Fri, Dec 20, 2002 - Page 17 News List

Out of the corner, into the limelight

Chozie has set his sights on adding house and break-beats to the local lexicon with the release of a new album and the first music video for a local DJ

By David Momphard  /  STAFF REPORTER

Chozie lounges in the corner.

PHOTO COURTESY OF AVEX RECORDS

There was a time when DJs were the friendless geeks in the corner. That time is past. Point in case is Chozie, a relative newcomer to Taiwan who has taken dance floors by storm and is busy preparing the release of a three-CD set of house music and break-beats scheduled to hit record store shelves in January.

To mark the occasion, Room 18, the swank nightclub where Chozie rules the booth as resident DJ, is throwing a Christmas Eve album pre-release party. While the party will mark the end of a mad dash to get the album out, things will only get crazier for the Chinese-Australian who's called Taipei home for only a few years.

"I'm probably gonna need to rent a helicopter on New Year's Eve," he says matter of factly. "I have a television shoot in Taoyuan, am opening for DJ Sasha ... and playing sets at Room 18, Plush and 2nd Floor all on the same night."

But first he's off to China and Hong Kong to play a series of gigs with F4, superstars of Mando-pop, and by any 14-year-old girl's account, the cutest band in the world. Then he'll be back in Taiwan for a blizzard of television appearances and magazine interviews that will plaster his mug and have his sound heard throughout Taiwan and the Greater China region. In mid-January, he heads to Jakarta and Bali to play at a concert in honor of Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri before beginning a mini-tour of the US and then returning to Asia for gigs in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

All in stride

Chozie is nonplussed by the pace. Talking with him at his studio in Taipei last week, he was relaxed and friendly, quick to offer a beer while he worked away at the computer.

His studio could easily be confused for an apartment -- pictures and knick-knacks cover every horizontal surface and plenty of comfortable furniture is available for lounging -- only the thousands of CDs stacked floor-to-ceiling and racks of audio equipment give away the place's real purpose. A hundred or so records sit on the floor behind him.

"That's only the vinyl I'm working with right now," he says. "I have a lot more in the other room, more at my house and about 5,000 records back in Australia. ... When I go to buy music, the guy at the store usually has a box for me behind the counter and I'll spend a couple days holed up in a room bouncing from track to track."

He doesn't take notes on what he listens to, only noting the album cover artwork for future reference. It's a talent he's cultivated over a decade of DJing throughout Asia and Australia and working with musicians on mixing their work.

As we talk, the doorbell rings. It's Ken from F4 come to set up an electric drum and work on their upcoming Hong Kong and China gigs. "This is Ken," Chozie says making introductions, "Ken works in a boy band."

The drum is set up and the interview draws to a close. As is usually the case with the busiest DJ in Asia, it's time to work again. "We're shooting my music video at Room 18 on Friday night," he says. "Come shake your ass."

Chozie, the movie

Now shot and in the can, the video will augment the third disk in Chozie's release, a VCD documentary of club culture in Asia and eponymous biography. It will also follow him on his upcoming media blitz and begin airing on Channel V after Christmas. Appropriately enough for any DJ making a splash in the local market, the video is for a track titled Isle of Formosa and is about DJing in Taiwan.

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