BeFM Expat DJ Comp 2014

Well that hapened! And now that I am over it, I can start to get to work on my next projects but I guess I should do a recap of the event first, this is trying to run it off while its still kinda in my head, but I am sleep deprived… so bear with me… hope I didn’t forget too much…


Well I arrived in Busan on Sat afternoon, and the weather, straight tropical storm blowing thru, rubbish!! Had a lot of the DJs worried abut the next day since obviously DJ equipment and rain don’t play well together. Anyways Sunday the weather somehow magically decided to hold off and play ball so we were treated to a night rain free! Also note, the photos I borrowed from someone, Im sure better ones will appear soon

Sound check was a crack up, all the other DJs are fun loving easy going guys so we enjoyed joking around and trying to keep our energy levels up as most of us had travelled and were runnning of little to no sleep which is pretty standard for the hard working DJ. After sound check we all parted ways for awhile before coming back together before the start of the evenings prcedings which saw Hanmin kick off the night with Krispy Crunch banging out a fusion of EDM and Hip Hop and finishing off with Hanmins smash hit Bsa Sae. Now with that out of the way, it was time for the 7 DJs to hit the stage and see who will come out on top.

First up was Paul Antoni, I have met him a couple of times and he is a nice dude, has some good tracks that he has produced, I have never heard him play before thou but I know he is a trance based DJ so was interested to see how he would handle a competition like this. He started off with a nice intro then proceded into his set which was nice, but as expected he struggled to really engage the crowd with his style. I did love his end throwback track thou


Next on the decks was last years winner DJ Ferry, a very good producer who has done a lot of dope K pop edm remixes but not what I would call a DJ (he reminds a lot of the top tier DJs, he is like a producer who plays his own music) anyways he started off with a mash up and then proceded into his set playing a lot of his own remixes but his set felt pre recorded, he did however dominate the crowd


Third on the decks having to follow up a good act was DJ Sir, I saw his entry video which was… ok… but he did do a nice little tone play at the end which I liked. Unfortunately he didnt drop any during his set, he tried to get the crowd on his side but came up a little short, painfully obvious when he transitioned into ‘this is how we do it’ he had obviosuly planned a bit of call and response but Koreans just dont know that song… which is a shame cause I love it. He hit the mark a couple of times with a few tracks but just couldnt keep it the whole way thru


4th up was Ecky Thump!, coming from a land down under, otherwise known as the west Island of New Zealand haha! He went into his routine without too much fanfare and proceded to do a nice solid mix of newer tracks, spending most of his set keeping his mixing tight with the occsiaonal crowd shout out, but he was keeping busy most of the time, since I was up next I didnt pay huge attention to details of his set but it sounded solid, not hugely crowd pleasing thou, propbably going over their heads with the music selection a litte but I enjoyed it


5th up was me… So kinda hard to talk about my set from an outside perspective but here is my take. Managed to start off ok then quickly progressed into some crowd bangers to get them going, then dropped it down and actually rapped on stage with the mic to Jay Z PSA, then it was just a mix of crowd calling with popular tracks, a couple of scratch breaks while jumping inbetween mixing and the mic was keeping me really busy, scratching wasnt as tight as I would have liked it and almost screwed up a mix but kept it inline, the 2pm and DJ Doc tracks were crowd killers, all I could see was people waving their hands, and then crooked at the end I had everyone screaming. I had a lot of fun on stage and managed to shake my normal competition seriousness away towards the end and just had fun with it like a normal set, so yeah, shit was mean as! Thou thanks Chad for the awkward question hahaha but all good, that just cracked me up!


6th on the deck having to follow up me was one of the DJs who I was keeping an eye out for because he has skills similar to me and also a mate of mine, Kiredmik, unfortunately he got off to a bad start not realising one of his channels was on thru mode, but he recovered well and got stuck into his set. He went down the play as many bangers as I can in 9mins route, which in theory wasnt a bad option, but track selection and lack of time to work the crowd or to let some tracks develop hurt his set and didnt really get a chance to show off any of his skills


Finally was DJ Rell, last is often the best time to jump on, if your set is right for it, Rell like a few others were at the disadvantage of not really knowing what to expect, and while being a good DJ in his own right, competition DJn and festival DJn is a lot different to normal club DJn, while he got up there and did his thing, he def fell into his comfort zone I think by playing a club style set, he was def enjoying himself up there and played some cool jams but not the kind to get the crowd really going


And that was that, San E graced the stage with DJ Pandol to a very enthusiastic crowd, and they were a great crowd, they were there wanting to be entertained and they showed the DJs a lot of love, but they did have to be directed and lead most of the time which made it hard on a few of the DJs. As I said before, competition DJn is very different from club DJn, the calibre of expat DJs in Korea is very broad, there are a lot who claim to be DJs but are really just music players and then there are some who are the genuine article, then there is the level where everyone else is floating around, not ready for the big leagues but good enough to be out there in the scene. The other problem is Korean DJs are pretty good, not quite world class good, but the top DJs here are a big jump apart from most expats. Thre3style is an example, out of the DJs who entered in BeFM the last 2 years, I am the only one to have entered and done well, 1 other could have made it and 1 other might have made it depending how many of the good korean DJs decided to enter (there is only a handful of expat DJs in Korea who I think could legitimately enter and compete but if every good DJ in Korea entered, I would say only 1 or 2 might have a chance). So, basically what I am saying is while its great that there is a forum for expat DJs to shine, the calibre of the DJs is lacking (for this type of DJn) which is not surprising when you really think about it however I digress… (and this isnt a dig at expat DJs, just trying to point out some of the reality, most of us are over here teaching so its not like we are all DJn full time etc there are obvious issues we face, not to say Koreans dont have their own issues, it just is what it is)

So in the end, the results looked like this

3rd Place – Ecy Thump

2nd Place – DJ Blaze

1st Place – DJ Ferry

The competition overall was really well run, the hosts were great (except Chad, he sucks lol love you bro) and the crowd and venue were simply awesome… however, the result… while I should be happy with second, Im really not, nothing against Ferry who came first, he did his thing, so props to him and to all the others as well. My anger and frustration goes towards the result which means the poor judges, both friends of mine too, Im confused how a set like his won compared to my set which while showman ship was pretty much similar, I showed more variation in skill and technique. Thou my guess is he has the producer card, the fact that a lot of his tracks were his… but then that begs the question, is this a DJ competition? Do you need to actually show some DJ skills for a DJ competition or not (I had this same problem with last years result as well) Now without talking to the judges and getting reasons behind their decisions all I can do is speculate, which in reality doesnt help anyone and just makes me out to be a sore loser, Im an annoyed loser, ill admit that, Im competitive so of course I want to win, but I dont hold anything against the winner or the judges but this is an issue that I think needs highlighted, at what point does producer credits and showman ship outshine skill and technique. This question however as we all know can be directed at the world of DJn in general… which is sad to say but true. The other problem with a DJ competition is the winner is determined by opinion, its not like a race where there is a clear winner, each person has their own opinion and it may differ to others, its human nature and cant be avoided, but it makes the judges job a lot harder, as I said they are both friends and I have a lot of respect for them, so Im not having a go at them, but would love to sit down with them at some stage and understand how they saw things. But at the end of the day the result is in and there is nothing that can be done about it, just hope at some stage I can get to understand it. (and its not easy being a judge!)

Here is my set, its not what I did on the night but close to it, this was one of my practices that I decided to record

But hey, I did have a lot of fun, met some awesome people and got to rock the shit out of a beach full of party people and walked away 800$ in hand, not a bad days work really 🙂


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