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Making It In Music
From being a club DJ to owning two recording labels, DJ Fuzz has almost done it all in the music industry. He shares his success story with us.
We were introduced to DJ Fuzz when he broke into the Malaysian music scene with Mizz Nina, Altimet and Fiquetional as hip-hop outfit Teh Tarik Crew in 1999. Today, he has become one of the most exciting music producers around with two music labels, Mixology Music and Octave Records, under his belt. The DJ and music producer has even won a couple of awards from Anugerah Industri Muzik over the years.
Being a music entrepreneur has been Fuzz’s dream since the year 2000. He explains: “I have always wanted to have my own music business, but I realised that I need to understand it (the music business) before I get into it. At first I just wanted to build a DJ school as well as a training centre, but then it slowly evolved into a record company (Mixology Music), publishing company (Mixology Publishing) and now my second label (Octave Records).”
Of course it took him a few years to achieve what he has today. That was how he learned about the music business and its operations. DJ Fuzz took the opportunity to learn how radio stations worked when he started working for them as a mixshow DJ. He tells us, “My aim was to generate different streams of passive income from the music business. In 2012, as soon as the company got enough money from royalties and artist management, I stopped becoming the artist and just focused on these companies.”
Today he runs Mixology Music and just last year, he launched Octave Records. Mixology Music will focus on hip-hop, as well as dance or reggae, while Octave Records will comprise of Malay rock ballads, dangdut and nasyid music. “I didn’t want to have too many artists in one label and I think, having too many genres in one label will confuse people. Different marketing strategies have to be applied to different artist and genres.”
DJ Fuzz holds auditions and interviews with potential acts before he signs them – beyond appearances, he’s looking for how the act carries him or herself, their attitude and confidence as well. They need to possess a certain je ne sais quoi when they have millions of people looking up to them as a role model. Currently Mark Adam, Waris, Juzzthin, Lawa Nie Geng, Eleena Harris, Eyza Bahra and Zizi Kirana are signed under Mixology Music; then there are Viral, Farah Farhanah, Raqib, Jiwa, Aaron Abdul and two more new acts to be signed under Octave Records.
When asked about the hardest part about managing his own label, DJ Fuzz answers simply: “People.” But with that, he is always determined to learn more about the business. There’s no question that he is on a good ride especially with so many of his artists doing well on the music charts (some even expanding to acting) and at the forefront of local media.
Lucky for aspiring artists and music entrepreneurs, Fuzz is more than keen to share the knowledge he’s gained from years in the industry. He’s currently working on a book on music marketing and promotions for independent musicians called Saya Nak Jadi Artis Boleh Tak?, which is scheduled for release next year. Fuzz also tells us that he might be co-writing another book about the fundamental history of hip-hop music and DJs in Malaysia. It’s about time, really!
On a final note, Fuzz leaves us with his essential tips to success and longevity in the Malaysian music business:
- You have to be relevant. You have to be updated, but you still need to follow what the market wants. Keep up with technologies and trends. You produce what the consumers want to buy.
- Don’t force feed the listeners. I understand you want to educate but do it subtly.
- Longevity means persistency and consistency, so have a five to 10-year plan at least.
- Don’t focus on the big profits now, but keep investing and keep it rolling.
- Manage the accounts well. Don’t overspend. Take care of your suppliers, artists and staffs - pay them on time.
By Kevin Yeoh
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