He controls the pulse and the beat. The horizontal and the vertical. He has the ability to blow the roof off the house and keep you on your feet for hours on end. Blessed with the skills to make you forget hunger and the power to move you…and keep you moving. He is…. the DJ.
Almost everyone at one time or another has played the part… be it in a club, at a house party from the entertainment system or playing tracks off your mobile for your friends. But what is it really like as a career? It’s not all fun, games and party. I catch up with DJ KC Avant-Garde to find out more:
How long have you been in the Music/Arts scene?
I have been in the scene for about 2-3 years now.
How would you describe your own style?
Well, growing up I listened to loads of country, retro, disco and funk ’cause my dad loved it. And then later in my teenage years, hip-hop had a big influence on my lifestyle. So I would say that I take a piece of everything from all of my influential icons and try to express that in my music.
Who are your influences?
Mix Master Mike, the DJ for the Beastie Boys, is my all time idol. And then there’s Jazzy Jeff and Jam Master Jay.
What’s your take on the industry in Singapore right now? Are there more opportunities now than before?
The DJ-ing scene here in Singapore is taking off. Lots of people, both young and old, are picking up the skill – which is always a good thing. But it is making it harder for us experienced & professional DJs. Some of us have been doing this all our lives. And sometimes it’s sad to see bar/ club owners hire someone with less to no experience just to save on cost rather than someone with experience and quality.
What skills are required to break into the market?
I feel that being versatile is the best way to break into the market as a DJ. Being able to DJ, MC and play all sorts of genre. Younger DJs tend to stick to that one genre they’re good at…. but less doors will open this way.
By being able to play all sorts of genre, I believe that there will be a whole lot more opportunities depending on how good your skills are and how you market yourself.
But then again, you should concentrate on being good at one thing first before expanding your scope. Doing many things at the same time muddles your identity. Aim for one goal, achieve it and then try other things.
What was your greatest challenge?
I was in the food & beverage industry for over more than 10 years – since the age of 16. Music was always my calling and I always wanted to make the jump – but I was too afraid. After all, I had some very practical considerations – the cost of living is getting higher and you still need to make ends meet. My greatest challenge came when I was offered Residency as a DJ in a club. I had to think whether to risk taking a 50% pay cut to make the jump to being a DJ . Well, I did it and I’ve never regretted my decision.
I was in the Food & Beverage industry for more than 10 years ……..I had to think whether to risk taking a 50% pay cut to make the jump – DJ KC
What’s your most memorable gig so far?
Definitely Opening for Jay Sean Live in Sentosa, Singapore for his Neon Tour.
I was also in the Top 5 of the Palme 2013 Pioneer DDJ SX Competition.
What would be your advice to someone who was trying to break into the industry?
Be versatile. Practice. Get someone with experience to guide you. Always be humble. Take criticism and learn from it. Know what your capabilities are and push yourself if you know you can do it. Otherwise work to your strength. Remember, practice makes perfect.
Follow KC and Kollectif DJs at www.facebook.com/kollectifdjs.