Drummond Money-Coutts (DMC): Magic to me is like love, a moment of suspension from reality

He loves magic, practices it like a musician and performs it, well, like a maverick. Famous magician DMC reveals how magic captivates him and how he continues to captivate his audience world wide

DMC
DMC
user

Kumar Raviraj Sinha

1. When did you realise that you wanted to become a magician?

My father’s side of my family come from a long line of banking. Hundreds of years ago, my great-great-grand father, started a bank, which is now a very successful private bank in the UK and underneath the bank is the oldest magic shop in UK. My father worked at the bank for 20 years. When I was 8 years old my father took me to this shop, and he bought me a deck of cards and a catalogue, and from there I learnt that it was possible to give people the experience, that magic always gave me. As a child I was always fascinated by magic, and by going to the magic shop I learnt that it was possible for me to give other people that experience. So, that began everything.

I never really dared to imagine that this could be a profession or a career, but I knew that magic will always be a huge part of my life. And slowly it grew and developed. As I went through school and college, I performed more and more privately. Then I left school, I became more successful as a magician. So, it’s been a very gradual journey. I always knew from that moment magic will always be a huge part of my life.

2. You have done many shows till date, which ones do you think are the best and most memorable for you?

It always depends on the people and the response to magic. So, for me it doesn’t really matter so much, where it is or who the person is but how they respond to the magic. One of my most memorable performance was in Udaipur. I was filming these home-made videos many years ago, for YouTube. I was performing with my camera on a tripod, then some children came up, they were very curious about what I was doing. And I turned to them and started performing for them. And I remember that their response to the magic was so pure, they hadn’t seen anything like that before. And for 20-30 mins, I performed for them, so it's moments like that for me. They really resonate with me and make my performances memorable.

3. What is so special about being a magician in today's world?

In today’s world magic is not something which it used to be. With technological advancements and internet, people are being more rational than ever. We as humans are becoming very rational and pragmatic. And in many ways magic has become more and more verified thing, so human mind craves magic more than ever now, a sense of mystery and astonishment and hence I think it's really important that magic should come to life.

4. If a person wants to learn some tricks from, would you charge them or offer a demo first or something?

It depends on who’s asking and usually I like to know how serious they are. Of course, everyone wants to know the secret to everything. But what’s important is how much have you studied magic and how much time have you invested in it. If it's just curiosity, then I am not going to show anything to anyone but if someone says I have studied magic for 4 years and put in hours of hard work and dedication, then I am more than happy to show a few things. It totally depends on how serious is the individual is to magic and is he/she willing to put in required hours and work.

5. Today, when virtual reality and augmented reality is so much around us, how is it to be a magician, to be able to create magic?

As I have said, with today’s technological advancements and growth of internet, anyone can learn magic tricks online. Technology in a way is stripping back many of the magic tricks by giving explanations to everything. At the same time with AI and AR, perhaps it could be said it’s generating that sense of magic. As per me, the pleasure that humans get after witnessing something that seems breath-taking and impossible will never go away. So, when one removes technology, be it today, a 100 years ago or 300 years ago, people will always have that fascination for magic. In many ways there always will be that appetite for magic and need for magicians to fulfil that.

6. What is magic to you? What does it mean to you?

Magic to me is like love. It’s very difficult to define magic in a single phrase. What magic means to you, a small child or an old person would be very different. Just like how the meaning of love will differ for you, your grandfather or a young girl watching a Disney movie, magic is exactly the same. We have to find our own definitions of magic, what magic means to us. To me Magic is the moment of suspension when you are removed from the present moment, when your mind sparks in a way that it removes you from your surroundings, it holds you in a moment of suspense and in that sense, magic can be anything from a piece performed by a magician or a music, book or anything else.

7. Since magicians carry a specially designed deck for certain tricks, can you do some tricks with normal deck as well?

A very talented magician should be able to magic with any deck of cards. Now, of-course there are several things made possible with special cards. They unlock special pieces of magic, but for me, if you give me a normal deck of cards, I will be able to do around 4 hours of magic tricks with those. When I first started magic, I made sure not to rely on special deck of cards or any prop, I would buy one very simple deck and then study and practice magic with those only. And of course if you have an opportunity to use special deck then that’s a bonus. I’ve always been purest with magic. I like to perform without expensive props, or gadgets. I like to think that the magic which I do, I could’ve done a 100 years ago. It’s not that I am using modern technology or things like these. I like to use simple props while performing.

8. Why do you think people like magic? Do they like magic, or is it just kind of limited to kids only?

I think as we begin as a child, everything is magic. There is wonder and mystery everywhere. But as we begin to grow old, we start to categorise everything, we try to rationalise the world around us, and we define cause and effect relationship to everything which is happening around us. That sense of wonder which we used to have as a child starts to decrease. Magic is an escape from the rational and cognitive world we all live in as adults and it returns us to that childlike sense of wonder.

I do very little magic for children and almost all of my magic is for adults. And more than anything I like to take intelligent and rational adults and give them that experience of magic. So, performing for children is not necessarily all too challenging, because for them so many things are magic. But performing for adult audiences, who have a very solid understanding of this world, that’s a much greater challenge for me and it is much more exciting to me.

9. Does it require to be very imaginative to be able to create magic? How challenging is it? What is usually the process of thinking/creating a trick/magic?

It's like music in many ways. As a musician you learn to become inspired by the people you meet, the places you go, the cultures that you experience and so for me, I like to be influenced and inspired by all these things. And I just find, now that I have studied magic for so long and understanding the language of magic, I can get inspired by wherever I go to. And then a beautiful piece of magic comes to my head. I think how wonderful it would be if I am able to create this feeling for someone and then I work out to put that all together.

10. Now that you are already quite popular, what is your ambition?

For me it has never been about fame or money, it is about creating that sense of magic, the experience that magic gave me as a child, I want to recreate it. So, giving people a fraction of the sense that magic gave me, to be able to recreate it. To pass that torch which magic gave me as a child, and to hand that to other people. It was such an intoxicating experience for me to watch magic as a child, it’s the greatest thing that I can convey to other people.

11. How long did it take you to learn all these tricks?

People say it takes around 10000 hours of practice to attain proficiency in one thing. So I would have been around 19 or 20 by the time I completed 10000 hours of magic. By the time I was in my early 20’s I knew I had a good command over the language of magic. But I think it isn’t something where you just have to reach a stage and then you are done. It requires constant practice, so that you can create new magic. It is an ever lasting journey.

Click here to join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines