Arts Interview Music Singapore

We Could Start A Fire: An Interview with DJ Duo BATE


Named by JUICE magazine as two of the Best New DJs of 2012, BATE have been making waves with their first single ONE I LOVE featuring Blake Rose and Radio 3000, slowly but surely becoming one of the hottest acts to follow as they make an increasing number of appearances at festivals around the region and playing alongside the biggest acts, from Calvin Harris to R3hab.

Says Yeoh Wai Hong, one half of the dynamic duo: “We were just clubbing friends at first, and had a hi bye kind of friendship. But somehow, we both joined the same DJ academy around the same time, got to know each other a little better and started our own private parties. Suddenly, we had a Zouk residency, and it all started to click into place from there.”

Says Ethan Curzon, the other half of BATE: “In this diverse industry, I always believe that the more DJs there are, the better. When we first started out, we were literally the youngest in the industry, and everyone suddenly had their eyes on us, and we decided we wanted to stay far from the drama. We were quite lucky in that the OG guys were taking care of us and guiding us along the way.”

Wai Hong adds: “You have to put yourself out there, and beyond the PR and marketing people helping you, it’s really about putting your best out there and showing people what you can do, and prove that you’re worth looking out for and following.”

While both members are still very much in their youth and work so closely as a team, they both have surprisingly disparate music influences, creating a very interesting dynamic. Says Ethan: “Something we don’t really tell a lot of people is we’d get really lost if we ever swapped USBs at a gig. We don’t share our songs, but somehow when the two of us work together, it just clicks.”

Ethan continues: “I grew up very differently from Wai Hong, and was raised on a diet of old school classics like the Bee Gees, Billy Joel and Beatles, so you could say I’m very old school. These days, I like things like Kygo, the stuff that’s kind of sad and happy, with some gospel influences. We introduce ourselves to each other’s music, and learn from each other. In our music, we’ve covered so many different ‘genres’, opening for everything from techno to hiphop, and to us, music is simply music.””

Says Wai Hong: “I grew up listening to a lot of rock and pop, from Taylor Swift to Justin Bieber to Ed Sheeran, and these days I’m really digging 88rising and Martin Garrix. We’re heavily influenced by DJs such as Zedd, and you can see how there are hints of Marshmello in our single ONE I LOVE. When we make something, we want to make sure that it will go big and do well, and remain a classic you can listen to even years later.”

On how they intend to remain relevant and ahead of the pack, Ethan says: “DJs and artists need to have the ear to tell what’s coming up next. We make time for music everyday, and if you listen, you can tell how techniques or influences are starting to trend or what certain DJs are starting to pick up on. We’re the kind of those people who like to really dig deep and take apart a song to see who wrote it, produced it and everyone who’s involved. From there, you really learn what or who makes up a song and their different influences. ”

“Right now though,” Wai Hong chimes in. “We’re focusing on building a strong team, not just in terms of music, but also our marketing. We want to focus on branding ourselves as being fun and accessible, and we’re embarking on projects that are just a little different. We just got signed to Capitol Records UK, and it helps put us on a platform so we can open up potential for collaborations between us and their artists, alongside some new releases we’re planning to do with Indonesia and the Philippines. We don’t just want to be another Chainsmokers, and these are the projects that’ll help us stand out and take things to the next level.”

Ethan concludes: “In the future, we hope to headline festivals, and right now, we’re already set for a couple of regional collaborations in Singapore, a remix with a British artist and some brands we’re working with to do some new tracks. For us, it was really all about answering the call, and we’re glad that our passion has driven us this far.”

For more information on BATE and to keep up with them, visit their Facebook here

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