Thursday, October 27, 2011

Talking tunes with Singapore's best female DJs (4 PHOTOS)

Girls aloud and on the decks.

Singapore's dance music scene has been on the up for a while now, and it's not just the boys adding to the mix and pounding the decks

Female DJs get a hard rap. They’re not as skilled, they just glammed-up wannabe models … the stereotypes go on and on.
But this past month, local DJs Debbie Chia, Cherry Chan, Natalie Tan have mentored 10 aspiring young jock-ettes through a month-long crash course: the fourth annual FFF Girl DJ Bootcamp.

Covering not just the DJ-ing, but also production and performance adaptability in today’s volatile electronic music scene, guest DJ lecturers were roped into the mix.
Local champs Funk Basta*rd, Jeremy Boon, Ginette Chittick, Jean Reiki, Kiat, Jason Tan, Kaye, Masterpiece, Koflow, Maxlane and even Scottish jock Tom Shellsuit all came out to help equip the girls.
The program included lectures, demonstrations and one-on-one time with an assigned mentor, while professional mixers helped the girls practice their newly acquired skills.
We check in with them to talk music and find out more about their bootcamp.

Cherry Chan

The feisty feline has become an electronic staple to most fans. She was the pioneer of the first all-gal DJ night PopMyCherry! in 2004, and co-founded record label and audio-visual collective Syndicate. She’s scored massive gigs from London to Los Angeles, and even the famed Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival in S├Ęte, France.

CNNGo: How did PopMyCherry! come about?
Cherry Chan: PopMyCherry! is actually an old archived project which went on from 2004 to 2009 which aimed to give girls a chance to DJ. It was really random and DIY -- we just threw girls with good taste in music up behind bar decks. All that has now developed into what we call FFF; which could potentially mean anything from Forest Feline Friends, Fiends For Fans, Flying Fancy Fences to Friendly Fire Flakes...
CNNGo: Do men pay more attention because there’s a female DJ behind the decks?
Chan: There's generally no giant hoo-ha around it. Punters either come up to the DJ console to request a tune or to tell you how much they enjoy the music -- t**s, or no t**s.
CNNGo: What’s the next music trend?
Chan: More producers and DJs will appear as technology makes it easier for everyone to make music or DJ, but it also means there's gonna be a lot more half-baked ideas and sh***y music out there.
You'll just have to learn to be discerning and sieve through a lot more crap to get to the gems.
CNNGo: Favorite party track?
Chan: For this month, it's “Om Unit vs. Kromestar” by Solar Cycle.

Debbie Chia

Also known as Miso Flamingo, Debbie was the first to represent Asia at the Red Bull Music Academy in Seattle in 2005. Apart from spinning weekly gigs at KPO and bi-monthly live mixes on Lush 99.5FM, Debbie also co-manages record label and events organization Midnight Shift. A true house-head at heart, her party mixes encompass house, techno, soul, funk, acid and dubstep.
CNNGo: Of all your international experiences, which inspired you the most and why?
Debbie Chia: Probably still the Red Bull Music Academy in 2005. I spent two weeks rubbing shoulders with music heroes and peers immersed in an atmosphere that was unbeatable.
CNNGo: Met any big names?
Chia: Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May, whom I had the happy chance to take around in Singapore. The definition of techno music pretty much embraces them and I have had their names and music ingrained in me for so long it was hard to believe I was actually meeting them in person.
CNNGo: What’s the next music trend?
Chia: Vinyl. Once the digital onslaught has reached its metaphorical nadir we will all be forced to go back to analogue as the more human sound.
CNNGo: Favorite party track?
Chia: “Chic” by Good Times

Natalie Pixiedub

With her quick-flick wrists and an eclectic taste in music, the indie gal’s party-hearty mixes reflect not only her personality, but her ability to render any track from house, punk, and even anime into one big mix. She’s been seen and heard spinning at some of our city’s biggest parties -– including the official after-parties for Muse and Stereophonics, Singfest 2008, and the Art Stage Singapore VIP Opening and is also resident DJ at Stereolounge.
CNNGo: How did you get into DJ-ing?
Natalie Pixiedub: I was 16 and working in a boutique when I met my DJ teacher Spyke who decided to teach me for free.
For a while, I was a Happy Hour DJ and then stopped altogether when Spyke left the country. It wasn’t till about six years ago that Cherry invited me to start again with the collective PopMyCherry!
My mixing is questionable, and I feel more comfortable playing eclectic happy hour bar sets so really, I’d love to just become as good as Debbie for now.
CNNGo: What do female DJs bring to the table?
Natalie Pixiedub: A sense of fun.
Guys tend to take themselves too seriously and take too much pride in playing and so watching them DJ can be pretty boring. Girls are out to have fun as much as pull a set, so you’ll find they stop to dance, laugh and interact with the crowd a lot more, which makes for a more entertaining set.
CNNGo: What was the discouraging moment you’ve experienced?
Natalie Pixiedub: Getting kicked off the decks at a beach party in Bintan.
CNNGo: Favorite party track?
Natalie Pixiedub: Hmmm, for indie tracks I would choose Two Door Cinema Club’s “Undercover Martyn.” For a classic track I would choose “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder and for electronic music, just give me a good beat and bass line.

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