DJ KC talks to Yuko Maskay about his passion for music, love of teaching and how he hopes to pioneer the art of DJing in Myanmar.
Keiran Christopher Way, also known as DJ KC or his Burmese name, Nay Myo, is a Burmese-Australian DJ who in April of this year opened the United Mixing DJ School, a non-profit in Yangon that donates all its profits to the NLD National Health Network.
Born in Yangon in 1969 to a Burmese father and a partly Burmese mother, he spent most of his childhood in Australia and returned to Myanmar in 2007 when his family were able to visit the country again (after 30 years). At 47, with 20-plus years of experience under his belt, DJ KC is a 3-time winner of the Australian National DMC DJ Competition and placed 5th in the World DMC DJ Championships in 1989.
What was your upbringing like in Australia?
We had a very strict upbringing with my father being a doctor and grandmother being a school head teacher. I was a bit of a black sheep of the family and was obsessed with the new hip-hop culture as it reached Australian shores in the late 70s..
What inspired you to start your DJ school?
The art and extreme style of DJing was relatively new at the time I started and whenever I did showcases, people would ask me to teach them. That’s when I approached DMC Australia to form a school together, as I did not have much of a budget at the time. I trained many students at the DMC Shop (part of DMC Australia) and invited many top renowned DJs to teach with me. After a couple years of relying on DMC Shop to run the school, I finally moved on and formed United DJ Mixing.
How is your school run?
We teach 10 students per semester but have over 1,000 applicants so we are now interviewing people and finding the passionate and creative ones to join our school. The group classes and lectures are held twice a week and one-on-one training/ practice times with our equipment for the rest of the week. Courses runs for 6 weeks and covers everything you need to know about DJing. We teach total beginners and within 6 weeks they are ready to work in any clubs or parties. Cost at the moment is $390 but will vary as we are still trying to gauge the market so keep an eye on our Facebook page or web site for this info. The school is a non-profit organisation and all profits are donated to NLD National Health Network.
What makes your school unique?
The school opened in Myanmar in April 2015. We are the only school in the world with numerous World DMC DJ champions and pioneering DJs that started the whole DJ culture who teach at the school. The school is known around the world as the most innovative as we constantly evolve, always creating new teaching methods and invite many famous and technically skilled DJs to teach our students. Our past students are currently working all over Europe, US, Asia and some have also won their National DMC DJ Championships.
I heard that your grandmother was influential in your music career?
My grandmother “Winnie” (R.I.P) was an amazing women. She was very multi-talented, very strong, disciplined and always got things done. She was a famous Burmese singer and actress before migrating to Australia. When we reunited in Australia we moved in together in a large house in Perth. Being a singer, she had a huge record collection and numerous reel to reel players and tapes. So we always had music playing at home 24/7 and every time she would have a party or family gathering, music was always a big part of it. I just remember seeing how happy everyone was because of the music and I naturally developed my own passion for it. I still have some of her record collection and will treasure it for life.
Can you tell me about DMC DJ Competition?
After the course, all students are required to perform in a night club, so I will pick the best performer and
most talented out of the batch to invite to Australia not only to play gigs there but to train for the DMC Championships. I think this time next year we will have our first Burmese DMC DJ Champion at the World Championships in London. We may even have the DMC Comp this year depending on how quickly our students can learn.
United DJ Mixing School is located at Level 2, 30 Yawmingyi St at Dagon Township in Yangon. More information here: www.facebook.com/djschoolmyanmar.