About three years ago, Myanmar fell in love with the thump thump of electronic dance music (EDM). In the first of a new series exploring the country’s music scenes, Suzin Lynn interviews one of Myanmar’s most prominent EDM DJs. Read the full feature in the May edition of MYANMORE Magazine on Issuu.
From village fun fairs to huge stages, 27-year-old DJ Right D BeatZ has soared in the Myanmar EDM scene. First he fell for hip-hop—rappers such as Dr. Dre and Lil’ John—and then began creating his own songs and beats. Born and raised in Yangon’s Botahtaung Township, BeatZ’s move to the decks just after he finished high school “gave me more opportunities to be in front of a crowd,” he said.
But DJing in Myanmar is not all fame and glamor. BeatZ spends his free time trawling YouTube for artists and lessons, just like he’s been doing since he was a teenager, when he was still known as Aung Myo Hein. On the playlist right now are EDM artists W&W and Hardwell along with piano and orchestral beats, and covers by Croatian-Slovenian cellist duo 2Cellos.
Local artists have more access to quality instruments and equipment than before, which is a “huge benefit,” he explains, glancing at his slick sound system and keyboard. One drawback of the local scene though is copyright issues.
“There really should be copyright laws in this country, so that songs, and most importantly, someone’s creativity and hard work, doesn’t get taken for granted,” he said. “Deadlines…clients…I don’t have a lot of personal time, so the creative part is very hard to maintain. I don’t want to just think about money, so having that kind of time on my own is important.”
Some people encouraged BeatZ to focus on more conventional jobs, plus, growing up in Myanmar, he also had to contend with bad Internet connection, but despite having no industry contacts he worked his way up. His oeuvre includes collaborations with Sai Sai Kham Leng, He’ Lay, J Me, G-Fatt, and other popular Myanmar musicians. His studio has become a creative hub, where he jams with other artists. “I enjoy bouncing ideas off others, it is definitely a great way to gain inspiration,” he added.
Reflecting on the new generation’s embrace of EDM, he said, “The music I create is not deemed traditional, but at the same time it’s not really rebelling against anything. I’ve heard people playing EDM during traditional ceremonies. It’s endearing really.”
Any budding EDM producers and DJs out there should believe in themselves and practice hard, he advised. “Most importantly, keep going and don’t ever give up.”