Once again in Ha Noi – VietNam, I had a chance to meet the best new breaks DJ in the world (as named at the Breakspoll International DJ awards), DJ CHAMBER who was playing tonight at the 2nd birthday of Hanoi Rock City.
Chamber is a globetrotting, award-winning DJ who is originally from Bristol, UK, but currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Listen & Get Cool Free Tracks from DJ Chamber
How was the gig tonight at Hanoi Rock City?
Brilliant! There’s nothing better than a good bass-hungry crowd! It was a really fun gig, really nice venue too, I hope to return soon.
You grew up near Bristol, the birthplace of the GhettoFunk movement. Now you live in Taiwan. How did you become a DJ and why did you relocate to Asia?
I grew up about 20 minutes from the largest festival in Europe (Glastonbury) and seeing a few performances there in 2003 (aged 14) absolutely inspired me to become a DJ. I remember watching the Plump DJs playing to several thousand people in what was then known as the Dance Tent, and knowing at that moment that this was what I wanted to do with my life. I started saving for my first pair of decks as soon as I got home. In 2011 I ended up playing straight after the Plump DJs at Glastonbury, which was a pretty special full circle moment for me.
I moved to Bristol when I was 18 and started running Bass Kitchen club-nights with a Taiwanese DJ called MiniJay. The first time I toured Taiwan was a couple of years later, after MiniJay told a bunch of local promoters and clubs that I was worth booking. Straight away I fell in love with the country, and I was booked to tour twice more over the next couple of years before being offered a residency by Kaohsiung’s number one underground dance music venue, Brickyard. It was too good an opportunity to turn down.
Tell us about Asian audiences and clubs. Is there a musical sensibility particular in Asia?
There is a bit of a dirth of decent clubs in Taiwan and around a lot of Asia sadly. Commercial music is king unfortunately and glitzy commercial clubs vastly outnumber the soulful underground ones in my experience. Having said that, it seems to be slowly but surely improving, in terms of a broader range of styles being promoted to more people. I feel like I could write a book on the subject. I already wrote an article on why I think this is the case, which you can read here if you are interested: https://www.facebook.com/notes/dj-chamber/taiwans-electronic-music-scene/10151122710588958
You have had tracks released on Riddim Fruit label with other big names in the Ghetto Funk movement. How did this collaboration come about?
I can’t remember exactly how we got chatting initially but a few years back, me and Ben (the manager of Riddim Fruit Records) arranged a gigswap (where Ben and another DJ would come and play at one of our Taunton events and me and another Bass Kitchen DJ went down to play in Exeter). Over the years we played a bunch more gigs together all over the place and eventually he told me about the new label he was starting. I had just written a tune which we both felt was perfect for the label (Ramblin’ Man), and the rest is history.
You are the founder and ‘head chef’ of the Bass Kitchen, could you explain to us what it is about?
Bass Kitchen is a worldwide eclectic (well, anything bass heavy) club-night chain which was born in the UK and has expanded with branches across Poland, Canada and Taiwan. When we started, most club-nights in Bristol were focused on one or maybe two styles of music, our idea was to put everything together, like ingredients in a kitchen, and create a crazy multi-genre all styles night – anything from ghettofunk, minimal house, hip-hop and reggae to breaks, dubstep, electro, garage and dnb. In the years since then, this has very noticeably become a lot more common with many more events varying up their styles of music all night. Bass Kitchen’s around the world have seen our team booking the cream of underground dance music talent, including A Skillz, Ed Solo, Featurecast, J Majik, Rennie Pilgrem, JFB, General Midi, Freq Nasty, Deekline, The Ragga Twins, DJ Fu and Far Too Loud.
You produced some great tracks on your recent Worldwide Remix Tour (available on your Facebook page). What was your approach? How did you collaborate with other producers?
The idea behind it was that I wanted to do a proper project with a theme tying it together to try and challenge myself a little. I hadn’t seen the worldwide remixes idea done by any other producers so I thought it would be ideal. There are so many amazing sounds in music all over the world which are very rarely sampled in electronic stuff (I’m a big fan of traditional Chinese strings for example, which you can hear on a few of my tracks).
Also, whereas a few years back I was focused on getting all of my music onto labels, this year my focus has just been on getting it out there to as many people as possible, so all of the tunes on the tour are available for free download.
As for the collaboration aspect, I knew a bunch of the other producers involved already and approached others for the first time (usually through SoundCloud or Facebook). It was great to get so many amazing producers on board for the project.
What is electro-swing for you?
A blend of two amazing styles, one very current and the other pretty much forgotten until this genre revived it. For me, electro swing is perfect summer festival music, day or night.
What have you got in the pipeline for next year?
Aside from being busy with constant gigs across Taiwan, I’m playing at a huge festival in Thailand on Koh Tao in January, alongside the Dub Pistols and Orbital. Soon after that I’ll be gigging in Malaysia, Shanghai and a few other spots across Asia. I’ll be heading back home for a big UK and Europe tour in the summer too.
Thank you so much DJ Chamber for the great party tonight at Hanoi Rock City !
My legs are still feeling the after-effects of that huge bass party!
Shake, Jump and Bounce !
Tonight Hanoians was BangerZ !
Let’s continue the Panda Style !
Photo credit goes to: Danny Chu