Interview: HypeemBeats + Jee Hoe

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Davern Koh aka HypeEmBeats and Jee Hoe of DJ collective Melee Punks have actually been in the DJ circuit for a while now, but they’ve never really gotten the chance to shine. However, when they came together to form House This!? at Barsonic with dance music mastermind DJ Blink, they opened up a whole new echelon of partying by throwing down all kinds of house music in their sets. Slammin’ it on the decks at the JUICE 8th Birthday Party: Space Invaders just last month, we shine a light on our cover boys HypeEmBeats + Jee Hoe in August.

How do you guys know each other?
HypeEmBeats Through Blink; he introduced us in Zouk. He was actually asking us if we were interested in playing at Barsonic and we got pretty excited about it. So we formed House This!? and started playing together, and that’s how I got to know Jee Hoe.

How did the name come about?
H We were at Palate Palette having drinks and trying to come up with a name for the night. There were crayons lying randomly on the table so all of us wrote a name down-we put words like “house” and “dirty”. I don’t know how the final name came about, but I like that it carries different meanings: it can mean house music or it can be a question, eg. “How’s this?” Like, “Macam mana?”

Yeah, we thought it was a smart play of words! So do you guys have a day job?
Jee Hoe I’m an interior designer.
H I’m working as an audio engineer and a programmer as well. Doing pre-radio production. It’s sort of similar to what I’m doing.

How did you guys get into DJing?
H I started when I was 15 years old, but at that point I was still in school so playing in a club wasn’t really my thing. When I was about 19 or 20 years old, I start playing at clubs and was teaching at the same time as well, for like about 3 to 4 years at Playaz Universe. I was away for a while and came back 2 years ago and now I’m back DJing again.
J For me, I actually picked it up when I was working in Singapore 3 years back. That’s where I actually got to know Kurt from Clash The Disko Kids and JB crew KBnL. I went to check out their gigs and saw how fun they were. That’s how I actually got into DJing: through Kurt and KBnL. I only started a few years back so it’s still pretty fresh for me.

And you’re also a member of Melee Punks…
J Yeah, that was basically in Singapore with my other friend Leo. I moved back to Malaysia so I don’t know what’s going on with that. At the moment, he’s busy with stuff and I’m busy with him (points to HypeEmBeats). So now I’m back here and trying to start something new. For now, it’s all about House This!?.

Were you always into dance music?
J I actually liked dance music since I was in primary school. I still remember the 1st tune that I listened to was by BT. I was also influenced by my brother who’s into dance music, so it kicked off from there. Those were the early days when I was into trance, house and techno but then I got more involved in electro and disco.
H I was never into dance music but about 3 and a half years ago I was hanging out at Barsonic to watch Blink play. I didn’t know what it was all about, but he gave me a mixtape and it was good. So I told myself I think I want to go into dance music rather than rnb and hip hop, which is what I used to play. That’s how I actually got to doing it and now I’m actually playing at Barsonic.
J It’s good that he’s got his own set of music and I’ve got mine. That’s how we do it, by playing different kinds of stuff.
H Everything under one roof!

So what does HypeEmBeats mean?
H I actually started it when I was DJing electro and house. I didn’t actually have a name; I used to be called “Kidd” back in the days when I was scratching. I just came up with the name randomly. A guy from Holland found me on Facebook, posted comments on my mix and said that he was interested in doing a blog for me. So this guy whom I have never met before started a site for me!

Nice! What have been your favourite individual gigs so far?
H I did gigs in Hong Kong with LMF, Beyond, Twinz and other pop artists that I didn’t even know existed until I performed with them. They’re actually big time celebrities there! I think that was the most exciting highlight in my life.
J I just started so I’ve got to say our so-called “Official Night For House This!?” I think that was actually a good night.

How do you guys feed off each other on the decks? Do you guys plan your sets?
H No, we just go for it. If my music is working very well, I’ll continue playing and vice versa. We just go with the flow.
J Yeah, we just go there and have fun, and make sure you dance. Like how Erol Alkan says, “Keep the kids dancing.”

Have you ever looked at each other and wondered, “What is he playing?”
J Nah, I’m cool. I know his style.
H Okay, maybe there are times when Jee Hoe drops something and I scratch my head and think, “What kind of song is this, man? How can you actually drop this kind of song?” But it usually turns out to be a good remix.
J We’re just pleasing the crowd and having a good night. I just mix whatever.
H I’ll play whatever I think is good and he’ll play whatever he thinks is good. He might play some stuff I don’t know and he may not know some of the stuff I’m playing, but it’s good that we actually have a wide contrast of the kind of stuff we like.
J It’s good in a way that we’re diversified, that we don’t stick to just one genre.

Is there anything you can’t stand about each other?
H In my whole DJ career, I think Jee Hoe is the only person I can get along with easily.
J Sure or not?
H No kidding, I swear.
J Oh man, that’s so flattering. I’m cool with him. I guess in the end, we’re just covering each other’s @sses.
H The main thing that a DJ should be worried about in a partner is what kind of stuff he’s gonna play. If he’s gonna be playing stuff similar to yours, it’s gonna be pretty dangerous. But I don’t think I have to worry about what Jee Hoe’s gonna play and I don’t think Jee Hoe’s worried about what I’m gonna play.
J That’s very true.

For more HypeEmBeats + Jee Hoe, check out their House This!? nights at Barsonic. Check Barsonic’s Facebook group for updates.

Image Euseng Seto