Interviewed by DJ ND
DJ ND: Fong Fong, everyone on the DJ scene knows you. There’s one thing we are curious about: where does your artist name come from?
- It comes from a Korean movie directed by Jackie Chan. It's about a little girl called Fong Fong. At some point in the movie, she was facing a difficult choice: continuing practicing a competition in martial arts, which was her passion, or taking a conventional job. I guess you know what she has chosen. There are some similarities with my own journey. I participated in a lot of competitions. I went 2nd a couple of times before winning major competitions. 2012 was a turn for me, when I won the DMC online battle.
DJ ND: You have your own style: technical, musical and original. Also, there’s a touch of humor in every single performance. Is that important for you? Do you see it as a differentiator?
Maybe! It’s just a part of my personality. Even at school back in the days, I was the entertainer of the class. That’s just the way I am. If I can put a smile on people’s face, than my job is done. I remember, when I started djing, some aspects of the game seemed way too serious for me. Everybody is so focused, in competition mode... I’m not afraid to wear costumes. I did it a couple of times with Angelo, and I even did a live appearance on stage during Fly & Netik's performance. Entertainment is important in my eyes.
DJ ND: Besides your technical skills, you always take care of your image. Your videos are always very professional. That's the impression people get. Where do your video skills come from?
- Well, I used to organize battles between 2005 and 2015. For the first editions, we needed a kind of "video recap" of the event. I knew nobody back than who was able to do that for me. So I gave it a try myself. Bit by bit, after watching tutorials, I became better and I bought some gear to step up my game.
DJ ND: OK, so the marketing side of the job is important. Isn’t that unusual for a "turntablist"? Most of the time producers and "party DJs" spend more time on these kind of topics.
- First of all, I don’t really like the word “turntablist”. Not the word itself, but the perception that people have of it. Lots of promoters & booking agencies are afraid of that word. They don’t see us as musicians, but as scratch nerds destroying the vibe in a party or a festival by adding to much tricks in their sets. I prefer to be seen as a technical DJ, who uses his skills to make music. That’s why I barely juggle or backcue at parties. People don’t understand it. Like everyone else, I've had some bad experiences in the past, but I've learned my lessons.
DJ ND: You’re also working a lot for brands. Is it important for you to be implicated on product development? Making the trends?
- I always try to deliver original and clean work. I respect the image of the brand, and I’m thankful that the companies are booking me as a flagship to reprensent them. I like to share my feedback with brands to enhance the customer experience of the DJs. Helping the whole culture moving forward is crucial. It’s my contribution to the community.
DJ ND: How would you describe the experience of being a world Champ? Was it a real door opener or was it just another commercial asset to develop your game?
- It opens doors and gives visibility - that’s a fact. You get more followers and a kind of recognition in the game. But it’s not that it changed my life from one day to another. The fame is not comparable to what it was in the late 90'ies. Champs were legends back then. The game changed a bit as other competitions with more commercial power emerged. But fame has never been my goal. I started djing when I was 22 years old. I’ve been influenced by the hip hop culture, the chorus with the scratched sentences. I was attracted by the world of vinyl and turntables. But it took me a few years to be able to afford my first set up.
DJ ND: A lot of young DJs are joining the game. In our last interview with DJ Skills he emphasized, that often these youngsters are relatives of former turntablists, their sons, nephews. What do you think about the new generation? Is turntablism a hype or is it just the legacy of the past two decades?
- What I know, is that the youth are the future. They decide where the culture will be tomorrow. We don’t make the trends anymore, we need to follow these young guys now. There are so many young talented DJs: K-Swizz, Rena and many more. They are so good and they will be even better when they will reach their highest level. It’s a good thing for our art. It’s an asset to have them on board.
DJ ND: You are giving scratch lessons too. How do you proceed?
- I give online lessons and I’m also teaching in a DJ school in Lyon in France. I’m giving scratching and beat-juggling lessons to the students for 3-4 weeks a year. The most important thing I try to share is passion. Being passionate about a goal or dream and working hard are the only secrets to reaching the objective. So far, only few DJs really have a passion for the technical aspects of djing. Other DJs are more interested in partying and producing.
DJ ND: What do you prefer?
• Scratching or beatjuggling? - Scratching
• Parties or festivals? - Both
• Turntablism or producing? - Nowadays, I would say production. But scratching stays my first love.
• Q.Bert or D-Styles? - Q.Bert for the person he is.
• Unkut or Craze? - Craze, he is the big boss. Unkut is the best technician ever to me, even though I don’t always feel his music taste.
DJ ND: Tell us about your projects.
- I have this project with Vacarm. We are a team of three DJs: MartOne, Thomas and myself, who are working on an album. We complete each other in an interesting way. We’re currently dealing with majors to launch our project. It has been a journey, but I believe in the project. More news soon, keep an eye on your SoMe.