ZOUK DJs: JEREMY BOON + LENERD + NASH D
Zouk is a 30-year-old nightlife brand known for pushing boundaries of dance music and propelling Singapore on the global map. Ranked Asia’s best club on DJ Mag’s annual Top 100 Clubs list since 2017 and top globally since 2010, Zouk is Singapore’s foremost clubbing institution, delivering the freshest in dance music across genres, state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, a constant roster of stellar international, regional and local residents, and top-notch service and hospitality.
MANDEEP: We are honoured to have some of the resident DJs to be involved for this campaign. Can you all give us an insight into the music you love and play.
LeNERD: It started from a love for Hip-Hop and the thrill I get from DJ battles in turntablism. After having more live show experiences, I find myself gravitating towards any music that gives off good vibes and high energy, slowly transitioning to an open format DJ. I believe that we should have no walls when it comes to music as it only serves to divide us further.
NASH D: I’ve been a fan of music since I was a kid. I started off by attending classical piano classes, eventually doing my studies in Music and Audio Technology. Predominantly, I love to play RnB/Hip-Hop at the clubs but as I have grown as a DJ, I like to create moments and vibes, so the genres don’t matter so much to me anymore.
Obviously we still have restrictions due to the pandemic – how much do you all miss doing your sets live in front of the crowd?
I think of it every waking moment. This was what I signed up for when I decided not to pursue a job in my field of specialty (Engineering) right after my graduation. Even with this unforeseen pandemic situation, I do not once regret my decision. Instead, I started to think about how I can continue to serve my regular clubbers and fans that miss clubbing as well. I decided to publish weekly DJ mixes to fulfil their fresh music needs and remain updated, ready for the day when we can reopen.
Definitely feel a part of me is missing with all the current restrictions. You can’t replicate the vibe and energy you get from a packed dance-floor. Really do hope these restrictions can be lifted in a safe manner so we can get back to dancing!
How would you compare the new generations of DJs and any advice for aspiring DJs.
I think this pandemic acts as a really good filter to understand the difference between those who really love DJ-ing and those who just love the idea of DJ-ing to a crowd. I understand that everyone has to make ends meet, but it’s almost impossible to completely shut out a love/passion for DJ-ing if you have it in you. Those who are still DJ-ing in their free time despite the challenges of this pandemic have an extraordinarily genuine love for the craft, be it from the old or new generations. I post regular DJ advice & tips on my YouTube channel “LeNERD” – please check it out! Haha. If I were to pinpoint a single tip (other than the need to have genuine love for the craft), it is to master the basics. If you have the basics at your fingertips, it would be easier to learn when you get loaded with more advanced information. These advanced techniques were created to fill the gaps within basic skill sets for an elevated performance/show.
Obviously we live in a very different time now as compared to when I started out more than 10 years ago. Social media was barely relevant then. I feel that you have to be more than a DJ these days to even be able to get a booking. As a person who deals with DJ bookings at Zouk, I do feel that you have to stand out from the crowd now more than ever. Be it by having a hit single, a really cool affiliation with a celebrity, or a bad-ass DJ routine, you must set yourself apart from the competition.
30 years from now, if you had a crystal ball, how do you think the future will look like and will music still be at the centre of all you do?
I’ve been DJ-ing for 13 years and have, luckily, never lost my passion for it. I hope to be able to DJ for another 13! However, with time comes the evolution in means/medium through which we present our craft to the audience. Whether through audio, video, or the written word, I continue to adapt to better serve my community and fans. 30 years ago, music distribution was tough. Reaching an audience is a monumental task and genre lines were extremely rigid. Fast forward to current times, everything has become more accessible. The main challenge now is to stand out from a sea of artists. Genre lines blurred as people started to listen to a mix of everything, even transcending language differences these days. In 30 years’ time, I can picture everyone being more united than ever when it comes to music. As for me, I see myself still being involved in the music industry one way or another.
We do feel music will always be something that is relevant in all our lives. I don’t know what genres will be ‘poppin’ or even if that concept will still be there, but one thing is for sure - Zouk will 100% be at the forefront of it!
Zouk is an institution in Singapore and also has spread its wings outside of Singapore. Jeremy, you been there since day one, can you tell us how the clubbing and music scene has evolved from the early days?
JEREMY: In the early days, Zouk has a very strict music policy and was the only club in Singapore that played House music. For the last 30 years, Zouk has stayed true to our DNA of constantly being at the forefront of music entertainment by presenting the freshest sounds and fronting top international DJs
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