Interview with the legendary DJ – DSD

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David Nguyen better known as his stage name DSD is one of the UK’s most popular DJs on the British Chinese and East Asian music scene. His name is ubiquitous at the Chinese and Asian parties held nationwide.

Nee Hao Magazine’s Xiao Xiao manages to catch up with DSD for 5 minutes as he is busy preparing for the upcoming party season for when students come back, whilst holding his residency at the Rise Superclub in London’s West End.

Where did you get your name from?

I used to call myself DJ SMILEY. That was my nickname because all I did was smile. Then when I got my first resident spot as a warm up DJ at planet Hollywood back in 2003, I met an MC who told me there was already an established DJ called that name. So I changed it immediately to DSD which stands for DJ SMILEY D.

When did you start DJing and where did it all begin?

I started in 1998 for a friend’s birthday party at Millwall football stadium’s recreation club. I had 2 CD Walkmans and a basic mixer. I didn’t know how to beat match at the time. I had a massive CD collection and used to do mixtapes (cassettes) for mates. So when it came to the birthday party I offered to provide help with the music. 

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What was the first gig you played at?

My first gig was at my own event in 1999 at the Amersham Arms in New Cross. I was teaching myself how to beat match but didn’t know about timing or when to mix in the next song. Before I got my first proper gig I was doing my own private parties for close friends in New Cross, Peckham and Old Kent Road in London.

What is the best party you have played at?

I can’t pin point an exact event but my most memorable was DJing for Shortie Entertainment in the early 2000s for their CNY event at London Bridge. It was the first time I played in front one thousand people. I was playing vinyls and my hand was shaking so much trying to put the needle on the record. Miss those days.

What was the first record you bought?

My first record I bought was Ice Ice Baby on 7″. I was 11 and bought it at a secondhand car boot sale in Thamesmead for £1.50. 

What is the tune of the moment for you?

There are so many tunes of the moment! Because I DJ so much there are so many good tunes that will get the crowd going wild. For the urban crowd it would be Chris brown – Loyal or DJ Snake – Turn down 4 What. My favourite house tune right now is Gecko from the deep house genre

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How do you chill out when you’re not DJing?

When I’m not partying, I like to chill mostly with my girlfriend Jasmine. I also always make time once a week with my childhood mates. We meet up and eat junk food and then play Streetfighter or Mario Kart.

Where are you based?

I am based in South East London. All my DJ residencies are in central London.

What do you think of CDJs V Decks?

Vinyl is good for keeping that ‘oldskool’ feel. If a club has Technics decks then I will bring my Serato vinyls. But most of the gigs, I just end up using CDJs. There’s nothing wrong with using CDjs. They are reliable and they don’t skip when some mad man starts jumping near the decks. What’s really important is how you mix your songs and track selection.

What advice would you give to upcoming British Chinese/Asian DJs?

My advice is to practice your craft. Let your friends listen to your mixes and give you truthful advice. Listen to other DJ mixes to get ideas on how to create your own. Once you have mastered your craft, market & brand yourself. Starting from the bottom, you should be willing to play for free just to get your name out there. I’ve done so many free gigs in my time. Once you become established make sure you are able to cater for all sorts of crowds so your knowledge of music should be vast.

My DJ friend Dizzy calls me iTunes as I can sometimes list so many songs from various genres during a gig.

How would you describe the parties you play at?

I play at so many different events they’re all a different experience. But what I try to do is create a party atmosphere for everyone. Sometimes I can do an OLDSKOOL style set playing urban anthems with slow Jams at the end of the night, I can do a commercial set or I can do an arena set for the ravers. I hope that I can create an impact on the people that I play for so that they remember me.

Tell us a little more about yourself

I’m a cancer so deep down I’m a shy person and don’t really converse that much. But when I’m DJing I’m different. I like to host on the mic and encourage people to get up and dance. I’m a kind hearted guy and like to go out of the way sometimes to help close friends. I love my girlfriend to bits and she has been really supportive in what I do. I also support her in her hobbies too. Check out her YouTube channel (miss_yanyan) and you will see me in it. If anyone sees me in the club, come say hello, I don’t bite.

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