DJ Andrew T, resident hip hop DJ of Singapore’s hottest club, The Butter Factory, came down to our hometown recently to spin at the wicked Johnnie Walker Black Circuit Lounge event. A party pleaser and crowd rocker, he also dabbles in other genres of music which has enabled him to do club sets around the globe. JUICE had the pleasure to have a sit down with him and talk everything music.
When did you reach KL?
This morning, 11.
How do you find it here?
I’ve been here 2 times before. I love the food (laughs).
Which one’s your favorite food? Curry?
I went today to this Kim Chin restaurant. My colleague was raving about it so we had to go there and I had 2 and a half bowls of noodles!
When did you start getting into music?
Since young I’ve been playing the guitar, I bought my first hip hop cassette when I was 7. So I’ve been collecting music since I was young. And when I started clubbing, I was interested more in what went on behind the scenes, how the music comes out. So I learned from a friend, experimented and it was very fun.
Has there been any unforgettable moments when you’ve played a gig?
Forgettable would have the be the worst thing; when you’re playing halfway and then everything shuts. Say if you’re playing in a festival and everything just shuts down.
Where was that?
How many people were at the festival?
Over a thousand. I was doing the warm up set.
Andrew, what do you think of the South East Asian DJing scene, say compared to the European and American scene?
I don’t know lah. The difference between them and us is that they produce their own music, and you just need one hit song and you’ll make it really fast. Over here, not many of us produce music because of the support we get. A lot of them (DJs) don’t really bother, and even when they do, it doesn’t really get out there. So I guess in that sense, it’s easier over there.
Do you have any producing plans for the future?
Yeah, actually we’re going to start a label in Singapore with my Australian partners. They already have a label in Australia and UK so we’re going to start that in Singapore, so hopefully we can progress from there. That will be interesting, something different.
Who’s your idol DJ?
I like Laidback Luke. He is very diverse in his music. His sets are never one dimensional.
Where is the dream place that you would most like the play?
Oh, Sensation White in Europe. The whole set up, the DJs, the lineup, the show. If you do that, you can retire (laughs).
What is one thing that you can’t live without?
My laptop. It’s really like my life, my music and my work is all in there. It’s a Sony Vaio. I was using a Mac, and then it crashed during a tour.
What is an exotic location that you’ve been to?
I wouldn’t say it was the location, but it was a party in Batam. It was Star Wars-themed, and they had actually built the tent in the shape of that Stormtrooper thing, the Death Star? It was amazing, they put you on a bus, and you can’t see where you’re going, the bus was Star Wars-themed too. And when we got there, there were stormtroopers everywhere and they shot fireworks with cannons. That was one of the most amazing set ups. When you’re in there, you just felt like you were in a space ship. Everyone was dressed up, I was DJ Jedi.
Who would you like to collaborate with?
Laidback Luke for sure.
If you weren’t DJing, what would you be doing?
I always wanted to be a football player, but I guess that just went down the drain. Yeah, I think that I would be probably be trying that route (laughs).
DJs have a reputation of being a hit with the ladies, I was wondering if girls often come up to you?
It’s easier for sure, but honestly bartenders get more girls.
What is the craziest thing a girl has come up to you and said?
There was this girl when I was playing in Australia. I saw a girl wave, and she walked from the middle of the club. She squeezed her way through and came up on stage and gave me a chewing gum. That was the strangest thing ever.
Would you encourage people to become DJs in Asia? Is there a lot of money to be made?
Being a DJ, you really have to work. It’s a really small pie for what we have. There are so many DJs, and so many clubs that you can work at. You’ve really got to work hard at your mix tape, and really get yourself out there. It’s really all about hard work and shameless self promoting because if you don’t get noticed, you’re never going to get a job. Especially at a good place. The top clubs, to get there, you really need to work hard. If you really love music, and making people party and can have fun while working hard, then definitely.
Were you parents supportive of your DJing?
They knew I was always into music, and at first they were skeptical because it as very hard to get jobs when I first started. Then after a while you start traveling, and you get good residencies.
Did you play any other types of music before you started DJing?
I learned the piano and the guitar. I was very into the band thing. When I was young, I used to have a band and we used to jam in school. Like my ‘rockstar’ phase. That time was about rock n roll, Guns n Roses and a bit of grunge.
How did you start off as a DJ?
What set me apart was I did a lot of mix tapes when I was young, I pushed it out and the radio was playing it. I had a podcast site and the followers went up to a few thousand in a couple of months. That really helped me push through all the other DJs. You’ve really got to get your music out there, let people know what kind of sound you’re playing. Let them spread the word as well. Then people from overseas log on to your site, and that’s how you can get big overseas as well. If you work hard, you can really see a difference in a few months unlike if you just play gigs and wait for the next call.
DJ Andrew T rocked it out and burnt up the dancefloor at the Johnnie Walker Black Circuit Lounge at Swedish Lounge on 28 August 2010.Â For more info on the event, go to http://www.facebook.com/johnniewalkermalaysia. For more on the Singaporean sensation, check out djandrewtmusic.mypodcast.com and www.myspace.com/djandrewt.
Image Johnnie Walker