Actually, I never attended formal classes. My house, where I hold some of my DJing classes, is not big enough to fit the increasing number of young people who want to learn to become professional DJs. That’s why I decided to open the school.
Dance and electronic music nowadays is part of many young people’s lives, so demand for professional DJs has increased. Nightclubs are not the only place for us to manipulate sounds and create music. There are more opportunities to work and make good money. Lots of people want to learn just as a hobby and create remixes to share with their friends on social networks including YouTube and Facebook. Several underground music groups have been formed in this way.
My students are a “marketing” channel that attract more people to the profession.
In Viet Nam, DJs used to be looked down upon because nightclubs were connected with drugs and other underground activity. How has it become such a trendy profession?
The most important thing is that nightclubs are no longer the only venues where DJs can perform. Many have busy schedules scratching at different events, festivals, live shows and collaborations with singers. Once a remix of a song becomes a hit, the DJ takes as much credit as the singer. When the entertainment industry develops, DJs will get a better name for themselves in society.
Another reason is that more and more Vietnamese DJs now acknowledge the importance of being professionally trained. These DJs need to know about production and composition, not just scratching.
How do you and your students see the future of this job in Viet Nam?
From my point of view, there is no doubt that there is a bright future for this job in our country. I used to be an unknown DJ who performed in different nightclubs, but then I decided to start composing and producing my own music, and some of my tracks have become popular hits. Recently, I invited Canadian singer Zara Taylor, a big name in the dance music world, to perform in Viet Nam. During the tour, she also recorded my song Lullaby. It’s my first international success.
I understand that in any profession, if you are skilful and professional, career opportunities will present themselves naturally.
I think the competitiveness between DJs is a positive sign. Without competitiveness, I may have been satisfied with just winning that DJ competition nearly 10 years ago.
Although dance and electronic music are hot at the moment, a remix can be a hit one week and forgotten the next. Do you and your students have any backup plans?
It doesn’t matter if electronic sounds are old or new. Vintage trends in both music and fashion are an example. At the 88DNA Academy, we train our students to work with the latest software for mixing and production. At the same time, we also equip them with a wide range of knowledge. We plan to conduct masterclasses with famous Vietnamese and foreign composers and DJs, aiming to help our students to learn more about the latest music trends. Workshops for fans of dance music and amateur DJs will also be part of our schedule.