance.
Sleep is a precious commodity after log-
ging hours at the rink. But when Bennett
throws his Beats by Dr. Dre headphones
over his ears, it's like he's still thousands
of miles away in Alaska, too far away to
be bothered, too focused to care.
Bennett has no shortage of musi-
cal influences, but Vaughan's has been
the most powerful. As an impression-
able freshman last year, Bennett saw
Vaughan, one of the team's leaders, disc
jockeying at house parties. By about
December of 2010, Bennett decided that
was something he wanted to pursue.
"I was over at (Vaughan's) house one
day and he had all of his (disc jockey)
stuff out," Bennett recalls. "Buttons
and wheels and stuff - I wanted to
Under Vaughan's tutelage, Ben-
nett learned the ropes. Like he would
with a Berenson defensive scheme,
he learned quickly. But the sounds he
spun weren't uniquely his - yet.
"And even when you're gone, you're
always right here in my heart. I think
about you all the time so we're never
Mac looked across the stage at his
then-girlfriend Sarah. With all 600
of The Hotchkiss School's students
waiting intently, he knew this was his
Mac sat with his heart in his hands
- and a guitar too. His serenade of
Sarah went perfectly. By the time he
was finished, there was hardly a dry
eye in the place among the girls. After
they stopped crying, they rushed
home and downloaded the song, "Blue
If Bennett doesn't look like he has the
least bit of stage fright under the bright
lights of Yost, it's probably because he
had to get over all of that really fast at
Mac's sister, Carly, a college-hockey
prospect herself at Hotchkiss, won't ever
stop hearing about her heartthrob older
"I cannot tell you the amount of times
girls have come up to me and said 'your
brother's song is so cute,"' Carly said.
See BEATS BY MAC, Page 9
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