Heineken Presents JUICE DJ Quest 2008 @ Zouk

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No, we are not Kanye West. We do not have the biggest ego in the world. Or self confidence so unshakable that a runaway juggernaut at max speed couldn’t put a dent in. Close maybe, but not quite. Still, every year without fail we have to admit JUICE DJ Quest remains our favourite event of the year.There is nothing to lift the flagging spirits than fresh new music and nothing quite as hopeful as having it delivered in a hotly pressed mix CD by rising talent hungry for a chance to be heard. A record number of entries were received this year in as little as a month and buoyed by 2007 JUICE DJ Quest Winner DJ Nikki’s success, more female jocks than ever had come onboard. But with the overall standard of skill, technique and imaginative track selection taking a huge leap forward, this year none made it to the finals.

Instead the all male battle for supremacy went down to the wire in the newly revamped Zouk. As early as 8pm lines had formed and despite the unprecedented event time clubbers turned up prompt delivering a clear message to clubs, bars and sponsors out there – one underlying the powerful draw of new blood and fresh music.

The somewhat shy Jonvu took the unenviable first slot but wasted no time in laying out his manifesto. With a mere 20 minutes to make his mark, and bookend-ed by Nirvana and The Who, he powered through an upfront, in-your-face electro and new rave set that took in Daft Punk to Justice to Steve Angello’s ‘Sweet Dreams’ rerub, working the nobs to effect, if only for a few minor technical glitches, as the crowd predictably hung back. But not for long.

Jonvu had brought the party, but Gaijin had brought the entourage and this time they didn’t need encouragement. For a jock with a mere 9 months worth of DJ experience under the tutelage of Excessive Records’ Bryan Burger, Gaijin displayed more confidence than Robbie Williams and Kanye West combined and in a clean minimal techno set somewhat lacking in peaks and troughs played with the knobs and buttons as deftly as he manipulated the emotional highs of the crowd. We’re putting money down you’ll be seeing a lot more from this promising upstart. Watch out!

It was big room sounds from the guy with the small name as DJ Elf focused on the FX and tricks but largely played an unassuming electro and techno set that bridged the gap between the pumping rhythms and pulsating bass of Gaijin and the frenetic energy Anowl. This kind of slow burning music needs 2 hours rather than 20 minutes to fire up so to do Elf justice you had better make your way to his next gig.

Going near nuclear on Pioneer’s set up, it was pure pandemonium as the line up’s only drum and bass DJ turned the dancefloor into ground zero from the minute he lobbed the rough and ready Pendulum into the mix. As mentor Low of Loops Collective stood nervously in the aisles, arms flew and bodies contorted as Anowl’s selection traversed the hard desperate spaces between deebee and jungle, dub and hip hop. In JUICE‘s short 6 year history drum and bass DJs have taken the crowd an odds-defying 3 times. Could it happen again? The crowd with their “I heart drum and bass” stickers, thumbs aloft gestures and unstoppable energy weren’t taking no for an answer.

Judge DJ Gabriel’s offer of a slot on his Capital FM radio show Turn It Up to Anowl was soon matched by fellow judge Adam Matthews, Zouk KL’s Head of Marketing and Communications, who proffered NDroid a slot after an impressive set of infectious electro, house and indie rock that was crafted for the jury of clubbers rather than the judges. With that judging forms were quickly snatched away, but unlike previous years it was impossible to call this one. Truly everyone was a winner here: the DJs who turned out tight sets in KL’s mecca of clubs, the judges who were witness to new talent, but most of all us on the floor who had a fantastically fierce night. This was just the beginning for these rising stars as we were there. As DJ Anowl was crowned champ and duly so, we can only hope sponsors and clubs take note. You can’t hold unadulterated enthusiasm down. J

Heineken presents JUICE DJ Quest 2008 went down at Zouk KL on Friday November 7. Thanks to Heineken, Pioneer, Zouk, Topshop, Topman, ODM, Turn It Up, Capital FM and Channel [V] for their support. Big ups to Jonvu, Gaijin, Elf, Anowl and NDroid for putting it out there and to judges Adam Matthews, DJ Gabriel and Matt Armitage for their generosity of spirit and time. And last but never least to you the clubbers who came out to support JUICE and the scene’s most promising new talents – be sure to catch them at their next gig. Updates at juiceonline.com.


1st runner-up DJ NDroid
2nd Runner-up DJ Elf
3rd runner-up DJ Gaijin
4th runner-up DJ Jonvu

DJ Anowl represents Malaysia and goes head to head with country champs EJ of Singapore and DJ Deefo of Indonesia at the JUICE DJ Quest Regional Final on Saturday 6 December at 8pm. It all kicks off with Anowl on decks early at so be there sharpish and show the rest of SEA why Malaysia rules!

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