hkclubbing talks to one of Hong Kong’s most respected producers and the genius behind local music bar Yumla.
hkclubbing: So how did it all begin?
DJ Dan F: Like everyone else – as a distraction and hobby.
hkc: Where did the name come from?
Dan F: My parents?
hkc: What gave you that initial push?
Dan F: Myself – was a conscious decision to go down this route.
hkc: Did the Djing, Production, Promoting come 1st?
Dan F: Production first, promotion second, DJing third and bar owner fourth!
hkc: Who and what are your influences?
Dan F: Too many to list – all music, lots of films, plenty of alcohol.
hkc: How would you describe your sound?
Dan F: "Interesting" ... to me at least!
hkc: Who's throwing the best parties at the moment?
Dan F: I haven't been to a good party in Hong Kong in years. Not since 1999. Promoters (and subsequently the local crowd) seem to have forgotten what it's all about.
hkc: Which other countries have you played/put parties on?
Dan F: Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, some in Europe. Not very many places to be honest, I'm fussy about choosing gigs.
hkc: What was the first event you ever played at/put on?
Dan F: My first gig was at a small bar in HK called Phi-b, even though it was a tiny little bar and I knew everyone there, it still scared the shit out of me.
hkc: What's the best event you've played at/put on?
Dan F: Best gig & crowd – club Asian Force in Fukuoka, Japan in 2009. I love playing in Japan. Most fun recently was PUSH's outdoor Sunday pool party a few weeks ago at the Crowne Hotel. And I always have a blast playing for the home crowd at Yumla when I get the time.
hkc: What was your first record you bought?
Dan F: Probably some bad progressive. Made some hideous purchases over the years, especially in the beginning when I didn't know any better. The first record I remember buying and not being able to live without was PMT's "Gyromancer" or Fata Morgana "Voices".
hkc: Out of all the tunes you have, which one 'never fails?'
Dan F: I care more about the overall set than the actual tunes I'm playing. I couldn't even tell you what I'm playing half the time – I have an awful memory – but as I drive all 4 decks in Traktor I am constantly cueing up dozens of tunes from my collection each minute to find something that works with the direction of the set.
hkc: What's your favourite tune of all time?
Dan F: Hmm. Not going to answer this one! Probably something by Robert Johnson, Nirvana, Radiohead, Kyuss or Nine Inch Nails. Techno is for losing it, not daily life.
hkc: When all the partying is over how do you like to chill out?
Dan F: Walking my dogs, dinner with friends, plenty of booze and good food.
hkc: So how is the scene in your eyes at the moment?
Dan F: With regard techno & underground house music in HK – rubbish. All the hard work promoters put towards educating people in the late 90's seems to have been forgotten, the newer generation has no interest in this style of music and is more concerned about the fashion that goes alongside whatever scene they are into. Some other scenes appear to be doing well – the younger hipster poppy-electro indie scene for example – but that's more about cheap lager & getting off with other drunk kids, than taking musical journeys or any of that grown-up nonsense. Which is fine. I just find wasted kids puking instead of dancing, horribly tedious.
hkc: What is your real name if you use an alias and how old are you?
Dan F: I'm not as old as I look! My press age is 28.
hkc: How big is your vinyl collection? What do you think of CDJ's?
Dan F: What are you talking about?! I've been on laptops since 2003! Hardly ever touched a CDJ and was quite glad to be rid of vinyl.
hkc: What’s the funniest thing that ever happened at an event?
Dan F: Fukuoka 2009: A naked drunk Japanese dude who – only a couple hours previously – was selling BBQ chicken at a food stall inside the club. He clearly couldn't control himself as the party got underway (and he'd run out of chickens) was prancing over 3 floors of the venue hugging & dancing with people. It's as close as I ever want to get to the hippie horror freakshow that is Burning Man.
hkc: Other DJs you rate?
Dan F: In Hong Kong: Basil Tam, Frankie Lam, Ocean Lam. They destroy everyone else in my opinion. Overseas DJs: Markus Homm, Lee Burridge and numerous other guys who are just doing their own thing.
hkc: What do you do outside of the dance music scene?
Dan F: My wife & I own and operate a couple bars & restaurants plus I operate a recording studio which has been in business since 2001. Dance music is actually quite a small – but important – part of my life.
hkc: What advice would you give to up and coming DJs/Promoters?
Dan F: Do it because you love it, and don't give up your day job.
hkc: Do you see your music as a universal language?
Dan F: You could say that – but then so is art, dancing, smiling and alcohol.
hkc: I heard you had a very different job before DJing, producing and running Yumla, what was it?
Dan F: Geologist – probably the most adventurous job a single young guy could have.
hkc: Yumla has now started signing tracks to its now label, how is that going and are you looking for a specific sound?
Dan F: Label is going great – it's more about providing a target for local producers to aim towards, than anything else. Sound-wise, I'm looking for minimal, tech-house, techno, deep house, leftfield 4/4 and anything which a DJ could potentially drop into a set.