DJ Kevin Shiu Mixing

Discover the Sonic Stories of Kevin Shiu

Priya Sen

It’s not hard to understand the electric vibe around Vancouver’s most sought-after DJ, who the crowd open their arms to. Kevin Shiu has been in the forefront of the city’s throbbing nightlife industry for a good while now, throwing off natural nonchalant deep Tech House in to the easy brilliance of driving Progressive, he is both moody and hypnotic with a charge reserved to truly work the floor with his unique story-telling.

In years past, his career has sparked up on a global scale, with greats of dance music such as John Digweed and Tiesto having been quoted mentioning Kevin as one of their favourite opening DJ’s, and he has played alongside almost every major DJ in the world.

This die-hard music connoisseur also boasts of a long-standing show at FRISKY where the man in question hosts Blue Monday once a month. On behalf of the news team, I knew I had to catch up with the unassuming powerhouse.

Say hello to Kevin Shiu –

Hey Kevin, thanks for taking time out to talk to us at the news desk. First things first, how does it feel to have such a long standing association with FRISKY, hosting your show Blue Monday?

I am grateful for the show on FRISKY, they have been pushing underground music for so long and everyone is so supportive.

It’s been more than a decade since you started out with us, any thoughts about the music you showcase, how you fashion your mixes etc?

I’ve been collecting music for the last 3 decades. When it comes to making the Blue Monday show, I always try to program my set through story-telling. I have a wide range in my taste of music, it’s always nice to start with something mellow, and then build up the energy and journey.

Kevin Shiu

A birdie tells me you are quite the sought after opening DJ for many renowned names touring Vancouver; does that give you a thrill?

Yes, in my early years, I did a lot of opening for some of the biggest names. It taught me a lot about how to be a good opener. Especially the opportunity to tour with Sasha & John Digweed both of whom I look up to.

How did you start out your music career, any early impressions or incident that may have made a mark on your young mind?

First of all, I would never consider this as my career. I have always been into music since I was a kid though. My father was a classical music enthusiast and I’d been exposed to a lot of it since I was young. When I was 19, I became a nightclub promoter and paid a lot of attention to what the DJs were playing. It was a natural progression to become a DJ.

Can you tell us about the early days when you held a residency at Focus and I hear you quite stamped the scene with your music and guest DJs back in the day to become a formidable figure in the night life scene?

It was the best underground club at that time and a lot of fun!

Is it safe to say that you prefer to play a more Techy in to Techno vibe, how would you describe your style?

I don’t really believe in labeling, I just like to play good music. It’s also about story-telling and building energy. But I prefer to play long sets as I can play a wider range.

Do you like the dance music scene and or clubs in the city, any thoughts on whether it’s musically fertile or do you feel it can do with improvements, if yes, what would they be?

The dance music scene is healthy at the moment. Lots of people getting into the music. Many good DJs come to the city, so people are used to hearing decent music.

Are you happy with world-wide dance music in general, is it all going in the right direction, your thoughts?

There’s a lot of good music being produced so I’m happy with it. However, there are producers touring as DJs. They are great producers but they are not good DJs. Good DJs practice a lot on the skills and collect music extensively.

If we peek in to your music bag which tracks would we definitely find currently?

All the music I play are very current, if you have a chance, take a look at my FRISKY set track list.

What is the music taste of the average club-going audience or where you gig?

I’ve been very lucky. My audience only expects me to push boundaries and play great music. As long it’s not about playing tracks that everyone else is playing, I usually get away by playing new sounds.

Are you a planner of sets or do you go by the fly, by checking the vibe or feel of the night in question?

Usually go by the fly. But for sure you have to feel the energy of the room. I try not to put myself in a club that doesn’t suit me.

Any hobbies or other pursuits when you are not DJing?

Snowboarding, exercise and movies.

What plans for this new year in terms of music and gigs, what’s keeping you busy?

Continuing to follow my passion and try to do my best.

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