Malaysian Representation: DJ Alam holding down the fort at Epizode Music Festival 2019

Courtesy of Alam Shah
Courtesy of Alam Shah

Techno, house, break-beat and general revelry lovers, the time has come upon us: The 2019 edition of Epizode Music Festival in Vietnam’s Phu Quoc island is now in full swing, with another still another week ahead filled set from Peggy Gou, Pan Pot, and Seth Troxler to name a scant few.

Last year’s fest was one for the books, where walking/wilting/wavering legendary DJ Ricardo Villalobos played sunrise sets to a few dozen lucky party-goers, with this year’s version bigger, longer, and with a lot more Wonderfruit-eque arty stuff to keep you busy. And yes, before you ask — Coconuts KL will bring you a full report after we’ve washed up back on home shores.

Alam Shah, one of KL’s most popular DJs, co-founder of record label Ohwrum, founder of sound studio DeciBel SoundLab, will be representing Malaysia at the festival, playing a late-night set to show off some of our city’s best sounds.

We sat down with him before he left to get our most pressing questions off our chest:

Hi Alam! Congrats on representing Malaysia at Epizode this year — what can we expect from your set?

Hi, Coconuts KL — thank you very much. Well, to be honest I will always try to keep my sets sounding fresh. Some people tell me they will never know what to expect from me, as I always seem to be versatile in every way. I guess I would define my sound to be anywhere across the techno and house scope.

After DJing in the scene for the last … 15 years? 20? how would you say KL has changed in terms of nightlife?

This coming year will be my 19th year actually. The KL scene has changed drastically — there aren’t as many clubbers that love this sound like they used to.

Everyone used to go out and support the nights as compared to now. Not saying there aren’t any supporters left, of course new punters would substitute the old timers — it’s just that support and commitment in the entertainment industry has somewhat changed over the last decade or so.

On the plus side, there are certainly more nights in the city with the growing number of new talents as well. Crowds are usually scattered over various venues, whereas back in the day, there were only like one to three venues where you would see everyone in one place. That being said, I do believe in time that things will slowly improve on the positive aspects.

How has your sound changed over the years?

My sound has definitely progressed over the years. I would say it’s a lot more varied. I like to program my sets with anything I could find that sounds distinct so to keep the flow interesting. It could be house or disco, or banging, as long as I keep the energy grooving and rolling throughout my sets.

As a seasoned nightlife veteran, what are you number one (legal) tips to making sure you last until the sunrise set?

Eat a nice balanced meal, lots of sleep, and most importantly — it’s the motivation that keeps you going.

Courtesy of Alam Shah
Courtesy of Alam Shah

Describe a perfect night out in KL.

No dramas, no issues. Just a room full of up-for-it crowds heaving the dance floor to an artist they like.

If you could resurrect one club event for one night, what would it be?

If I was to resurrect one club it would of course be Movement. Everything you heard about it was true. It was so ahead of its time. The lighting, the sound, the whole layout was something you would never expect in KL club culture.

Who are you looking forward to seeing at this year’s Epizode?

There are many quality acts at this year’s Epizode — it’s really an incredible lineup from Ricardo Villalobos, [ar:pia:r], Apollonia, Pan-Pot, wAFF, Nina Kraviz, Seth Troxler, and more.

Dream b2b DJ partner — GO!

I guess either Marco Carola or Ricardo Villalobos.

Ricardo is at Epizode! Maybe you’ll get lucky.

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