Jonathan Chew Pak Yeong; he simply goes by John. He is a Monash student during the day. Yet when night falls, he turns into Pak Yeong, a performing DJ. Radio Monash had a rare chance to sit down with this rising star – and inquired about music, life and love.
What is music to you and what is your goal as a music artist?
I want to make it as a DJ in Malaysia. I play mostly EDM-based music, this includes sub-genres like house, RnB, and trap. I usually spin depending on the clubs that I’m playing at. I hope it would work out well. Tomorrowland is definitely one of my goals. But my main goal is to broaden my horizon in EDM.
What is the weirdest thing you’ve heard from a fan?
I haven’t heard anything weird. One of the unusual things that happened to me was getting more friend requests with no mutual friends on Facebook. But other than that, not really.
Besides performing, where else do you think you could apply your skills?
I produce music in my spare time. I’m still a performing artist instead of a recording one. But I’m going to release my own music soon. It is different to record rather than perform. The equipments used are different, for example to record you would need tools to convert the analog to digital sounds.
If you could choose one song that perfectly describes your life, which one?
I don’t have a specific one. I listen to a lot of songs. I like what I feel when I hear different EDM songs. For example, I Wanna Feel by Secondcity moved me; how everything it was put together.
What are your inspirations behind your music and genre?
I thought it was awesome to see DJs in clubs; how they control the crowd. A huge part of EDM is the atmosphere. There are many EDM music festivals now. It is a celebration. It inspired me to become a bigger part of it.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently producing some tracks. They’ll be out in the next month or two. Some of them are mixed with recorded instruments; a fusion.
Can you briefly describe your music-making process?
While doing something mundane, I’d think of a melody and if other people would like it. If yes, I would record it on my phone so I won’t forget. Let’s say I’m walking to class and thinking of a good melody, I would take out my phone, record it and develop it. This method is hard sometimes, especially when I’m driving. But I try not to lose the tunes.
What do you think about the competition in your own genre, especially in Malaysia?
The competition is huge. There are so many bedroom DJs like some may call. That’s how some of the best DJs now started, in their bedrooms. Some of these guys can actually spin. They put on really good shows.
How technology and the internet is changing music?
In terms of technology, it really changed the game. It allows you to make music easier. For example, beat syncing can be done automatically now. It kinda takes away the magic of DJing, but it also allows DJs to experiment many other aspects. For me, it is more fun to do it manually.
Who do you think is the most successful artist of all time and in what criteria?
I am not so sure on this one, especially as a whole package. I think Deadmau5 is respectable for experimenting with acoustic science. I think Skrillex is quite successful. He has been around since the beginning of the EDM scene. I loved Random Access Memories by Daft Punk. I think they are great as well.