6 DJs Shaking Up Kuala Lumpur’s Local Scene in 2024

The Malaysian capital might be less hyped than other Southeast Asian metropolises when it comes it electronic music, but it’s quickly catching up

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5:34 PM HKT, Fri April 19, 2024 2 mins read

Kuala Lumpur (KL), the capital city of Malaysia, has always had a steady pool of DJs, selectors, curators — whatever you choose to call them. Sure, the electronic music scene isn’t as mature compared to Singapore and Bangkok, or even Vietnam, but the emergence of a new wave of promoters and tastemakers is slowly but surely growing the thriving club culture here, inching it ever closer to the likes of its Southeast Asian peers. The big names have made it to the mainstream, spinning at venues massive enough to fit 1,000 club-goers, where confetti and even pyrotechnics get triggered every time they drop a beat. But beyond these clubs are smaller — quaint, even — spots where emerging DJs bring their taste to the decks, blasting tunes from familiar favorites to cuts so deep even Shazam can’t pick them up.


So, which KL DJs should you pay close attention to this year? We believe the names below should be on your radar not only for their distinctive sonic styles, but also because of their skills at merging tracks and allowing them to flow in almost perfect unison. While most on the list work the digital controllers, some play on wax. Save their Soundclouds for posterity!

Mia

Focused on sounds inspired by the UK’s underground scene, a Mia set is typically heavy on rhythm, breakbeats, and tempo switches as she confidently weaves between genres, from drum and bass to halftime. It’s frenetic and relentless but listen closely and you’ll pick out a sense of cohesion as tracks form into each other without breaking flow. When not playing solo, Mia is part of the quartet, Breakboy Club, which, as the name suggests, is all about breaking beats and moves.


Notion A

Veteran DJ and producer Notion A first made his mark over a decade ago across the Causeway Bridge in Singapore, before relocating to KL. Now well into his thirties, he continues to bring his signature, Berghain-like, four-to-the-floor techno sets to dark rooms and listening bars in the city, guaranteeing ravers and casual listeners a heart-thumping experience. While hard techno is his calling card, Notion A also incorporates even more out-there subcultural sounds like dark ambient and industrial into his sets.


Kingston

A member of Public School KL DJ collective and resident at beloved music space fono, Kingston is a man of many tracks. By that, we mean you’ll never know what he’ll transmit to the speakers at any given set. Having started his journey showcasing mostly funk and disco, Kingston has since added afrobeat, hip hop, electro, jungle, and more to his repertoire. Vinyl purists can catch him putting the needle on wax live on selected dates; follow him on socials to stay updated!


Lionel Rizki

A Renaissance man, Lionel Rizki — or just Rizki, as he’s affectionately known — wore many different hats over the years before his come-up as a DJ. A roadie, a photographer, and a VJ before finding passion as a selector, Rizki’s wealth of knowledge in the local music business is reflected in his tracklists: diverse, nuanced, yet incredibly accessible to everyone. A self-proclaimed Japanophile, he delights listeners with warm and funky Shibuya-kei tracks and deep city pop cuts. Paying homage to his heritage, Rizki also digs deep into the archives of Indonesian disco and boogie, exposing listeners to the rich music lineage of the island country.


rEmPit g0dDe$$

A year ago, Victoria Yam, commonly known by the moniker rEmPit g0dDe$$, attained the holy grail for DJs: her very own Boiler Room session, live from Maho Rasop Festival in Bangkok. But this wasn’t rEmPit g0dDe$$’s first international rodeo; she’s played at buzzy Taipei club Final, The Alex Blake Charlie Sessions Festival in Singapore, Pesta Pora Festival in Jakarta, and Orbitware in Bali. What has made rEmPit goodDe$$ such a sought-after booking is her style — or lack thereof, in the best way possible. Her mixes are multi-faceted and unpredictable; one can be industrial and cinematic, the next rhythmic and percussion-heavy. You’ll never really know what to expect from her — and that only fuels the anticipation.

Roshan Menon

The founder of KL-based music imprint Saturday Selects, a name synonymous with the city’s underground electronic music scene, Roshan Menon is always on the clock; juggling between nurturing budding DJs and promoting shows locally and regionally. Despite overlapping responsibilities, Roshan leaves the dance floor begging for more with genre-bending mixes of house, R&B, jazz, and soul, night in, night out. Over the years, Roshan has shared the stage with names like Yung Singh, Benji B, and La Mamie’s.



Banner image by Haedi Yue.

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