As I hopped out of a cab, the drum-heavy sounds of Gus Poole’s Hallelujah Alright Amen greeted me. Intrigued, I walked a few steps over and spotted a DJ playing B-boy anthems to a crew of nearly 100 breakdancers dressed in their Nikes battling it out on linoleum that had been taped to the concrete. This could have been a scene straight from the Bronx in the 1980s, but instead, it was last Saturday evening at Kaohsiung’s remarkable Central Park (中央公園).
On this night, the Deep Soul Crew, which consists of DJs, B-Boys and dance teachers, had converged on Brickyard’s Beer Garden to have a jam session/friendly battle in the park. DJ Fett (real name Drazen Dzambo), a Croatian native who has been in Taiwan for the past five years, is one of the organizers of the event.
“We decided to take hip-hop out of the club and into the open where everyone can see it and learn something about it,” Fett said. “Just as the old school rap tune goes, ‘Hip-hop, they used to do it in the park.’ People go for a walk and enjoy the park, so it’s the perfect time to expose them to dancers battling, DJs scratching, MCs rapping and graffiti artists being creative.”
After spending three years doing his MBA by day in Tainan and partying in Kaohsiung at night, Fett decided two years ago that it was time to make a move to the Harbor City. He is now a resident DJ at Brickyard and will be hosting the Bum Squad DJz Launch party this Saturday night.
“After working in previous clubs, Brickyard has been refreshing for me,” he said. “I tried to get away from all the Top 40 songs which I’ve been playing over and over for years. At Brickyard, I can get dirty and play hard dubstep beats, then cut in an underground hip-hop track without the boss coming up to me and asking why I am not playing more Pussycat Dolls. I am allowed to be funky and that’s what I really love about it. Another great thing down here at Brickyard is the possibility to work with many other DJs coming from all around the world.”
Fett is now a regional manager for the Bum Squad DJz, which he calls “one of the most explosive DJ movements in the world.” Fett said that Bum Squad DJz is a family of DJs that take care and support each other while they are out touring the world.
“We not only introduce many international artists to Taiwan, but also give opportunities to Taiwanese artists who are interested in exposing their art and skills on the international level,” Fett said.
He added: “My big challenge will be overcoming the language barrier and connecting Taiwanese artists and DJs with other international players, DJs and artists. I truly believe it will be something big and exciting.”
It’s impossible for Fett to hide his excitement for all of his upcoming projects as he has just been booked for a foam party in Kenting during Tomb Sweeping weekend and has his eyes set on playing some shows in Malaysia in the near future. While he knows he’s working hard, Fett said he enjoys the hustle. “It’s never enough. Give me more. I’ve got to stay busy. I’m just trying to live my hip-hop to the fullest!”
■ Bum Squad DJz Launch Party tomorrow at Brickyard, B1, 507 Jhongshan 2nd Rd, Cianjin Dist, Greater Kaohsiung (高雄市前金區中山二路507號B1). Admission is NT$300 for men and NT$150 for women, which includes two drinks before 11pm and one drink after. Students with a valid ID get in for NT$50 (with a drink) before midnight.