Dubbed “the king of digging,” Vicar (real name Yang Chi-chang, 楊奇章) stands out on the ever-crowded DJ scene as a one-of-a-kind DJ who collects and plays vinyl records that most people have never heard before.
Although his name is often associated with hip-hop events, calling Vicar a “hip-hop DJ” is an understatement. With over a decade of record-digging experience under his belt, Vicar is an expert in the art of sampling intensively and prides himself on being a champion of black music.
“I began to collect vinyl when I found this record shop called Soul Juice [in Taipei], which specializes in black music. At the time I was 17. And since then I started to check in there almost every day,” Vicar said. “Through hip-hop, I learned about sampling and many other great artists and musicians. As I slowly digested more and more, I switched my focus to the music legacies from the 1960s to the golden age of the 1990s because I realized that there were very few DJs in Taiwan who actually knew and played this kind of stuff.”
Vicar says The Pharaohs’ The Awakening is his most cherished LP among the 5,000 records in his collection. “It’s a hard-to-find deep funk record. Luckily I found it during a trip to Japan last year,” he said.
Vicar is known for being one of the few Taiwanese DJs who still play vinyl sets. But being a vinyl DJ is not always easy these days.
“I don’t always get to play vinyl sets all the time now,” he said. “A vinyl DJ is not welcome at events when everyone else is playing digital format.”
“Though most people cannot really tell the difference, it all pays off when you meet someone who understands. Being approved by these people is the motivation that keeps me going,” he said.
Vicar has shared the stage with international artists and played in Japan last year. After achieving his goal of deejaying in Japan, Vicar decided to compile his first official mixtape.
“It was like a dream come true for me to play in Japan. Not very many people appreciate the kind of music I play in Taiwan, but it’s a very popular genre in Japan,” he said.
The 42 tracks he put together for the 58-minute long mixtape, titled The Birth, are from the set he played in Japan. The release date is June 15, when Vicar will play at Marquee alongside special guest Shorkut.
Vicar’s official mixtape release party is June 15 from 9:30pm to 3am at Marquee, 16-1, Xinyi Rd Sec 5, Taipei City (台北市信義路五段16之1號). Admission is NT$1,000 for gents and free for ladies.
On the Net: www.facebook.com/deejayvicar