If you could call OMP Entertainment a family then heck, the talent is definitely in their genes. A joint venture between 2 of KL’s leading event companies, Obsession and Melting Pot Productions, OMP was founded by veterans of the local dance music scene Tengku Azran and Shazan Zainuddin. Together with other artists under their wing, they’re prime examples of people who turn a hobby into a full-fledged business through passion and perfection without compromising on values.
The good folks at OMP Entertainment have stayed true to their love of house and techno music, and apart from being DJs, most have gone on to become producers and event creators of the best club nights partygoers in Malaysia have experienced since our dance music scene 1st gained momentum. Apart from being responsible for events like the Black Cherry Halloween Ball, Action ’78 and A Summer Affair, OMP has also consulted and delivered some of the best parties for clients like Sultan Lounge and Rootz, and flown in DJ legends like JT Donaldson, Mark Farina, Derrick Carter, Chuck Love and most recently in July, Green Velvet. Now heading a strong group of artists from various creative fields, OMP seems to be unstoppable. We zoom in for a close-up with the family.
Tengku Azran and Shazan Zainuddin (Founders/Directors)
“We never ever compromise on the integrity of artists, both local and international, that are privileged to perform under the OMP banner.” – Shazan
Both Azran and Shazan have had an illustrious career thus far. Azran started spinning at the age of 18 and was a familiar face on the decks at clubs like Bliss, Nouvo and Viva as well as held a residency at a leading club in Melbourne. Today, Azran regularly spins at TwentyOne, Velvet Underground and Frangipani. Shazan Z, on the other hand, had been spinning alongside well-known DJs like Gabriel and Jungle Jerry, and when he was studying in Australia, held a 5-year residency at Perth’s longest-running house music club. Upon Shazan’s return from Australia 5 years ago, he and Azran decided to do something about the lack of quality and variety of local parties. Having been “firm friends since we were kids”, they joined heads, fused ideas and rode on the success of their own dance music entities Obsession and Melting Pot, and charged forth with a resilient group of dance music pioneers in tow to create a new wave of cutting edge parties. The alliance proved to be successful as both Azran and Shazan share the same taste in music while their individual strengths as DJs and Directors at OMP have played a huge role in the company’s success.
Like every business venture, Azran and Shazan (who are assisted by long-time friend Chee Teong) have had their fair share of setbacks and sacrifices, but the pair have no regrets and are thankful for the immense support they’ve received thus far. “Every event that OMP puts on is a team effort aimed at giving all those involved in making it happen and our loyal followers a unique party experience that is often imitated by other promoters in KL, but thankfully never duplicated,” says Shazan.
Victor G (Artist/Marketing Manager)
“Don’t go for 2nd best. Work hard and stick to your guns, be humble always and achieve what you want to in life.”
Victor G is certainly no stranger to us. We watched him grow as an artist even before he won our JUICE DJ Quest back in 2003. With 10 years of experience (having started at age 15) behind him, he’s held down residencies at iconic clubs like Echo and The White Room, and presided on the decks in hotspots like Tokyo, Bangkok and Bali. Throughout his career, he’s amassed a boatload of accolades including being the winner of the Pioneer Digital DJ Battle 2 years in a row (2004 and 2005) and the Pioneer Digital Battle Asian Championship in 2006. The tenacious talent also helms a slew of successful music productions and residencies at the hottest clubs around town.
As Marketing Manager at OMP, Victor handles artist management, deals with promoters and oversees the marketing side of the business “from strategy to implementation”, especially with the upcoming launch of OMP’s website. He admits it can be tough playing different roles when several events happen within the same month, but everything can be executed well with good time management. Working with long-time friends who share the same common goal is also a plus. “Working with Azran and Shazan in an environment of trust and understanding, with all of us focused on events, is a perfect combination,” says Victor. “We complement each other as a team but also overlap on many aspects, so it gives an organic feel to the way we work.”
Kamil Layali (Project Manager)
“I started listening to music since the age of 4, I’ve been in a choir, had a band and have been exposed to almost every genre of music. I eat, sleep, and breathe music. There will always be time for music”
Armed with wins at the Vestax Extravaganza DJ Championship and Pioneer Digital ProDJ awards in 2004, Kamil now locks down sublime tunes at one of Rootz’s most popular nights, Funken on Fridays. He’s also played at the famous Mandarin Oriental New Year’s Eve parties alongside the cream of the crop of the local dance scene. Little did Kamil know that when he started DJing as a hobby that he would be the Project Manager for what he describes as “this bunch of great people”. He manages OMP’s events together with Victor G (and swaps roles with him when things get hectic), and admits that working with the best local and international talent while sharing the decks with them is an overwhelming and exciting experience. And his advice to aspiring DJs who want to make it in the biz? “Do it because you’re driven by your passion and your love towards music and entertaining people, not by fame.”
OMP ENTERTAINMENT ARTISTS
Alam is one of the lucky few that has played in the legendary Backroom and made a name for himself not just in Malaysia but in Melbourne, where he is currently based. An accomplished DJ and producer in his own right, Alam worked hard to gain a reputation in Melbourne, which subsequently resulted in the creation of KL Beatz, a night that gives aspiring Malaysian DJs in Melbourne a spot to shine on the decks. KL Beatz has since been successful in bringing the “KL style” of partying to Melbourne and regularly features guest DJs from Malaysia. With what he’s accomplished, Alam is still very ambitious and has much planned for the future. As a DJ, he would love to go on tour as a way to check out the various scenes around the world while as a producer, he plans to collaborate with other producers and release more music. “There’s also talk of starting our own OMP record label,” grins Alam.
Hazriq has had many great moments in his career as a DJ, with the most memorable playing to a crowd of 3000 at Jet Sets in Jogjakarta on Christmas Eve 2004. He also conceptualised Grown Up Musiq (GUM) nights with DJ Gabriel, which have been some of the most popular techno nights in KL to date. Like his other talented peers at OMP, Hazriq has also ventured into producing because of the satisfaction from having people enjoy his music on the dancefloor “It’s unbelievable what we can do today [in production] compared to the yesteryears. The technological values and knowledge you learn in the software nowadays are priceless,” Hazriq reveals. To thrive in this industry, Hazriq believes one that “focus and commitment are the keys to everything”.
Hafidz’s love for dance music grew when he was an avid clubber at Movement and The Backroom. Fond memories of club hopping and meeting different people have moulded Hafidz into a versatile DJ. He’s also known to be one of the most hardworking DJs around, with endless gigs in the clubbing, fashion and corporate industries including for clients like Porsche, adidas, Loewe, Harper’s Bazaar and Malaysia International Fashion Week. In addition, he’s also played overseas at parties in Thailand and Indonesia. Hafidz’s biggest accomplishment is probably commanding a 15,000-strong crowd during the Velocity KL Music Festival in 2006 alongside Judge Jules. And it’s his unending passion that will keep this DJ at the top of his game, “No matter what the future has in store for me, I’ll be playing and creating music as long as I am able to.”
Shahril Adnan aka Zaskar
Zaskar is slowly making a name for himself around the Malaysian circuit since procuring a new residency at Sultan Lounge this year, an experience he cites as one of the greatest in his DJ career in which he learnt how to communicate with the crowd. Zaskar has also started to explore music production-listen to his material at www.soundcloud.com/shahriladnan. In the coming months, watch for Zaskar behind the decks at Sky Bar on Thursday nights; if you’re lucky you might hear him drop his signature track ‘Tarantula (Uner Remix)’ by Pleasurekraft.
Accomplished DJ Dezz has played at most of KL’s iconic clubs as well as slammed it in Koh Phangan for its Full Moon Party and other exotic locations like Hanoi. “The whole experience has been great. It’s like going on a rollercoaster ride,” Dezz enthuses of his career so far. “Going places that I’d never been before, experiencing different cultures and meeting new people are definitely something that I’ll never forget for the rest of my life.” Dezz has even conquered internet radio via Bangkok’s UB Radio (www.ubradio.net) with his Evolution bi-monthly show and New York’s Digitally Imported (www.di.fm) helming the monthly ReKonstrukt. Evolution features newer stuff and guest remixes from both international and local artists while Rekonstrukt manifests his alter ego with a minimal, industrial, experimental and futuristic approach to electronic dance music.
Being surrounded by passionate people might influence you to start something new, and Nabila Elme is a prime example of that. Working in post-production, Nabila 1st got exposed to the local dance music scene through her friends. It then piqued her curiosity to start messing behind the DJ console and soon enough, she was training under Excessive Records and picking up technical skills. All that paid off as she went on to win Best New DJ Of 08/09 at the Choons Awards. Nabila is really passionate about DJing and thinks that it helps in her work as a producer of feature films, and local and international TV commercials. “Having some musical knowledge helps when you look for references before a project starts,” she admits. This year, you can catch Nabila in action at Rootz, Sky Bar and Ecoba playing her favourite track ‘Breezy’s Groove’ by David Harness and Charles Spence8.
Self-taught and inspired by the OMP family, this DJ used to practise for hours in his home studio. Faizal Sukree believes that hard work, commitment and being musically up to date are factors that have made him the DJ he is today. He’s presided at clubs like Ministry of Sound – EUPHORIA, Zouk and Market Place, and was even invited to HK to share the decks with Steve Aoki for the adidas 60th Anniversary Party. The DJ doesn’t know what’s in store for his future, but he’d love to perform with Joris Voorn and Loco Dice one day.
Having played for famed clubs Embassy and Centro in Jakarta, Yansi was already a prominent DJ when he 1st arrived in KL as a student. In 2002, he organised some bangin’ parties at Nouvo, which became KL’s introduction to Yansi the DJ. Throughout his career, Yansi has played alongside the likes of Joris Voorn, Colette and JT Donaldson. And with experience comes a wealth of advice: “Places like [Zouk, Rootz, etc] have contributed to the development of the KL clubbing scene. The market size is central to the success of the scene. There has been a decline but KL has found ways to recover by having new venues, DJs, and event companies to attract new and existing clubbers. It’s during a decline when key players change strategy and retrain themselves by getting new inspiration in order to bring something new to the scene.” Besides having enthusiasm, Yansi says to be successful one needs to “plan, create strategies and translate them into action”.
Donovan aka Da Funkie Junkie
“Be in love with the music and the music will love you.” If someone like Donovan Da Funkie Junkie is going to give aspiring DJs advice, then those DJs better listen. Donovan has pretty much dipped his hands into every aspect of the dance music scene, from clubs and radio to promotions, parties and even TV. Such flexibility and longevity in an ever-changing scene is rare, but Donovan admits that his secret is pure passion. “Don’t ever DJ for the wrong reasons, ie. fame, glamour, women…” he warns. It’s no surprise that he’s hooked up with OMP since he and the founders go way back. “I’ve known Shazan and Azran for the longest time. They’ve DJed with me at most of my residencies from The Backroom to Bliss and even on my radio show. I was still a resident at Zouk when Shazan and Azran made me an offer I could not refuse,” he reveals.
More of this super house family at www.ompentertainment.com.
Image Euseng Seto