Interview with Trouble Makerz – June 2011 NEH Magazine

To follow is the interview I did with local artists Trouble Makerz as part of the 2011 World DJ Festival review in the June “The Arts Issue” of NEH Magazine.

You can see Trouble Makerz this weekend in Busan as well as at the Boryeong Mud Festival in July.

Speaking to performers from the 2011 World DJ Festival– as well as electronic music aficionados in Korea– the primary trend everyone is excited about is the blending of sounds and genres. Quite a few acts this year lived up to that hype, probably none more so than Korea’s own Trouble Makerz.

In 2010, DJ Fenner and Yann Cavaille took the World DJ Festival stage as the FrenchKnickerz. Wanting to shake things up, they strategically recruited two friends to contribute the perfect vocal support to their dirty mix of dubstep and drum and bass. Kholo Matsafu a.k.a. Kala MC’s beautiful singing and powerful stage presence alongside Myvanwy Birds’ opera-trained voice provided impeccable opposition to the ultra-low dirty frequencies of FrenchKnickerz, who claim this performance to be Korea’s first taste of dubstep at an outdoor festival.

In the months leading up to this year’s festival, DJ Fenner was at it once again. The goal this time? More people, more energy and an immense mix of the latest electronic sounds. The result is an amalgamation of hip hop, drum and bass, electro and dubstep. Everything is performed live and on the spot– including the mixing, drumming, rapping, beatboxing, scratching and singing– resulting in chemistry and energy on stage that is hard to match.

DJ Fenner lends ten years as a successful DJ and producer in the UK and Korea to the team by selecting the beats and creating the mix with the aid of Yann. French born DJ Yann Cavaille, also renowned for his beatboxing abilities, brings experience rocking dance floors in France and Korea. Jake Pains a.k.a. Agonist, applies his gritty UK hip hop background to represent this collective as a vocalist and hype man. Kala’s reputation as a premier drum and bass vocalist comes to Korea via South Africa. Thibault Marcillat a.k.a. Bones, has a background in heavy metal drumming and a track record of success in Japan.

I sat down with four of the five Trouble Makerz after the World DJ Festival at a coffee shop in Hongdae. Here’s what they had to say:

NEH
World DJ Festival: What did you think?

Kala MC
It was mad fun, like skinny-dipping with your mates in a deserted pool in the middle of somewhere green and beautiful.

Jake Pains
As far as festivals go, it was a really nice one. Cheap food, cheap alcohol. Friendly people, as Korea is. Good crowds. Beautiful sunny days.

Yann Cavaille
It was good music throughout. It was like hard and slow, hard and slow. And when it got to 1:00am it was no problem, it was just hard.

Jake Pains
There was a lot of good stuff in the daytime as well. In a festival, you kind of think the atmosphere is going to be OK during the daytime? But Shut Da Mouth, they played in the daytime. The sun was still shining.

NEH
What do you think about performing indoors versus performing outdoors?

Jake Pains
Indoors, you’ve got an intimacy there. You can be playing at Answer [popular club in Gangnam], in front of 2000 people, and still have that intimacy. From a small place to a big place, everyone is just focussed on you basically. Outdoors is a different atmosphere, I love both.

DJ Fenner
I’d say it depends more on the size of the crowd. If you’re outdoors and have 1,000 people, or indoors and you’ve got 1,000 people, you’re going to buzz. Outdoors, the only thing that matters is if it rains or if the weather is shit.

Yann Cavaille
The sound needs to be tweaked perfectly for it to sound good outdoors. Indoors is easy.

Jake Pains
You have to hold their attention more at a festival, because there are many other bands playing. So you have to really push yourself, and be like ‘Nope, you’re not going anywhere else, you’re staying here for our whole set.’ In a club, they’ve got nowhere else to go.

Kala MC
Clubs get a bit stuffy with things like dress code and entrance fees. But sometimes the proximity makes for a more intimate atmosphere you can pulse in and out of the crowd. Outdoors is a little more intimidating at times, as you can see the sods who are walking off– leaves one feeling rather shoddy.

NEH
Let’s talk about music in Korea, what do you guys see happening?

Kala MC
I guess the “underground” scene is blowing up right now. People are opening up more aspects of electronic music than house or trance. It’s cool to see the sub-cultures that are clearly defined back home starting to filter through in Korea.

Yann Cavaille
Club culture is booming, since like four months, it’s gotten big. You see a lot of new Koreans coming to clubs. That Itaewon tune [“Itaewon Freedom” by J.Y. Park] brought a lot of new people to Itaewon. The crowds are different. A year ago, you had the chance to play to a half-empty club. Now, there’s a lot more clubs packed at the same time. Before you had two clubs packed, now you have six.

Jake Pains
People like J-Path have been doing drum and bass for a long time, but take for example in Cocoon, which is a nice cross section of popular club music, they are playing drum and bass and dubstep in there, and people are going hype for it. That type of music is coming in to the culture.

DJ Fenner
A lot of the party promoters that we work with are trying to move a bit toward flavors of drum and bass and dubstep, which is the way it has been in England for 2 years. It’s opening up a bit.

NEH
How can our readers keep up to date with Trouble Makerz?

DJ Fenner
facebook.com/troublemakerzlive

Kala MC
Read NEH Magazine.

Trouble Makerz are in the process of recording a few tracks for us to listen to, but to really get the full experience, you have to see them live. “Because it’s like a total live experience, it’s quite hard to capture that on a mix because obviously you thrive off the crowd and you do different stuff.” Jake says. “And there’s original tunes in there, DJ Fenner’s production, my hip hop tunes, so there’s original pieces in there. It’s difficult to show people the energy of the set unless they are there.”

You can catch the Trouble Makerz live at the Boryeong Mud Festival July 15th – 17th.

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on June 22, 2011.

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