Lazyellow aka Kevin P’ng is one of the UK’s premier British Chinese DJs. He has had an incredible 2011 playing at gigs all over Britain. After the summer break and with the party season starting up again, Nee Hao magazine talks to the man behind the decks to find out the latest in the Brit-Chinese clubbing scene.
How is life at the moment? What have you been up to recently?
Hey Nee Hao, life is good, I’ve been rebuilding! I decided to take a break from DJing for a bit and rebuild my DJ/music setup from scratch basically – I did do the odd gig here and there to try out some new ideas and technology but for the most part I’ve been rebuilding and now I am ready to unleash the new and improved Lazyellow to the world!
Do you get girls asking you out because you are a DJ?
Haha. Quite simply, no. Firstly, the myth that DJs get girls is silly. Sure you do see girls around the DJ booth and there will be a few who will flash their phone in your face but contrary to the myth, it’s quite simple. Girls party harder than boys. They will be the first on the dance floor and the first to let their hair down, so they will generally be the ones around the booth/at the front and they know what they want. When a girl flashes her phone in the DJ’s face it’s not her number on the screen, it’s a HUGE list of songs she and her crew want played and they want those songs NOW! I try to squeeze these requests in but sometimes, some songs are a bit..yeh..but it’s about balance. DJing is making people dance by playing what they want balanced with what you want. You can’t ignore the crowd but you also don’t want to become a jukebox.
What style are you playing at the moment?
In terms of music, I don’t like to pigeon hole myself, with the help of some new found technology – along with my adventures into the realm of production – I’ve begun to carve out a more refined ‘Lazyellow’ sound. DJing has developed so much in recent years and the boundaries between making music and playing music is so blurred; genres are also fading. The Lazyellow sound is iPod music thrown into a blender. I like to take songs people know and like but not necessarily hear in clubs, then I bash it with some other stuff and make people dance. It’s hard to explain..you really need to hear/see/taste it to understand.
Remind our readers what Phoenix Plus in Nottingham is again?
PhoenixPlus is a promotions team I founded with some friends in Nottingham a few years ago. It grew to be quite established and successful, at its peak we had an attendance of over 1400 people! After four years though, I felt it was time for Phoenix to take a break and I focused on Lazyellow, but over the summer some of the original team members approached me about reviving PhoenixPlus and I’m pleased to say the re-launch was a huge success, completely sold out! I’m no longer involved as much now but I do give the new team the odd piece of advice and some suggestions when asked but to be honest it’s all down to them and where they want to take it. It’s nice to see Phoenix up and running again and it will be interesting to see where they take it! Good luck guys!
You have headlined at many cities across the UK, do the crowds vary? What’s the ultimate party city in UK?
Each and every city has its own unique vibe, as with DJing in general you have to adjust the flavour and energy of your set to suit the crowd so to be honest I like the variety, there isn’t really a favourite as long as the crowd are willing to follow me on a musical journey into the early hours, I will gladly take them on an unforgettable ride!
What’s the most unusual request you have had whilst playing in a club?
The most unusual request. Ever. Spandau Ballet – Gold. I was DJing at this corporate function for some big city firm on a fancy boat and yeh..this guy wanted Spandau Ballet – Gold. To be honest, I like the song, it is a classic, but..it was just really random and I didn’t have it in my bag. He was so disappointed, I asked him if he wanted anything else, he said (and I quote) ‘no, it’s ok, I only like that song’.
How do you actually mash up a track?
Technical question! haha time to bore you. The initial stage is humming. Randomly when DJing or even just at home I’ll be humming a song and it will accidentally go into something else, this becomes the base. This is the idea. I then collect the pieces, so the different songs or parts of songs; sometimes I only want the drums of a certain song. I then throw the pieces into my DJ software (Traktor Scratch Pro) and I’ll try it out, it’s quite organic, and I play around with when things come in and out etc and it’s very sketchy. The next stage is to actually make it, for that I use a piece of software called Ableton Live, this is the main workstation I work from. Everything gets laid out and then on top of this I might add other layers like some production (I use another piece of software/hardware called Maschine for this) or maybe some effects and more live things which will be from my turntables and mixer. All this will combine into a mashup but the most important stage really is the polishing. The mastering and mixing is what completes the mashup and makes it more than just a mashup, it makes it into a song and for that, you just use your ears. It’s quite a complicated stage to be honest but you are basically arranging the various layers and sound within the sonic spectrum of the song…yeh…
What about equipment?
When I DJ I use a piece of software on my laptop called Traktor Scratch Pro, a lot of other DJs use a piece of software called Serato Scratch Live, you may have seen them with their laptops with two white circles on.. I used to use Scratch Live too, but earlier this year I decided to start again and move over to Traktor, I wanted to try something new and make myself different and allow myself to experiment with new ideas. It’s been painful and it’s taken a very long time. I used to have 5000 songs, I now have 1700. I cleared out a lot of crap basically and now my library is more efficient! Both of these software packages replace CDs/Vinyls, it’s actually quite clever, you still DJ using turntables or CD players as with the traditional mediums but in between the vinyl and the speakers which play to the crowd, the laptop inserts digital music files..so you can control them. In a nutshell, rather than carry 300 vinyls each with one song on, I carry two, and using them combined with my laptop I can play and control different songs, it’s amazing really. On top of all this I use a drum system/midi controller called Maschine which I’ve re- programmed myself to control effects and trigger samples etc, I like my tech and as I do with music I like to play around with it and yeh, it’s quite confusing to other DJs sometimes but as long as I know what everything does and people are dancing then that’s the most important!
What’s in the pipeline for the Lazyellow brand?
Ah..some interesting stuff hopefully, I don’t want to give too much away, but I’m planning to take my new sound and throw it in your face.. expect some interesting stuff on my Website/Twitter/Facebook soon.
Do you like Hot and Sour Soup?
Yes. Especially if it’s slightly spicy.
What do you do to relax, do you like going clubbing?
I like to just kick back on the sofa and watch TV, I love my series, preferably with some sort of beverage, ideally cold root beer and something to nibble on, nachos are good. I’m into CSI, House, Spooks and the Mentalist, I like the detective thinking stuff.
What is your favourite track at the moment?
Favourite track, ahhh, it’s so hard to choose and it’ll probably change by the time this goes out, but RIGHT NOW. It is the beginning of October 2011..and I’m feeling…well if I have to choose I’m feeling Cassie – Make You a Believer, it’s not actually a new track it’s been floating around for a while but now it’s getting a proper release, I’m loving the beat, it’s so funky! and Erick Morillo & Eddie Thoneick – Stronger (Nicky Romero Remix), it’s got such an amazing sound it just makes you want to move!!