SilentMode.tv is a LEGO fan site, designed and built by SilentMode: an AFOL based in London, UK. Like SilentMode himself, the site is completely independent of sponsorship, endorsement and even approval.
Who is SilentMode?
The handsome guy on the left, whose real name is Drew. :O
Beyond the iffy humour, the controversy and inflammatory remarks, there isn’t much to tell. Like most AFOLs I was really into LEGO when I was a kid, starting out with a tiny LEGO set, then spending my pocket money on various sets, minifigures and parts from the old mail order catalogue. Eventually I gave it up due to the trouble it caused, as well as the idea that I had to move from System to Technic (based on age ranges).
My “dark age” lasted almost 15 years, until – in the middle of 2010 – I decided to take up model building as a hobby, and rebuilt my LEGO collection from scratch. Work was the only thing in my life at the time, and it’s no exaggeration that LEGO brought me back from the dead, in a creative and proverbial sense.
When I’m not doing anything LEGO-related, my day job is as a freelance web developer, and I’m very much into music (Latin, jazz, hip-hop and even battle rap!), fine dining, puzzles and a number of smaller things.
What does SilentMode do [that’s so special]?
I guess I’m a jack of many trades. Besides designing and building my own models, I do my own graphic design, webmastery, minifigure customising, storytelling and have even experimented with 3D printing to make custom parts. Of all the LEGO-related things I do, what I’m probably most known for is my slightly controversial reviews of official and third-party LEGO merchandise.
My designs and builds are more about function than aesthetics; you may notice I have a basic, minimalist style, influenced by art deco and the Bauhaus movement. I’m really into minifigures, therefore most of my creations are buildings, rooms and anything else minifigures can interact with.
Why the name “SilentMode”?
When I first joined an online community, I insisted on avoiding having a clichéd user name (i.e. “brick-something” or “something-brick”). For some reason I decided on the name SilentMode: the name of an Android app (I now have a BlackBerry). I guess it was true to my character, but in any case the name stuck.
Why have a web site?
Initially SilentMode.tv served as a backup of my reviews, in case something happened to my forum account. I also wanted to showcase my own creations and express my opinions without worrying about being censored, flagged, banned or undermined by others (although there’s still the risk).
I learned early on that it made no sense to compete with other established and far more popular web sites, if for no other reason than imitation being pointless. As an independent site (in all senses of the term), you probably won’t find exclusive information or juicy news updates, but you will find an personal and very human perspective.
The slogan “Do Your Thing”.
One of the traps I fell into when first joining the online LEGO community – as with others I’ve been part of – was trying to be noticed by doing what other people were doing. At the time Star Wars MOCs and clones of LEGO’s modular buildings, as well as large and detailed MOCs, were all the rage: things I had no interest in but seemed to get instant recognition. I guess I tried way too hard to compete, because the end result was frustration.
The only advice I’d give to anyone getting into LEGO is to build whatever they feel like building, and not worry about what’s popular or what other people are doing. Do things because you want to, because chasing fame, recognition or money will compromise your values.
In other words: do your thing.
What kind of LEGO are you into?
I’ve always been a City/Town person (although not a fan of recent sets), as most of my interest is in making houses, buildings, landscapes and communal areas for minifigures. One thing I really wanted to do when I was younger was to create a whole village of small houses under my bed!
I also have an interest in the old Space themes as well as Architecture and the Collectible Minifigures. I am particularly keen on the Friends theme (yeah I said it!) with its colour scheme and the minidolls, and I’m intrigued by the direction it’s heading in.