DJ Ken has been making dance music for 20 years, reinventing himself along the way. His waist-length mane has been replaced by a contemporary crew cut; his mixes have evolved from hip hop to EDM (electronic dance music); and he has progressed from watching DJ videos to uploading his own mash-up vids on Youtube. One thing remains unchanged – the man is a wizard on the turntable.
With two decades of DJ-ing experience, Ken Wong continues to work the deck on the party scene. “Technology has changed the game, computers are getting more powerful. The sound may be different now, but the fundamentals remain the same. Your skill is still your main asset. As the Chinese saying goes: ‘One minute of performance on stage is equivalent to 10 years of practice’,” he says.
DJ Ken started his career in the hip hop years of the 1990s. He was the Malaysian DMC Champion in 1996 and 1999, and the runner-up in 1997 and 1998. He was the first Malaysian DJ to sign to a major label with Universal Malaysia, which released his debut album DJ Ken Volume One. Recently, he released DJ Ken Presents Deckstar Allies Reboot EP, an EDM compilation produced by Decktonez Productions.
Apart from his own track Reboot, the EP features work from fellow DJs Darling Sabrina, DJane Geri, Melissa Jo, Mike Sanchez and C Master. The EP comes on the heels of DJ Ken’s Cantonese single OOTD, featuring vocals by Malaysian radio DJ Joe Chang. His first Mandarin single last year was In My Blood, which featured vocals by Astro Talent Quest 2010 winner Peace Teo.
As the first Malaysian DJ to produce Chinese-language EDM titles, DJ Ken is exploring uncharted territories. Unlike his first album which took three years to finish, Reboot was done in six months. “This album showcases the latest trend in EDM and the many genres that are popular with dance music lovers now,” says the 45-year-old. Meanwhile, he's getting ready for another Mandarin single, this time with local singer Pink Tan, which is set for release before the year ends.
DJ Ken has also been a producer for Malaysian acts Too Phat, Teh Tarik Crew, Danny One and GINA, as well as Taiwan’s Sugar Daddy and China’s Viva Zhang. His advice to aspiring musicians: “Many people, when working on their albums, keep trying to improve everything as they go along but never really know when to wrap it up. The key is knowing when to stop. Then you can release one album and start working on the next.”
DJ Ken’s versatility has accorded him weekend DJ mix show gigs on local English and Chinese radio stations. He has also extended his repertoire to include remixes of movie themes from Chinese New Year flicks like Once Upon A Time and Ah Beng: Mission Impossible. And he's been filling dance floors in Taiwan, China and Macau with his mixes. If you want to be like him, he conducts coaching clinics and DJ classes for anyone aspiring to make it in the party scene.
> DJ Ken's gigs include OOTD and Reboot parties at Movement Ultimate Club (The Zon, Johor Baru) on Jul 26; Awave Bistro (Setia Walk, Puchong) on Aug 2; and The Flo Lounge (Hotel Equatorial Malacca) on Aug 23. Get a copy of his CD through his Facebook page.