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15 July 2007

A battle of the DJs

A battle of the DJs
Photos by RICKY LAI

I WAS ecstatic when I received the very first cheque for the Malaysian AIDS Foundation's Paediatric AIDS Fund last Friday.

It's always nice when someone responds to you in a positive way and that cheque surely made my day. It came from Zainiati Zainal Abidin of Cheras.

In action: DJ Ra at the championship.

Soon after, I broke the news to some colleagues, replied a few e-mails and popped a blueberry bubble gum in my mouth before heading to the 1 Utama Shop-ping Centre for the DJ Battle Championship 2007.

I had no lesson for the week as my teacher DJ Low from the Bionic DJ Academy was busy handling the DJ Battle and the Battle of the Year Break Dance Championship.

Both competitions were part of 1 Utama's Fitness and Youth-fest programme, which ran from July 4 to 8.

The event, endorsed by the Youth and Sports Ministry also featured The One Challenge Table Soccer Championship and Malaysian Fitness Championship Finals.

However, my visit for the day was to watch the DJ battle.

The event was held at the Oval, the lower ground floor.

As I made my way there using the escalator I could hear the loud display of skills by the participants.

Shoppers, mostly youths, were taking in the sights and sounds with enthusiasm.

Curious, I peered down to look and saw Low and DJ Nesh from Laundry bar hosting the event.

Also on stage were turntable sets and on the floor, there were more young people seated to watch the show.

The champion: Syed Mohd Rizal @ DJ Ritz from Singapore.

It was a battleground with 16 deejays from Malaysia and Singapore trying to outdo each other by spinning, scratching and juggling for the RM13,500 prize money and deejay gear.

The competition held for the second consecutive year was aimed at promoting the deejay culture in Malaysia.

Low said deejaying was a good alternative for youngsters who liked music.

“It's just like sending your children for piano and guitar lessons. Deejaying is a skill and it should not be associated with bad lifestyle,” he said.

The competition was divided into two categories – six-minutes and two-minutes.

Syed Mohd Rizal @ DJ Ritz from Singapore was the champion in both categories.

In total, he won RM2,000 cash and RM5,000 worth of Pioneer products.

After the prize giving, I managed to catch contestants R. Jaiganesh and Chong Kok Keong for an interview since they were also Low's students when they started out. It would be good to get some tips from them.

Jaiganesh, known as DJ Ra, who won third place in the six-minute category, said he first learnt mixing music in 2000 while still in college.

The 27-year-old graphic designer slowly developed an interest in the scratching techniques in 2005 and has since been at it as well.

“It is a hobby for me,” said Jaiganesh who spins at Nouvo on Saturdays.

He was also the champion of the 2005 Fort Minor DJ Spin Off.

For a beginner, Jaiganesh said practise was the best way to learn spinning.

“When you practise, you are able to master the different parts of a song better,” he said, adding that he practised four hours a day when he first started out.

Four hours a day! And here I am trying my best to make it six hours per week - looks like I have a long way to go.

Chong, also known as DJ Layzr, is a 3D animator by profession but scratching is a hobby for him. Ever since he picked up the skill three years ago, he has taken part in a few competitions.

He won second place in the 2005 Fort Minor DJ Spin Off and grabbed the third place in last year's DJ Battle.

This year, Chong became first runner up in the six-minute category.

“I became interested in the art when I watched a video of a famous deejay while surfing the net. I love the fact that we can create our own tempo and make it personal. It's all about creation,” he said, adding that he took lessons at Low's Academy.

Like Jaiganesh, Chong had the same advice for me – practice, practice and more practice.

As I congratulated them and left the lower ground, I wished I could be at least half as good as them in my mixing by the end of month.

My lessons with Low resumes this week.

1) Source: http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2007/7/11/central/18249772&sec=central
2) Chong Kok Keong is my brother.
3) I'm still waiting for my melbourne trip photos from my friends. Be patient a bit. I'll post em' up as soon as I get them. It'll definately be up next week [16-22 July 2007]. I'm as excited to see those photos as my you!!! [Rush me a bit, and I'll post it up faster!! ehehe]