With a streak of 6 smashing singles ranging from progressive house to trance, an award-winning national radio mixshow spanning 7 years, and their new record label, Malaysian DJ/producer duo Simon Lee & Alvin are the next up and coming DJ/production duo to watch. With their most recent success coming from their Beatport exclusive tune, "Slam It," Simon Lee & Alvin have been slowly picking up steam as we enter into a smashing summer full of festivals, sold out shows, and a global dance community ready to explode.
Having stayed consistently in the limelight since 2012 with their releases "Count The Stars," "Lights Loud," "Space Chase," "Unicode," and a remix of Tiësto ft. Kyler England "Take Me," the DJ/production duo continue their outstanding streak with their latest production "Slam It." Evolving through their past records, the duo switch things up with a powerful anthem designed for festivals. A driving bassline accompanied by heavy kicks and an uplifting trance melody deliver the firepower to ignite a 'hands in the air' moment just before a massive pandemonium at the drop.
However, the duo's most recent electro house anthem comes to us with penetrating synth lines and an uplifting electro beat perfect for that summer monster tune. "Racetime," as the duo entitled the track, brings out the smashing energy, dynamic range, and an overall incredible upbeat vibe.
DB: First, I wanted to thank you guys for taking the time to join us here on Daily-Beat.com today. With most of our audience new to your music, talk to us about being a successful DJ duo in Malaysia, and how you guys continue to make way here in North America?
Simon Lee: Hey guys, thanks for the opportunity! We're happy our music and mixes are being heard in the States and all across the world! I guess that's the great thing about dance music today, there's a lot of great records being exported from every corner of the globe, but the origin doesn't matter as the world is one big dancefloor and music (especially dance music) is a universal language. We're proud to be Malaysian and I think the world will be hearing more great producers coming from our country and this region in the near future.
Alvin: We started our journey back in the day with an online radio show which took off rather quickly. That landed us an opportunity to start an EDM show on a terrestrial radio station where we featured new releases, our mashups and our remixes and developed it until it became the awards winning show it is today. We were excited to sign our first single "Count The Stars" to the esteemed label Black Hole Recordings, and we've released several more dance tracks ever since. We’ve freshly formed our label Unicode Recordings and I believe this will help showcase our style of music to the world.
DB: After spotlighting your two most recent tunes, "Slam It" and "Racetime," was it next on the production bill? Are you both looking to maintain the hard-hitting electro vibe as we enter in the peak of summer?
A: There have been other tracks earlier this year too, namely "Lights Loud," "Space Chase," and "Unicode" and they all have a different sound to it. We are looking to release something exciting for the summer, perhaps a really solid vocal track - something we’ve been longing to venture into. But we need hammer down the vocal recording properly and find the right vocalist, songwriter, and lyrics. Challenging ourselves has always been key and we are proud of how our tracks have evolved with each and every release. We try not to make the same track twice and we want people to hear the quality and detail in all our releases.
SL: "Slam It" is the record that we were really eager to release. After many revisions we finished it late last year but released it only recently, so you can imagine our anticipation while waiting. As soon as we bounced the track we knew it was going to be a hot one! We sneaked out some promo copies for early DJ support and got some nice feedback from Tritonal, Luke Bond, MaRLo, and many more. "Racetime" is a peak time record that will fit into most energetic DJ sets. It may sound quite familiar but we built this track for our DJ sets. This one got plenty of thumbs up starting a week before its release. I love all the records we've put out to date and overwhelmed by the support and reactions from our current and new fans! Summer wise, I'm really looking forward to hearing lots of great vocal and hooky records this time of the year. I think most EDM artistes are going to release their best work this season, so it'll be interesting to see what new elements and sounds emerge to be popular. I have a feeling this year we will evolve past the standard hardstyle kicks and minimal drops.
DB: What has it been like opening up for artists such as Above & Beyond, Ummet Ozcan, and Gareth Emery? How have they influenced you in your maturing sound?
A: It’s a rather humbling experience opening for these legends. It's encouraging when they give us the thumbs up and personally tell us it’s a good set. Above & Beyond remains a huge inspiration to us and we've been avid listeners of their Trance Around The World and now Group Therapy radio show. Artistes like these remind us to keep our music unexpected - whether it's a unique beat or a really amazing drop, it's important to think outside the box and produce something unexpected that will shine through other releases but still fit into a DJ set.
SL: Opening sets are really about getting the crowd ready with the right vibe. I secretly find warm up sets exciting - it's when we get to dig deep and play the records we don't usually do. We pay a lot more attention to the texture of the tracks. If we do it right, then by the time we handover the controls to the headlining DJ, the crowd is all up for it. And so far it's been a great opportunity to open for these DJs. We're big fans of all the artistes we've opened for and it's always great to speak to them backstage. We really want the crowd, organiser, and the main act to be amp-ed up for the show. I know people spend a lot of time and money to be at these shows, so whether it's a warm up or main set we really try to deliver a good time to them.
DB: Talk to us a bit about Unicode Recordings? How have you both tried to define the labels sound, and how has the success been so far?
SL: The label is still in its infancy and for now we are using it as a platform for our music. We will still release music on other labels but there are some that we'd like to reserve for Unicode. We knew going into this that a great label doesn't get established overnight, and the label development is something we work on as much as possible, that includes connecting with other label owners and A&Rs to understand the business and processes. We've actually already received lotsa great demos, and privileged to receive a lot of exclusive material for our FM radio show. I wish we could get right into signing other artistes to the label, but we need to be 100% ready to promote them and we will do it as soon as we are confident we can give them the exposure they deserve. In this day and age where there are thousands of new releases going out each week and many available for free, its easy for a track to get drowned and overlooked in that pile. Running our own label means we can keep the exposure focused.
A: For a new label I'd say we are doing are pretty well, almost all of the releases to date have charted on Beatport Releases across a few genres. Having our own label gives us flexibility and creative control over our material, and we are now looking at licensing and distributing to further territories. Esteemed music sites like Daily Beat have been really helpful to promote the tracks so we really have to thank you guys!
DB: Once again, thanks for joining us here today! We'll end with a fun question we ask most of our interviewees. If you had to pick two DJs to be your parents, who would they be and why?
A: LOL trying really hard not to imagine my own parents as DJs but how awesome would that be! I’d say Nadia Ali because of her heavenly vocals and down to earth personality. We invited her to guesthost our radio show once and we were truly excited when she agreed. As for the other half, Giuseppe Ottaviani comes to mind simply because he is simply a brilliant producer/remixer and carries that great stage presence.
SL: Haha I love this question! I'm blessed to have the best parents in the world. I don't think great DJs are born, but developed through years of practise! But if I had to choose, I'd pick Ferry Corsten and JES. That way I'd be a production their really proud of! Class, style, DJ talent, and musical and songwriting genius all in one! I think they would make great parents and imagine being part of their daily lives and learning from the world's best!
Find out more about Simon Lee & Alvin at www.simonleeandalvin.com