Thanks to music streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, we now have access to more music than we could ever consume at any time of the day from anywhere we’d like.
With more music becoming so accessible at our fingertips, we will admit that sometimes it’s hard to keep up with what’s new in the music scene.
Yet, one such artist that has not gone under our radar is Dizkopolis, who recently made their comeback to the local music scene with “Work It Out”, their latest single featuring fellow Malaysian act, Froya.
Composed of Ahmad Taufiq & Adi Ridhwan, Dizkopolis was formed back in 2010 and got their first break in 2012, when they emerged as the winner of Astro Hitz – The Music Video Grant with their first original single “Class of ’91”.
The music production & DJ duo continued making remixes for fellow Malaysian acts in the purpose of discovering their signature sound – taking major influences from a plethora of music (Disco, Funk, Jazz, Neo-Soul, House, Techno, Rock & Roll).
After almost a four-year hiatus from music, the duo returned in 2017 by competing in the “Remix Competition: Hollywood by Pat Lok”, a global remix competition held by French electronic music record label and fashion label Kitsuné.
With over 180 entries submitted worldwide, Dizkopolis emerged as the winner of the competition and the remix was released digitally on Kitsuné Musique in the compilation “Hold On Let Go (Remixes)” alongside international acts Pat Lok, JNTHN STEIN, DIZKOPOLIS BIOGRAPHY Crackazat, Potatohead People, Fabich and more.
Re-contextualising the golden age of house music, it is clear that the duo is at the forefront of the latest French Touch wave in Malaysia.
After their electrifying set at Good Vibes Festival 2019 last week, we sat down with the duo to talk about their music, the French touch wave in Malaysia, and their upcoming plans.
First of all, congratulations on the launch of your debut single with Froya on Kitsune Musique! ‘Work It Out’ is such a great song! How did the collaboration come about?
Taufiq: Basically, it all started 4 of 5 years ago when we first discovered Froya from her first album “Panic Bird”. We really like her voice and her songwriting in the song “Uncomprehended Child” so we decided to approach her and sent her our instrumental. She liked it, so that’s basically how our collaboration started.
Adi: I can tell you that there were a lot of different versions of the song but it was only after 4 years that we finalised the product and we were satisfied with the outcome. There were maybe 10 different mixes of it before we finalised on this one.
Taufiq: The best part is that after we released the song, Kitsune approached us. That’s huge for us.
Adi: That was huge, we were basically crying after that.
What did you hope to achieve out of the collaboration?
Taufiq: At first, we didn’t expect anything because it was just us in the studio and there were a lot of self-doubts going on, especially on whether or not it would be good. But at the end of the day, we wanted to just show our craft.
Adi: So when Kitsune approached us, that’s like a stepping stone for us.
Any plans on collaborating with anyone next?
Adi: We are planning to collaborate with more international artists because, in a way, our music is more acceptable overseas. When we look at our stats on Spotify or Soundcloud, our listeners are basically not from Malaysia; a majority of them are from Korea and France.
Taufiq: But of course, we would still like to collaborate with local artists, especially Yuna.
Now, let’s go back to your musical roots. How did both of you discover the music that you’re doing right now?
Adi: We got hooked when we listened to the first album of Justice, Cross and Daft Punk. You can tell that our music is heavily influenced by them. It’s the French touch sound that really got to us.
You’ve also mentioned that Kitsune plays a big role in your musical influences. Tell us a little more about that.
Adi: We have been looking up to this label for many years, even before we even started Dizkopolis. So to be a part of that label, it’s just a huge achievement for us.
With over 180 entries submitted worldwide, Dizkopolis was the winner of the Remix Competition for Pat Lok’s “Hollywood”. How did you feel?
Adi: We were quite surprised that we won too because like you said, there were over 180 entries submitted for this competition. So to be chosen as the winner, we were quite shocked.
Being in the scene for a while, and you’ve seen other scenes in other cities, how is Malaysia’s French Touch scene comparable?
Adi: It’s still niche over here in Malaysia because when you go to Korea or other countries, they are more receptive towards this kind of music.
Taufiq: Even in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, they have their own French Touch movement.
What is the biggest challenge in introducing the French Touch scene to the crowd in Malaysia?
Adi: Because we are the only ones who are pushing this kind of genre, to be honest.
Taufiq: I think it’s because of the timing as well because back then, kids listen to Justice, Phoenix and Daft Punk. But right now, it’s the new millennials and it’s a bit hard for us to push this kind of music.
What have you found inspiring from other scenes in other cities and hope to introduce to the crowd here?
Adi: Basically in Paris, when you go to their cafes, they will play this kind of music. So people are naturally more exposed to this kind of music. So in Malaysia, perhaps they should put music that is quite similar to ours as well?
That said, it seems like things are working out so well for both of you and I see that there’s even a new merch line coming out soon! What is the design inspiration behind these merchandises?
Taufiq: It’s a funny story because we got approached by a fan who is a designer. He emailed us and he gave all the blueprints and said like, “Hey, I hope you guys like this because I designed it for you guys for Good Vibes Festival.” I’m like, “Wow, this is dope!” But to answer your question, we can’t really tell you what was the design inspiration behind these merchandises because he was the one who made it.
With the launch of the new merch line, any plans to do a tour in other parts of the world? Say Singapore?
Adi: Right now, we are focusing more on production and probably after that, we will focus more on shows.
Lastly, what’s next for Dizkopolis?
Adi: We are going to come up with new sounds that are a bit more dark and distorted, which is what we wanted to do in the very beginning. But then we decided to start out with something a bit more pop-ish, friendly. Now, I think it’s almost time for us to go back to what we really wanted to do.