Fri, Jul 04, 2003 - Page 17 News List

Finding your groove as a DJ

By David Momphard  /  STAFF REPORTER

DJ @llen, right, puts his apprentice Jimmy through the basics of beat-matching.

PHOTO: DAVID MOMPHARD, TAIPEI TIMES

EC Multimedia Technology (易禧科技) is betting that lots of young Taiwanese would like to take their turn behind the turntables. The education firm that once offered courses exclusively in graphic design has expanded its operations to include courses in electronic music production.

"I was talking about the quality of DJs in Taiwan with a DJ friend of mine," said Zebra Chang (張智惠) the director of EC Multimedia's digital music program. "We were both saying that there was an overall lack of professionalism among them."

Months later, in April of this year, she founded the program for her company that has since become one of its most successful, with some 20 students enrolled in one or the other of two varieties of courses.

For NT$18,000 you get 18 hours of DJing basics with a faculty consisting of some of Taiwan's proven turntable talent, including Second Floor's resident DJ J6, DJs Edmund, Fish, Guangtou (光頭) and DJ @llen, who has one of the longest curricula vitae of any local DJ and who was responsible for crafting the syllabus for the courses.

Class sizes are kept to two or three people but are often one-on-one sessions between teacher and student due to a limited amount of equipment The classes are sponsored in part by Pioneer, who donated several mixers and CD players, but EC's classroom has only a few pairs of Technics turntables.

The syllabus consists not only of hands-on basics like how to match beats and which knobs on the mixer to turn, but even more basic basics like how to buy records in vinyl-impoverished Taiwan.

"Probably the hardest thing about being a DJ here is finding the records that no one else has." @llen said. He lamented the closing years ago of AC-DC, the record store on Roosevelt Road owned and operated by Roxy 99's Lin Wei which was the preferred destination for the city's vinyl shoppers.

"There's no place like it any more," he said. "Now you have to order through the Internet or make trips to Bangkok just to buy records; or else find a friend that's going there."

Buying records aside, EC's more advanced course goes far beyond the basics to train students on Reason, the popular music production software, how to scratch, and even the ABCs of party promotion.

When the Taipei Times crashed EC's campus on Tuesday night, @llen was busy putting a student named Jimmy (陸志威) through the paces of beat matching. Though he's just beginning his NT$48,000, three-month long course, Jimmy sees it as a worthwhile investment. "I'm a radio DJ and have always been into music," he said. "Mastering the decks seemed like the next logical step."

But will it help him land a residency at one of Taipei's clubs? @llen, who taught himself DJing, hinted that many of the students have signed up as much to make connections that will help them land gigs as to learn the trade.

"There are a lot of parties all the time. I'm sure there' ll be gigs in the future that I'll call him in on."

Hip-hop supervision is alive and well in Taiwan.

For more information on EC Multimedia Technology's DJing courses, visit the company's Web site at http://www.accmedia.com.tw/dj/

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