You’ve been in the industry a long time and been a big player in the scene in Asia..
What are the biggest changes you have seen in the past few years around the region both as a promoter, DJ and looking from the outside?
The marriage of Trance, Electro House & Pop has made EDM arguable the biggest mainstream sound in the history of dance music, and it has taken over not just the region, but the entire globe. Most clubs with big capacity (1000 and above) have all gone down the EDM route in order to pack the club. But that said, there’ll always be some form of resistance to the mainstream, which have developed into a burgeoning “underground” scene in smaller, more intimate clubs and venues. As a DJ, the last few years wasn’t easy, having to see many of my younger supporters, and even some producers that I’d been supporting, all making the giant leap to EMD. But I’m happy to say that I’m now comfortably nestled between playing a deeper darker sound of Deep House/Tech House/Techno for my ONE brand, and an alternate style for Nu Disco/Indie Dance/House/Bass via my Singapore Island Culture Club parties.
You have worked at Asia’s number 1 and world famous club Zouk for a very long time.
When did you start and how did you see it evolve to the instition that it is in 2015?
I started working for Zouk as a resident DJ in May ’96. Took on an additional position as DJ Bookings Manager from ’00-’07. Zouk was at the forefront of it all, way before dance music & DJ culture really existed in Asia. Thanks to the foresight of the owner Lincoln Cheng, of course with help of influential DJ friends like Paul Oakenfold and Sasha, and together with a passionate, like-minded and dedicated Zouk team, they started in March ’91, and worked really hard over the last 2.5 decades to build the brand to what it stands for today. So I guess I was part of that process! 🙂
Any memorable moments that really define the venue as game changing?
Being able to pack out the Zouk main room with names as varied as Miguel Migs, Masters At Work, Danny Tenaglia, Sasha, John Digweed, Jeff Mills, Sven Vath, Paul Van Dyk, Armin Van Buuren was a feat on its own. But a definite game changer would be the club’s decision to organize the very 1st ZoukOut festival in ’00, again at a time when festivals yet to exist in Asia!
Now you have made the big move to Bali and involved at Seminyak hot Spot Hu’u Bar.
Can you tell us about the move and what your new role is with Hu’u and any plans you have you can let us know about?
Yes! Relocated to this spiritual isle earlier in March, and took on the Music Director roll at Hu’u, after several successful gigs with them last year. Have recently rolled out a couple new nights, namely CHE on Wednesdays, focussing on the more “underground” sounds of Deep House, Tech House and Techno, providing a midweek haven for those looking for some quality beats; SWEATSHOP on Thursdays is all about Hip Hop, R&B, Funk & Soul, old skool to new skool; And our weekends are themed THE HOUSE – anything from Nu Disco, Indie Dance to House, nothing too dark or heavy, yet nothing too mainstream or commercial. Am currently working on booking some cool and hot acts for the months to come so keep you eyes and ears peeled!
Where do you see the scene in Bali in 3 years time and why?
The last 2 years have also seen many new establishments sprouting up, with new restaurants and venues upping the ante in terms of decor/ menu/ events, definitely making Bali an even more appealing international destination. The island has also definitely become a hotspot for DJ itineraries. Gone are they days where DJs are willing to play a gig in Bali in exchange of a short holiday. Asking fees are now on par with major cities in the region like Singapore & Jakarta, so the scene is just going to continue growing. Things are already developing rapidly into the Canggu area!! It’s just gonna get even more competitive, but that also equates to more options and variety for the punters.
More clubs more festivals? Do you think Bali can handle any more new clubs in the near future?
There will definitely come a point when the threshold is reached. Then, it’s really up to club operators & promoters to provide the best valued product, and keep up with inrterntaional trends and local tastes in order to maintain their presence.
As many clubs close and many clubs open what do you think it takes for a club to be at the forefront of its game for so long? The music? The sound? The decor?
Everything plays a huge part. And it really depends on what kind of image one would like to project, and the clientele one would like to have. These days, clubbers are more and more well travelled, so clubs need to keep up with international standards, and constantly reinvent themselves. Also, on a spiritual level, clubs, promoters and DJs alike all need to be very mindful and respectful. Karma is a bitch!
Can you tell us about what Hu’u have planned over the coming busy season?
Any acts we should be getting excited about? Any brands?
Gonna have to keep hush about that for now until the time is right to announce some tasty names!
Your also a established producer and worked on some amazing projects over the years correct?
Are you building a new studio in Bali? Any pictures? We would love to check it out! What equipment are you running ? Any special treatment to the room?
Still settling into the life and work here, so I’ve yet to ship over my studio speakers and equipment. Will defo get round to that at some point!
My setup is rather basic, just an iMac running Ableton and Reason, Novation Remote 25 Controller, MOTU Ultralite soundcard, Yamaha NS10 Monitors. Got an Akai MPC4000 which I never really got round to learning how to use!!
Apart from Hip Hop DJs and Serato vinyl (and perhaps Sven Vath and a select few labels and the avid supporter!) vinyls and CDs are a definite thing of the past. The new Pioneer CDJs that are purely for USB already show where things are heading. These CDJs will be part of the standard club set up for the next few years. DJs will still be toggling between usb, Serato, Traktor, Ableton, which means more gadgetry with better controls for these softwares will continue to flood the market. But honestly who knows what crazy technology could be invented within the next 12 months!
Any tunes we should be keeping a ear out from you in the future?
Have put production on hold till I get properly settled in.
Can you link us up to your soundcloud for some of your latest stuff or direct us with some links we can check out?
While were talking tunes whats your proudest moment as a producer?
The “Love In New Wave” remix I did for Singapore rock band Electrico back in 2006, which was supported by the likes of Paul Oakenfold, and received massive airplay by Pete Tong on his Essential Selections Show on BBC Radio, and forgetting the night Pete dropped it at Pacha Ibiza while I was on the dancefloor! Priceless!
And a bootleg, or more of a mashup I did of Duran Duran’s “Girls On Film” that have received loads of positive feedback. Duran Duran – Girls On Film (Aldrin’s Shooting A Star Remix)
Whats in your record box? Top 5 tunes your playing in most sets at the moment?
Pete Sabo – Pressure [Bunny Tiger Dubs]
Melokolektiv & Darlyn Vlys feat Forrest – Change Of Mind (Dub Mix) [Off Recordings]
Luigi Rocca – Super Ego [303Lovers]
Undercatt – Carnargo [Diynamic]
Sonic Future – Blind’s Vision [Noir Music]
Last of all we would love to hear from you who your favourite 2 producers and 2 DJS are right now in Asia?
Don’t think I’ve had the opportunity to hear many DJs here in Asia, but I have to say I’m really proud of a few DJ/Producers & Asian Labels that are starting to make their mark internationally… Arjun Vagale (India), Sunju Hargun (Thailand), Midnight Shift (Singapore), Glen Check (South Korea).