Fri, Dec 17, 2004 - Page 15 News List

The Vinyl Word: It's tough to be a DJ

By Jules Quartly  /  STAFF REPORTER

Ministry of Sound dancers get funky to Felix da Housecat last week.

PHOTO: JULES QUARTLY, TAIPEI TIMES

Life on the road can be hard on a traveling minstrel and Felix da Housecat was feeling the strain as we took a taxi back to his hotel in downtown Taipei after his show at the Ministry of Sound in Neihu last Friday.

It was 3am. He was approaching the end of a two-and-a-half-week tour and had touched down in Taiwan only six hours previously.

Immediately after exiting immigration, he was whisked to the club, had a tiff with the management about where he would play, did a two-hour set and was clearly coming down hard and fast. His morning call was for 8am to leave to Singapore for a gig at Zouk the same night.

Slumped and barely able to summon the energy to speak, he drawled, "I can't sleep on planes, I just wanna put my head down and get some rest."

"I wanna go home. I didn't even know I was coming to Taiwan. I had overslept somewhere and my manager just told me I was coming and I thought, `Oh man, I'm going to the land of microchips and fake Louis Vuitton. Cool.'"

Considering how tired he was, it was a credit to the man that he signed the stack of records handed to him by fans after he played. He shook hands and took the time to say hello to everyone who got near. He even agreed to one interview -- this one.

He talked about his latest album Devin Dazzle and the Neon Fever and the Grammy-nominated Felix da Housecat Versus Sasha Watching Cars Go By, one of the large tunes he had played earlier. He also dropped some big names ("Yeah, P Daddy and me are doing a dance music album. Yeah, he loves electronic music. But you know ... our schedules ...") and went over old ground, about how he had developed into a musician, producer and then DJ.

"My father was a saxophone player and DJ Pierre, he got me into house music. I didn't realize it was all about sex and drugs and being gay and that sort of thing. I never went to clubs, I didn't get into clubs until I went to England."

As for the show itself, it was a romp through the electronic music catalogue of the last 20 years, from Gary Numan's Cars to Marilyn Manson, with Donna Summer and Pink Floyd's The Wall coming in between. It was heavy, building on sounds as much as it did melodies. Perhaps it was too much for the locals, but the foreigners in the place were obviously loving it.

"It was kind of slow tonight, wasn't it? I guess I kind of scared the people away. I was kind of nervous," he said.

"I didn't drink. I like to do that and party on down. I don't do drugs. I never did, I swear. I was afraid it was gonna mess up my creative side. People used to say, `That guy must be on drugs, the crazy music he makes,' but nah. I may have taken a puff of weed, but that was it. Like coke, ecstasy, I never did any of that."

Moving from north to south, tomorrow is the free soft opening of BOBO lounge club in Taichung. The nightspot started in Kaohsiung and is expanding its operations, hiring club veteran DJ Chi Funk to run the show (and you know he's going to do it right). @llen, Nina, Edmund, Paul Energy, Around Midnight and live acts such as The Sputnik Tango Rebellion MCs, female vocalist Diva Lindsey and even a salsa act have already been booked for upcoming events.

BOBO Taichung can be found nestled in the glass dome on Dongxing Road. For more information, contact chifunk@revevolution.com.

Also in Taichung, the city's newest deep/tech house night opens tonight at Mash with three DJs rotating for a crowd-shaking sound that aims to keep off the winter chill.

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