Deejays speak as one to keep the music alive

The lights are out and the music has pretty much died since the Movement Control Order (MCO) came into effect on March 18.

One group that many may seem to have forgotten is those who used to keep restaurants, bars and clubs alive through music.

Efforts are now being made to gather deejays nationwide in a bid to convince the authorities to allow them to spin once again.

Most deejays are freelancers who are paid for every gig. For close to three months, they have not been receiving any wages, resorting to spinning from home while others have been forced to ditch their decks for pots and pans and deliver food.

Several deejays, including Jason Martin, Jay Subramaniam, Jason Martin, Victor Goh and TraxxFM’s G. Vimal, popularly known as Double D, organised a live Facebook session ‘DJs Jaga DJs – Where Do We Go From Here?’ last night to get views from the community on how to move forward.

Jay, had during the session, said it was important for deejays in Malaysia to come together and make their voices heard collectively.

“Right now no one can give a proper figure as to the number of deejays in the country. And if we were to meet the authorities or ministries, the first question they will ask us is the number of deejays and we can’t even give them a ball park figure,” Jay said.

He added the standard operating procedure would be the responsibility of the outlet and that deejays will have to observe these requirements.

To a question by Double D that live music will only encourage people to let their hair down and dance and that things may get out of hand, Jay said: “Entertainment is crucial and people need to adapt.”

There was also a call by Godwin Pereira, founder and CEO of Southeast Asian club brand Kyō, that club owners and deejays ought to start an association which is subscription-based to protect industry players.

Goh said it was important to stand united and not to be complacent, adding the industry needs to be better prepared if another lockdown is imposed.

After the show, Martin stressed that deejays can still operate even if dancing in clubs is still not allowed.

“In fact, some bars with deejays don’t have space for dancing. Perhaps the partying won’t be like what it used to be in the past but the music will not die. Patrons still need to be entertained,” said Martin, who has 30 years’ experience as a deejay and owns events company Sound Design.

There are also plans to get deejays to be more proactive by getting them to contribute to local radio stations.

Martin will appear on Bernama TV next week to highlight the plight of the industry.

“We hope someone from the government will hear us out,” he added.