At the tender age of 11, Terence was moved by what he saw on the silver screen during
a showing of a little old movie called Breakin’. Though Ozone & Turbo’s lockin’ and poppin’ impressed him, he was totally blown away by what the guys behind the decks were doing to spur those two on. Thus was planted the seed of inspiration for his life work.
Terence began his actual DJ’ing career in 1998 at Echo KL, where he started learning the ropes under the tutelage of veteran DJ Chris Doss. Progressing rapidly, he then notched up further residencies in KL at Cubeat and Globar, where his renowned seven-hour sets on weekends earned him praise from many as the “hardest-working DJ in town”.
One day before his Techno gig, Terence kindly agreed to meet with us and answer a couple of questions.
SB: Terence, as far as I understand, you being a resident Dj, you have to play different genres. What are your personal preferences, what are your favorite EDM styles?
TC: What I prefer to play is everything from House, Deep House, Tech House, Progressive House to Techno. Maybe a little bit of Electro. I try not to play too much commercial stuff, but if I have to – I’ll do it. For instance, on regular nights, when there is no international DJs.
SB: Tomorrow’s gig is called “We Love Techno”. What is techno for you? Who defines the scene today? Please mention a few of names that in your opinion – shape the genre at this moment.
TC: There are so many and most of them are Germans. Secret Cinema, Guy Gerber, Guy J, Henry Saiz and bigger names like Dubfire, Richie Hawtin, Sven Vath or John Digweed. I’m actually quite bad with names. Hahaha.
SB: Have you been to gigs outside South East Asia? Is there any significant difference with local parties?
TC: Actually I haven’t been to many big festivals, except ZoukOut once and also did a VJ-ing gig with my partner Callen in Bonn Germany for Tunes on Screen. People from Europe are more open minded when it comes to dance music I think. That is the difference.
At this moment, Asia is going in a slightly more commercial direction. When it comes to music, people tend to be more in tune with dance floor friendly commercial music.
A few years ago I played in Indonesia and I think people in Indonesia tend to be a bit more open minded when it comes to music. In KL, it can get a bit difficult to push new music sometimes to people, it might take a while but it will get there eventually.
SB: What are your favourite venues in South East Asia?
TC: Well, I work at Zouk, soooo… In other countries – Zouk Singapore. I also like Stadium in Jakarta – the whole environment, it’s dark, the music is superb. Recently I went to Bali, for the first time, and I was hanging out at this place called Potato Head Beach Club. I think it’s pretty cool, you can actually chill there any time from 11 AM to 02 AM.
TC: I think the biggest challenge that I and other underground DJs are facing here is to get the crowd in tune to what we are playing. I think the radio plays an important role here too. And radio being radio they tend not to take much or any risks at all. It would be helpful if there is a better balance.
People in general wants to listen to familiar tunes. If they are not familiar with the song – they may just leave the dance floor.
SB: Whom, among Malaysian talents, do you respect the most?
TC: I think currently Goldfish and Blink is doing a great job in promoting what they are doing, playing big room sounding house music. I’ve heard a couple of their tracks – impressive as well. For newcomers I would have to say these two guys from Iran, they call themselves Tele Vizion. I see a lot of potential in them. People like Ray Soo who is doing a very good job, running his own label. Besides producers and DJs, there is an old friend of mine Kenny Wee, who has been running his own EDM (Pure Substance Records / Pure Substance Digital) label for many years now, and he’s got support from international artists like Nick Warren, John Digweed, Hernan Cattaneo just to name a few.
SB: Imagine you are assigned the Minister of Culture of Malaysia, or something similar. What would be your first steps in the position?
TC: That’s a very tough question! I think I would allow more international acts to come in. Not only underground or commercial – any act at all. Because comparing to what Singapore is getting… I think Singapore is more loose. Sometimes you look at the acts that come there and you just: “Wow”.
SB: What’s your current DJ setup? What’s your opinion on technologies’ influence? Vinyl or MIDI controllers or both?
TC: I used to play vinyls, then it took me a while to switch to CDs. And then again a while to switch to pendrive. My setup is straightforward – three CDJ-2000′s and DJM-900. I’m still trying to work on my Ableton Live set which will only happen once a month or so. I still find it a little bit weird looking at the laptop screen and playing for the crowd.
SB: Your favorite gig of the last 12 months?
TC: Nothing big really. However, there are two great parties in October planned, but I’m probably not in position of naming them here but I really do look forward to them. It will be massive outdoor and also indoor festival.
SB: Do you sometimes dance in the clubs?
TC: I’m a bad dancer I think 98% of DJs are bad dancers!
SB: Who, among the guests of Zouk in the last 12 months, made the biggest impression on you? Why?
TC: Boynoize and Kaiserdisco. Boynoize was super technical. Love what he was doing with the CDJs..all that sampling and stuff. Kaiserdisco was off the hook too playing 4 decks and there was so much tracks layering on each other! They kept me moving from the beginning of their set till the end!
SB: Where do you see yourself, or where you would like to be in 5 years?
TC: I’m actually working on my own music now, so I hope in the next 5 years I get to release some music on some of my favourite labels, travel the world, make new friends and play music to people! The world gets smaller when you get to know more people.
SB: Denis Mysenko for SpicyBass
TC: Terence Chong (Dj Terence C)