Interview: DJ Irwan

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It’s been awhile since JUICE hit town on a Tuesday night and this time, it’s for Ghetto Heaven because DJ Irwan from The Netherlands came to town and we wanted to say hi. The GH resident returns to KL this year to bring us his trade of DJing, and occasional singing on the mic. We caught up with the self-acclaimed ‘good boy’ at Terrace Bar before he takes on the night.

Hi! (sounding all perky)
Hi! (laughs)

What did you have for dinner?
I had dinner in my room. It was okay… Caesar salad, mushroom soup and satay ayam.

Mmm. Do you cook?
I do cook, actually. More western food like steak… spaghetti… pasta….

Oh don’t worry. The real questions will come soon.
(Laughs) Actually, I’m a pretty good cook. Well, that’s what my girlfriend tells me. My parents are good cooks, so that’s where I got it from, I suppose.

If that is so, you have to cook for us then.
(Laughs) Whenever you get to Amsterdam, then yeah!

Yay us! So what is it about Zouk KL that you love so much?
The club, the atmosphere, the good feeling every time I am here. I love the crowd, they are always hyped (up) and always willing to party because that’s what’s important. Compared to other countries, this is my favourite place to play.

What other countries in your opinion are the best to party?
To be honest, it’s still Holland because I understand the crowd and they have good reactions to what the DJ does. Over here, it can be a little different especially when I play something different which makes them go “Hmm…” but in the end it’s always good.

That’s cool. So what do you grow up listening to?
I started with New Jack Swing from artists like Bobby Brown and Boyz II Men. That’s my childhood. Michael Jackson as well and his influence can still be heard in my set. That’s really the music I grew up with and I still try to play a lot of Michael Jackson songs.

You call your music ‘urban eclectic’. What’s that?
The whole term started in Holland. It kinda means mixing R&B and hip hop with house, rock and pop – everything…. As long as people can dance.

Does that take away the whole meaning of R&B and hip hop then?
No, no, no. I still keep the whole R&B and hip hop vibe in my whole set, while I insert the other elements into it for an edgier set.

So now we know you can DJ and cook, are there any other tricks from you we should know of? Can you breakdance?
(Laughs) I cannot dance that is why I became a DJ!

Wow, does that apply to all DJs to not know how to dance?
(Laughs) I don’t know!

Do you go out and party though?
No. In Holland, I DJ a lot from Thursday to Sunday, so the free days that I have, I really wanna relax and cook for my girlfriend.

Aww… so what are the new stuff that you feel you have to play during your set?
Tonight’s Ghetto Heaven, so we got to keep it really R&B and hip hop. There’s that new Busta Rhymes’ ‘Arab Money’ that’s one of my favourite tracks right now. A lot of TI and T-Pain stuff. Actually, I don’t plan my playlist, but there are some tracks that I put as my must-play.

Ah ok. Has anything wild happened during your stay in KL?
No, not really. The fact that I never expected to play here in KL ten years ago is wild enough for me. Beyond that… no.

Oh really? No one threw panties at you yet?
Oh no no. I’m what you call a… What’s it?

A good boy?
Yes. (Laughs) Those are the words I was looking for.

Moving on… Do you remember your first job ever?
I was a paperboy when I was 14 and it can be really tough because of the weather in Holland. My next job was an interesting one and it was at an ice-cream parlour at the airport. I used to do the dishes.

How is that interesting for you?
(Laughs) I mean it was at the airport and I get to meet a lot of people.

Ahh. So what did you do with your early pay cheques then?
I would save money to get my first turntable and I still have them stored in my garage.

Cool. You’ve got a busy schedule, but do you have time to watch TV?
Yeah! I watch CSI, Criminal Minds, 30 Rock and Everybody Hates Chris. I watch a lot of movies too, but usually I watch them in the plane, which is a good way to spend my time.

I agree. Who’s the most famous you have ever met?
I’ve met Joe, Rihanna, and the whole Destiny’s Child crew. I can remember Beyoncé telling me she liked my hair 10 years ago when they first started Destiny’s Child during their second album. That was one of the moments I really remember.

Nice one! What’s rotating in your music player right now?
Slow jams like Joe, Blackstreet and Jodeci. I keep hold of the 90s stuff. I get a lot of inspiration from there.

Ah yes, the comfort zone. What can we expect from DJ Irwan in a couple of months?
I’ll be working on my new mix album when I go back to Holland. I’ll be producing the album as well, but it’s more house-y because dance music is the big thing in Holland right now.

Are you a house fan yourself?
Well in Holland, I play more house music, but I still try to implement the R&B and hip hop flavours. I keep doing my own thing.

Lastly, do you have an alter ego like Beyoncé’s Sasha Fierce?
(Laughs) No, no. No alter ego. Just a good boy!

Uh huh…

DJ Irwan made his appearance at Ghetto Heaven at Zouk on February 11th. For more information, check out

Photo Zouk