Five minutes with Debbie Chia
Between her and her posse of girl DJs, they’ll be rocking two venues during George Town Festival 2013’s CEX After Dark with FFF in June. While getting her list of dance tracks ready, she takes a breather to tell Su Aziz why she’d choose music over cats even though she loves them and what ABBA reminds her of.
What does ‘FFF’ stand for?
We're not quite sure ourselves! I guess we wanted to keep it fluid, flexible and fun!
When and how did the idea for FFF Girl DJ Bootcamp got started?
It started six years ago in 2008 as a way to help grow and nurture the female DJ community. It was also a way to give back all the opportunities I have received and give other girls the same opportunities that I had. Picking up DJ-ing can be intimidating for girls so we created an environment that was friendly and fun. I roped in Cherry and Natalie who were my peers and Pamm joined us two years ago.
How would you define your sound/music?
I play electronic music from the 1970s and beyond from disco to house and techno.
Let’s wipe out the myth that all DJs do is party and have loads of fun. Tell us what sort of challenges it entails.
It's quite a lot of backbreaking work. From sieving through thousands of songs just to find a handful of good songs, to being on the road carrying your own gear to being the first on site and usually one of the last to leave the event. There's also great pressure to perform and deliver a great party experience.
‘FFF’ girls are known to be cat-loving folk. What are the five best things about cats for you?
I personally have a pet dog. But I love cats too. I love how they are independent, aloof, intelligent, furry and how they are simply just creatures of God.
If you have to choose between cats and the music you spin, which would it be?
Sorry to the cats of the world, but music is a bigger love of mine. I guess music has the ability to transcend boundaries, including place and time. So, in the grand scheme of things, historically and culturally, music has a bigger role to play in the world.
Besides music, what else interests you?
I love writing and I do it as a profession. I guess like music, it's a form of creative expression and communication. I am not very much an extrovert (the irony!), so things like writing and playing music are my means of reaching out.
To date, what’s been the most outlandish gig you’ve experienced?
Well, my last gig was at the World DJ Festival in Seoul, Korea. There was a total attendance of 40,000 people with camps, crazy costumes and shows. I was under the Red Bull Music Academy stage and the energy of the Koreans was crazy! They lapped everything up and gave it back to you tenfold. I had the best fun.
Can Penang expect a ‘wild’ party in June from you?
Well, I've heard Penang folk can get up to some fun too, so I am looking forward to a good time with everyone!
How do you imagine the Penang crowd is going to be for your DJ gig in June in George Town?
Quite a bit depends on the venue, the set up. I understand it's the festival's official after party. So, we can expect all the creative and fun folk to be there – from the artists and entertainers to the backstage crew, the general public and even the organisers will all be there to get down and party after their performances and events. It should be a very good vibe where people just want to enjoy after having put in the hard work.
When you hear ‘Dancing Queen’ by Abba, you think of…
…driving to Malaysia while in the backseat as a kid. My parents brought us to Malacca every year for a holiday trip and my Mom would always play her Abba tape during those endless summer days.
To find out venues, dates and time of the event in which Debbie Chia will be participating in, check here.