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4 Mar 2009

DJ Big Kid @ Lah! Mardi Gras in Singapore

Fridae speaks to Singapore's up and coming talent DJ Big Kid who will play an opening set for Superstar DJ/ Producer Tony Moran at the Lah! Mardi Gras Festival.

Inspired by the world famous event in Sydney, Lah! Mardi Gras Festival will feature Singapore's own DJ Big Kid alongside gay circuit favourites. Australian DJ Jake Kilby and American DJ/ Producer Tony Moran will find their way to Singapore after playing at this year's Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras party to be held this weekend.

To be held at St. James Power Station's Powerhouse from March 13-15, the 3-day event will feature a dance party with Moran on Friday night, followed by a comedy night by New York City-based duo Loungezilla, and a "Fabulous Sunday" party with Kilby, one of Australia's most popular DJs.

Moran, who had remixed for pop industry's biggest names, including Britney Spears, Beyonce Knowles, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion, became well known to Asian circuit goers after playing at the Nation party in Phuket in 2006 and more recently at Mighty Asia's New Year's Eve party in Bangkok. Kilby - a Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras party veteran - had last played in Singapore at Fridae's Snowball party in 2002.

"I have always wanted to create an event that celebrates life and equality," said Irene Ang, actress-comedian and CEO of Fly Entertainment, co-organiser of the event. "Clichd as it might sound - the "world peace" concept of Lah! Mardi Gras is timely especially during this difficult time with so much bad news in the papers everyday. Why not just celebrate life and our existence!" Ang is also the founder of Twoqueens girls' party which is held weekly on Thursdays at Play.

Other highlights on the closing night include an opening set by supermodel turned DJ, Evalicious; and a men's fashion show choreographed by style icon Hideki Akiyoshi.

Above: DJ Big Kid
We speak to DJ Big Kid whose real name is Johnson Ong - a law graduate turned PR consultant turned DJ - about landing his first gig in Shanghai, China and his involvement in the 'Repeal 377A' campaign in Singapore in 2007.

æ: How and when did you get started DJ'ing?

Big Kid: I started DJ'ing out of sheer boredom just after I returned from the US in 2004. I would hook up my laptop to an external mixer and play at house parties (in exchange for alcohol :)). I've always loved music and performing and liked getting people off their butts and dancing!

æ: How did your first gig come about?

Big Kid: I had played one-off gigs at a couple of clubs earlier on, but I think the gig that was the turning point was in September last year, when my two Singaporean buddies living in Shanghai convinced the club owner of super-club D2 (it took them quite a bit of convincing!) to let me play for the 10th Anniversary of a couple friend of ours. (We were all holidaying in Shanghai). The crowd that night lapped up my music from the get go and it was just an excellent night. I got a return invitation to play at D2 again the following month, and then word got around, and I was asked to play at several more parties in KL, Beijing and Singapore. I've been extremely lucky to have had all these amazing opportunities within such a short period of time, thanks to my group of close friends who not only supported and encouraged me, but actually went out to convince club owners for me!

æ: What is it about DJ'ing that you love?

Big Kid: Everything! I love putting together and planning my sets before the gig, doing music production, mixes and bootlegs, interacting with the crowd when I play and taking them on a musical journey right there on the dance floor. I almost always have a good time when I play, especially when the crowd is responding, there's a lot of satisfaction in that. I also love it when people come up to me, while I am playing, to say hi and sometimes, (if I am lucky), ask for my phone number. Just kidding!

æ: Who are your influences? And what inspires you?

Big Kid: Way too many to name. Here's a partial list: Junior Vasquez, Ralphi Rosario, Tony Moran, Peter Rauhofer, Paul Oakenfold, Abel, Tracy Young, Edson Pride and Midnight Society. Some of the next generation ones whom I am listening to a lot these days, are Alex Acosta, Jose Spinning Cortes, Ronen Mizrahi, Tamer Fouda, most of them from Brazil and Mexico. These guys are really giving the veterans a run for their money.

The gym inspires me! Funnily, I usually get the most ideas and inspiration when I am working out at the gym, listening to my iPod. There are times I just want to drop the weights, get my ass home and get those ideas out of my head and into my speakers.

æ: Having listed Tony Moran as one of your influences, how does it feel to be playing the opening set for him at Lah! Mardi Gras?

Big Kid: Definitely excited, honoured and a little anxious at the same time. I've already started planning my set, so I guess a little nerves is good for me. I am also really looking forward to meeting the man. In fact, he came to a house party in Bangkok, where I was playing over New Year's this year, but I didn't get the chance to meet him, so I'll make sure to meet him and get a couple photos with him this time!

The March 13 - 15 weekend is just going to be a BIG blowout weekend, with parties on all three nights. Sunday night is another Lah! Mardi Gras party with Jake Kilby & Evalicious, also at Powerhouse. Really hope to see everyone out!

æ: How would you describe a "classic Big Kid set"?

Big Kid: Depending on the party, I usually start off with an acapella intro, or some interesting acapella drop into the opening track, then it's off into some high energy, thumping tribal track. I do include a lot of vocals in my sets, but if the crowd allows me, I try not to play too commercial, as it gets a little predictable. But, I love great melodies, hooks and basslines, so you'll always find one or all of those in my sets. That always draws people in, even though it may be a house track they are not familiar with. Pre-gig planning is also very important to me, as it gives me a good idea of where the peaks and valleys are, and how I should manoeuvre the set, depending on what's going on the dance floor at the time. I also work a lot with acapella vocals within tracks, mash-ups and my own bootlegs.

æ: Do you consider yourself to be a big circuit/party boy before you started to DJ?

Big Kid: Haha, I'd like to say no, but I've been to my fair share of circuit parties when I was living in the US, where I had the chance to listen to all these amazing DJs play. My sound is in a large part influenced by the US circuit "big party" DJs. I guess that's where I also learnt to take off my top mid-way through my sets, with absolutely no sense of shame, something I've been known to do a little too frequently, so I've been told. :)

æ: What are your reflections on the current gay dance party scene in Asia and elsewhere?

Big Kid: The scene in Asia has picked up by a mile and a half in recent years, post Nation party. You have Bangkok's GCircuit & Mighty Asia now dominating the scene with their extravagant productions. New clubs and parties are starting to appear in cities, such as, Shanghai, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and even Jakarta. Taipei has always been the quintessential destination for the party boys and continues to thrive, despite new competition. So far, it's looking pretty good, even with the economic downturn! Locally, Singapore is hosting it's own Lah! Mardi Gras with Tony Moran headlining the festival, no less. Happy, the club that basically turned the gay clubbing landscape in Singapore upside down, is back for a one-night party event on March 14 at Boulevard bar, and possibly more in the pipeline. Fun times ahead!

æ: Not many people know about this, but you were heavily involved in the 'Repeal 377A' campaign in Singapore in 2007 as its PR strategist. What did you learn from it?

Big Kid: That it takes only a small dedicated group of individuals with a single purpose to affect an entire nation. Also, that besides DJ'ing, I have an in-born talent to drink through my nose with a straw. Cool.

æ: There are some members of the gay community who seem to be rather indifferent about the laws that affect them. What would you say to them/that?

I'd say, "Don't be nave!" All it takes is for one right-wing fundamentalist to rise through the government ranks to enforce 377A and we'll see if we can afford to remain indifferent. Why allow anyone to put a noose around your head at all, just because they promise they won't pull the chair from under you? Also, people need to remember all the years of self-hate and self-loathing they went through growing up, thinking they were less than equal because of their sexuality, all perpetuated by outmoded laws such as 377A. Do we really want to inflict the same unnecessary pain on the generations of gay and lesbian kids who will come after us? We are not even talking about California's Prop 8 situation here. We are talking about not being likened to criminals. Perhaps it's because the 'inner gay' in us feels the urge to enroll in the Yellow Ribbon Project, so we can finally own the complete collection - Red Ribbon & (the recently introduced) White Knot. That's gotta be it, cos I don't see any other reason to justify the indifference.

æ: What other projects are you working on and if you have any other gigs lined up?

Big Kid: I will be playing for Lai Liao! On Saturday, 14 March at Boulevard bar, Red Dot Traffic Building. I am really excited about this gig as it marks the return of Happy after a long hiatus. As with all Happy parties (remember Sweat?) you know it's gonna be a crazy, entertaining and a fun night! I also have a gig lined up in Jakarta by Concierge Productions and possibly another one in Hong Kong. Both in April.

æ: Who would your dream date be if you were straight for a day?

Big Kid: Someone like my mom. (Grin)

Lah! Mardi Gras Festival Calendar:
Friday 13th March - Powerhouse (Opening Party) - 9pm to 4am
Featuring Guest DJ Tony Moran (NYC) & Opening Set by DJ Big Kid (SG)

Saturday 14th March - Bellini Grande (Comedy Night) - 8pm to 10pm
Feat Main Act - Loungezilla (NYC) followed by Comedy Act Gino (SG)

Sunday 15th March - Powerhouse (Fabulous Sundays) - 9pm to 4am (Closing Party )
Feat Guest DJ Jake Kilby (SYD)
Opening Set by DJ Evalicious (NYC)

Ticketing Details:
Single day ticket:
Friday - SGD48.00
Saturday - SGD35.00
Sunday - SGD45.00

Combo Pass for 3 Days:
Pre Launch - SGD70.00
Normal Price - SGD80.00

Fridae readers are entitled to a 20% discount; promo code: PinkSG
Ticketing: Online @ lahmardigras.com, at the door or outlets detailed on the web site

DJ Big Kid will also be playing at:
Lai Liao! - A very HAPPY event
Date: Saturday, 14 March 2009
Venue: Boulevard, Red Dot Traffic Building
Time: 9pm till late
Details: Headlining DJ
Tickets: S$20 at door (inc. 1 premium housepour)
Website: www.happy.com.sg


Reader's Comments

Comment #1 was deleted by its author
Comment #2 was deleted by its author
3. 2009-03-04 19:39  
"I'd say, "Don't be nave!" All it takes is for one right-wing fundamentalist to rise through the government ranks to enforce 377A and we'll see if we can afford to remain indifferent. Why allow anyone to put a noose around your head at all, just because they promise they won't pull the chair from under you?"

Totally agree. Bravo to you, Johnson, and on your ideals and efforts. We need more enlightened fighters like you. Bravo!

There are impassive hypocritical losers* who will discourage us from fighting but they are always the first in line to enjoy our victory fruits-to these losers, I say to you; "Hope all your straws melt in your nose and you fuse up on them, real bad!" Be a man! Take it, take it! I say..LOL.

* Clear example-the snake in these forums, you know who u are, kampong tart...;P

4. 2009-03-04 20:56  
He's totally hot!
5. 2009-03-04 20:59  
Sure we are impatient to listen you at TAKE OFF Saturday April 25th Jakarta...

The only monthly party with International Gay DJs in Indonesia.

Let's burn the dancefloor !

ConciergeProd Indonesia
6. 2009-03-04 21:05  
YAY!!!! Not one iota of GAY SHAME here!!!! YOU GO BOY!!!! big bear hug 4 u....
7. 2009-03-04 21:16  
..be honestly , i dont like his music, eletric music style, suit for drug, not very good for dancing
8. 2009-03-04 21:52  
Never heard Moran Dj-ing anywhere i have been in to. But now am urgently in need of partying under his command... Lets hit the floor guys...!!!!
9. 2009-03-04 23:02  
where's lah Mardi gras?
10. 2009-03-05 02:31  
wow,i like Tony Moran.............'s body,but not his music,in fact i will go to his party to just watch his big muscle moving,haha
11. 2009-03-05 04:11  
If you are still lost, the LAH! Mardi Gras is on the following dates;

Lah! Mardi Gras Festival Calendar:
Friday 13th March - St. James Powerhouse (Opening Party) - 9pm to 4am
Featuring Guest DJ Tony Moran (NYC) & Opening Set by DJ Big Kid (SG)

Saturday 14th March - Bellini Grande @ Clarke Quay (Comedy Night) - 8pm to 10pm
Feat Main Act - Loungezilla (L.A.) followed by Comedy Act Gino (SG)

Sunday 15th March - St. James Powerhouse (Fabulous Sundays) - 9pm to 4am (Closing Party )
Feat Guest DJ Jake Kilby (SYD)
Opening Set by DJ Evalicious (NYC)
12. 2009-03-05 14:11  
Way to go Big Kid! Love your attitude.

Surely you must be the region's (if not the world's) first Gay Activist DJ around!
13. 2009-03-05 14:39  
Wah, he looks damn HOT leh :-)!
Comment #14 was deleted by its author
15. 2009-03-05 18:23  
Ah, will definitely be there. It's a pity that "Ah Q", Queen Of Temple Street cant be here. :P
16. 2009-03-06 15:33  
Post #12 gymhotbod says (Posted : 05 March 2009 18:23) :

"Ah, will definitely be there. ..."


Ah, clearly now without a doubt, we now know how diseases are spread and by whom. Tsk, tsk...LOL
17. 2009-03-10 14:19  
Enjoy. Bt beware of plainclothes police.

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