Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

Tchek out Macau’s new music label

Posted by Kimberly on August 4, 2007

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
August 4, 2007, page 18 (1,230 words)

There’s a new player on the Macau electronic music scene. Actually make that two. Dynamic producers Tchek Hoi Corp., or 41-year-old Jose Drummond (DJ D’mond) and 30-year-old Hernandez Sousa (DJ Bubble) have come out with their first EP release as part of the Side FX label.
‘Casino Affair’, the first single, is described as being a summer groove with all the basic old school Vegas elements.
It incorporates classic house beats, piano and cause you to envision a sunset while holding a glass of champagne.
‘Take me to your heart’, the second side, is more of a spiritual journey into the heart, described by D’Mond as being more “Café del Mar style.”
Asked why they had decided to venture down this particular track, said D’mond, “as I know it, there are only two music labels in Macau and none are dedicated to electronic music.
“So when we looked at Macau we thought it was a good idea to start a music label designated for the market of electronic music.
“It all started in a very natural way,” he adds.
That means the entire process, from conception to creation, took only about six months.
“Things happened because both of us were DJs for a long time and this was one of our goals in our careers and we thought it was the moment, the perfect timing,” says Bubble.
D’mond adds that the pair are looking forward to working with local talent as well as more established people in the business.
“Since it’s electronic music, it’s not really about bands or groups, it’s much more about solo productions,” he adds.
And while the basis of the production may be electronic, it doesn’t rule out live musicians, such as their collaboration with Fado singer Gisela Joao.
“The work we did with the Fado singer, where she’s singing with traditional Portuguese lyrics, we melt her way of singing with our vibe,” says D’mond.
Bubble adds that it’s difficult at this stage to say exactly what they want out of the label, “because we are starting” but admits they want plenty of experiences, expecting some to be bad, but hoping many will be good.
And don’t expect their music to be localised. It may be produced in Macau but it’s definitely going global.
“We are also not focussed only on Macau,” says D’mond.
“We asked some people in England as well, to collaborate with us.
“It’s not a CD you can only buy in Macau [you can find it on websites globally].
“You can say it’s the first electronic music label of Macau but we are not selling only for Macau,” he adds.
Asked about their creative process, Bubble replies that it depends on several things.
“Some tracks can be three weeks and nothing happens. Other tracks’ ideas can appear in one or two nights and we can make something happen and work on that.”
For the two latest releases, summer was the foremost theme on their minds, “to see how we see the summer in music,” according to Bubble.
“And the funny thing is, these two songs we took us very little time.
“In one or two nights we got the idea, then we did the orchestral parts and then mastering.
“In one or two weeks the whole track was finished. For these we thought ‘wow! we have something,’” says D’mond.
But don’t ask about the release of an album just yet. It’s still in the process of being created.
“We are looking forward to releasing a proper album by the end of the year,” says D’mond.
As Bubble adds, this will be a re-mix album, where they “aren’t only doing [their] own music but also re-mixing music from other people so it will be a combination of both.”
As he admits, “we’d just like to go with the flow because we don’t have the pressures of a major label, because we’re our own label.”
The music label will also release music from other people as well as the duo. D’mond cites Portuguese producer and DJ Rodiport as an example.
“He has nothing to do with us. We are only working with him to release his work. So collaboration is one thing and our work as producers is something else,” says D’mond.
Both D’mond and Bubble have been on the DJ’ing scene for several years.
For D’mond it was “very natural.”
Educated in Fine Arts, he remembers always working with bands. About twenty years ago, he recalls a time when his group wanted to have a party and as it happened, “I was the guy inn my group with the most records,” he recalls, but he adds that, professionally, he began in Lisbon clubs around 1999.
Bubble started even younger, playing in school parties at the age of fifteen.
“My father gave me a job in one of the auto clubs in Madeira Island where I’m from.
“Things went well and people liked it.
“Then I couldn’t see myself doing anything else,” he says, adding that he always worked with music, especially record shops.
Further sleuthing shows that Bubble was also the former resident DJ for Madeira’s biggest club, Vespa.
D’mond has his own claim to fame: He’s been featured in DJ magazine’s top 250 DJs [he was no. 177 in 2005 and no. 186 in 2006] and therefore only the 2nd Portuguese DJ to be featured in that magazine.
The two met in Madeira a few years ago when D’mond went there to play.
“It was pretty natural because he was already a reference in Madeira. We didn’t play together that time,” says D’mond, adding that at the end of 2006, Bubble was invited to come to Macau and it went from there.
“Both the communication and the ideas were mainly the same.
“[But] at the same time it’s very challenging because it’s not only yourself, not only your ideas, you have to work in a team. It’s very intuitive,” says D’mond.
“We don’t have to push anything.,” adds Bubble, suggesting with a laugh, that D’mond’s the architect and he’s the poet.
“We can have lots of ideas and he structures them,” he adds.
Asked why they decided on Macau as the headquarters of their operation, Bubble responds with the fact that he’s here now, so this is the most appropriate place.
Plus, “it’s nice to be the first,” adds D’mond.
Bubble chimes in with “Dmond in Portugal, was one of the first making electronic music. Me in Madeira, I was one of the first.
“So it’s nice to continue to be the first.”
And neither are too concerned about people’s expectations or criticisms.
“We don’t have any pretensions of educating people [on the music]. People either like it or they don’t like it,” says D’mond.
So what would be the greatest goal to attain for this duo, apart from perhaps working with live classical music and the electronic form?
“I think the biggest thing for us DJs is playing in a club with thousands of people and seeing a smile on people’s faces when we play our music.
“That is our goal. If we can touch people’s sensations,” Bubble.
For D’mond, it’s a little simpler.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s thousands of people or just a group of friends.
“If we feel people are enjoying and they are smiling, I think that’s the most important thing.”

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