Interview: DJ Ndroid

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It’s not easy being a new DJ. Forget about VIP treatment or making out with models. Most new DJs start out by organising their own club nights and doing their own promotions. Then, there’s the balancing act of spinning what you want versus what the crowd wants you to play. JUICE gets out the voice recorder and plugs into Shahir Bakri aka DJ Ndroid, runner up of JUICE DJ Quest 2008 and Choons Award 2009 nominee for Best New DJ. Bleep bloop.

How did you get into DJing?
You can say that music is in my blood because my mum is a lounge singer and my uncle is a musician back in Sarawak. It all started back in 2004 with the DJ softwares. The following year I went to Royale DJ Academy and was under [the tutelage of] Brian Burger, although only for a month. I got the basics there though.

What was your first kind of DJ software you used?
I remember it was Traktor by Native Instruments. Then I started using Virtual DJ which is commonly used nowadays. I think even Foulworks is using it. After that I began experimenting with turntables.

Which DJs inspire you?
There are so many. But the DJ that got me started was Brian Burger. You can say that Brian Burger, Joey G and Gabriel were my mentors.

How do you put your mixes together?
As a DJ you should know how to read your crowd. Playing the right music at the right time will up the crowd’s energy. That’s what I apply every time when I’m playing. Sometimes it comes naturally, what music to play after this track. Other times you really need to tune into the crowd. It’s a learning process. And I don’t play too much underground music that people don’t really know. You can push music and educate people with but you have to balance it out with a couple of commercial tracks. That way, you’ll catch them by surprise and the underground track that you play will be noticed.

We’ve seen you spin a couple of times. You play ‘The Wall’ by Pink Floyd quite frequently. Is that a favourite track of yours?
Yeah. Haha. Because I know that that song has energy and that evergreen appeal. And it hypes me up so I believe it hypes others up as well. It’s also one of my favourite songs. I played it during JUICE DJ Quest 2008 and you could see the energy it gave the crowd, people were jumping around and singing along.

Do you agree when the lyrics “we don’t need no education” ?
Haha. If you’re talking about being a DJ, then yeah. It’s more about ‘feel’ then studying or learning it.

You’ve started your own club night. Tell us about it.
It’s called Gossip Pink and it happens at Bar Club. Musically it’s open. It’s not nu rave which is what I usually play. The DJs that play there now are Hebbo (who play techno and house) and Gaijin. Because it’s on a Wednesday night and it’s a ladies’ night, I can’t really play hard and banging music. Nothing too cheesy. Ladies enter free all night and if they come in pink, they get to enjoy free a flow of house cocktails. I am also gonna be playing at Cloth & Clef soon, I’ll be doing my nu rave stuff there. It’ll be on Thursday nights with Mixing In Action (MIA).

What do you think is lacking in clubs today?
Style. Most of the people who go to clubs are fashion victims. If you see one collar tegak guy, there’ll be 4 more around him. And there’s a lack of theme nights. If its R&B night at one club, then its R&B night at all the other clubs. If you go to Asian Heritage Row on Thursday night all the clubs will be playing R&B. It’s killing the market.

What kind of music do you think chicks like listening to?
Commercial stuff and R&B. But it’s changing. Lapsap has changed things and they enjoy nu rave and electro as much as they enjoy r&b and commercial stuff.

Who are your favourite DJs?
Steve Aoki, Van Shee and Daft Punk.

If you could collaborate with anyone, who would that be?
Anyone that would like to collaborate me! I’ve already done a collaboration with Mr Fluff (aka Bo) on a track called ‘Indian Flute’. It’s available on Beatport and it’s released under the label, Ambassador.

How did you come up with the name Ndroid?
I was a Star Wars freak who really liked the droids, R2D2 and C3PO, so all my friends called me Droid, and when I began spinning in clubs I needed a catchy name.

Lots of DJs move into becoming Producers. Do you dabble in production?
Yeah, I produce music as well. I don’t really have a proper studio but I have all the equipment. You don’t really need a proper studio. You just need a laptop. There’s a lot of international musicians that make good music on just normal laptops. I’m using this software called Reason and also Fruity Loops….

Fruity Loops is classic!
Yeah and you become addicted to it real fast. There are a lot of people who say that Fruity Loops isust for beginners, but to be honest with you, it can do wonders!

Any plans on recording an album in the near future?
Yes! Me and my artist friend who is a muralist and studied Fine Arts. I will be producing an album with him. He goes for music and art exhibitions and plays the gambus, whereas I’m coming from the electronic side of things. We’ll use another name for this project but the album’s going to be called Warisan. It’ll have a traditional, ethnic sound with a modern beat. I will give JUICE a copy of course!

And we’ll gladly accept it! Thanks for your time Ndroid! And may the force be with you!

Keep up with DJ Ndroid and checkout his mixes at

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