Interview: DJ Fuzz

DJ Fuzz is probably the most hardworking hip hop DJ in Malaysia right now. If he’s not rocking the clubs, he’s teaching at his Mixology DJ Academy, releasing mix CDs or producing a new collection under his own brand of Xrossfade tees. With 11 years under his belt, this Stylustiks affiliate is not about to rest on his laurels as he returns with the 3rd chapter to his hot Mixology mixtape series. We got an update on what this month’s cover hero has been up to.

It’s the new year! How was 2010 for you?
2010 was a great year for me. I shared 2 AIM awards with Malique for his KO The Mixtape and I opened a new Mixology DJ Academy in Penang. I got the chance to travel and perform at some exciting places with local and international artists, and produce a mixtape with Yeyo of The DEY. I also acquired my own show, The Mixology, on Mix1620.com, an internet, mobile device and app-based global HD broadcast radio station based in New Jersey, USA. Most of all, my 1st-ever book on how to DJ is almost at completion stage.

Phew! Have your aspirations as a DJ changed since you started?
When I started DJing in 1999, my aim was to create mixtapes for the streets. I was influenced by a lot of DJs during that time like Kid Capri, Funkmaster Flex and DJ Premier, and I basically wanted to do what they do: you know, play at parties, release mixtapes, produce beats and so on. When I started, I didn’t know that I would end up joining DJ battle competitions; I just wanted to learn how to scratch so I could incorporate it in my mixes. But I guess that was a natural progression.

So what prompted you to create the Mixology mix series?
Before Mixology, I was doing party tapes…you know, club mixtapes that I could give away as demos and such. I was Teh Tarik Crew’s DJ at the time, and I realised that we didn’t have an official mixtape with local acts on it-those who usually recorded one song and needed a platform to showcase their skills. So Altimet (of TTC) suggested I come up with a mixtape and I also wanted to contribute to the local hip hop scene. Hence, the birth of Mixology.

How different is Mixology 3 from the last 2 chapters?
When I started Mixology 1, I didn’t know how to produce or make beats; the original intention was to get all my friends’ music and mix them together on a CD. I started producing in Mixology 2; I produced 10 songs and it includes ‘KL To Beirut’ featuring Middle Eastern artists MC Moe and DJ Lethal Skillz. It was a runaway hit in the Arab region and the music video received constant rotation on MTV Arabia. The sound quality improves from volume 1-3, from the mastering to the mixing. In Mixology 3, I started working with more people in the industry and experimenting with different genres, eg. ‘Selamat Pagi Sayang’ with Noh from Hujan and ‘Dimanapun Engkau Berada’ with Aizat Amdan.

What were you inspired by while making this mixtape?
When I started working on Mixology 3, I was listening to different kinds of music-not just hip hop-to get inspired…you know, to get out of the box. When I hung out with some cats I was collaborating with, they made me listen to different things too. Basically, I wanted Mixology 3 to be an improved version of Mixology 2 so that listeners wouldn’t expect the same thing-but still in keeping with that DJ Fuzz element.

What are your plans for Mixology 3?
As you know, we’ve released the music video for 1st single ‘Selamat Pagi Sayang’ with DJ Cza (Stylustiks) acting as director and we’re planning a 2nd music video for ‘Dimanapun Engkau Berada’. Afdlin Shauki wanted the latter single to be on the soundtrack to his new movie and we just recorded the remix with Joe Flizzow.

Exciting! What’s next after this Mixology chapter?
More mixtapes, more albums. I’m currently working on a remix project with an artist that is 30% done, and a mixtape and songs with a few more artists that I can’t announce right now. I’m always working on something!

Tell us about your DJ book; when is it coming out?
The title right now is Teach Me How To DJ, but that might change. It’s basically a guide to DJing that covers performing, booking gigs, promoting yourself and other topics related to the DJ world. I’ve completed the 1st draft and am working with the publishers, printers and all that. It should be out in mid-2011.

How’s the Mixology DJ Academy in Penang coming along?
It’s getting very good response; we had a few students signing up before we even opened it! The school is located in Prangin Mall in the city. We have a few students who will graduate and have already started playing their 1st few gigs. My plan for 2011 is to improve the quality of the learning centre in KL and Penang. I might work on the syllabuses and facilities, and expand the school in KL.

What are your hopes for the school?
Mixology DJ Academy started in the living room of my house in 2005 after the Mixology mixtape was released. I didn’t plan it at 1st; it began when someone asked me to teach him and it progressed over time. I’m hoping that in many years to come, Mixology DJ Academy will produce more talented and successful DJs in the country. Hopefully, more branches will be opened and each state will have its own Mixology DJ Academy. Thanks to my Mixology instructors DJ Krates (Bum Squad DJz) and DJ Chan for helping me run the 2 current outlets.

What’s new with the Stylustiks? Can we expect a big comeback?
Stylustiks never left; were just doing our own things. DJ Cza is busy running his video production company and rocking the Rootz club while Uno has his radio job. We recently came back from a show in the Maldives and produced a song on Mixology 3 called ‘Oriental Assault’.

What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed in the hip hop DJ scene since you started?
When I started, there was only a handful of hip hop DJs that could scratch and perform advanced tricks. But now you can see a lot of DJs with mad talent and I’m proud to say that we are ready to rock internationally. DJs are more creative now, maybe because of the technology available. They’re creating remixes, mash-ups…it’s crazy out there. I’m glad that more DJs in Malaysia are producing mixtapes. On the downside, hip hop DJs don’t break records like they used to. In the past, DJs determined what songs were played in the club and the crowd followed him, not the other way around. And DJ battles are no longer popular like they used to be.

We heard you got into muay thai. Can you kick @ss?
I’m doing that for my health and trying to lose some weight in the process. I tried the conventional gym, but I just ended up hanging out at the soda bar drinking iced lemon tea. This is something I don’t talk about, but it would be nice to lose 20-30kgs and fight in a tournament. I don’t know how to play soccer so this is my version of futsal.

Now for the proverbial question: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
On the cover of JUICE again as the DJ of the decade!

Say hi to our Malaysian deck hero at www.djfuzz.com.my.