DJ diva to hit HongdaeWhen rumor had it that DJ Envy and his entourage from Tokyo were planning on coming to Seoul for their party next week, local drag queens got excited.
A dozen or so amateur drag queens in the capital, who work in the higher echelons of the business world by day, volunteered to put on a costume show for the famous DJ and his fashionable friends, all beautiful and over six feet tall.
“We got offers from Itaewon’s professional drag queens as well, so we’re still in the discussion phase,’” said On Hye-jung, who is coordinating “Diamante Love,” Envy’s party in Seoul, on Tuesday.
The party will take place at Club Cosmo in western Seoul’s Hongdae district, an area known for small clubs and organized parties.
Parties that promote DJs and their dance-music productions have gone mainstream in Seoul in recent years, yet parties involving the gay scene are still regarded as on the fringe, even prohibited in certain areas.
Ms. On said most Hongdae clubs were reluctant to hold gay parties. Hongdae club owners “think drag queens and gays belong to Itaewon,” she said.
Not DJ Envy. When DJ Envy, a resident DJ at The Ring at Air and Paradise Ball at Ageha in Tokyo, played his cool-house beat at a Hongdae club last November, the party was a hit. More than 700 clubbers jammed the floor, soaking up the DJ’s talent for music and style.
Accompanying him were two cross-dressers, decked out in conceptual art costumes and makeup. The sight of three beautiful drag queens in their finest getups was sheer entertainment, and they didn’t hesitate to offer photo ops to the many curiosity-seekers. This time, Envy will be accompanied by Maruyacco, a Japanese transgender drag queen, and a female entertainer, Alan, a Brazilian drag king. Both Maruyacco and Alan, who will be visiting Korea for the first time, will showcase their wardrobes for the party.
Envy’s musical career began in 1998, at the hip Tokyo club Passion, where he became Japan’s first drag queen DJ. He claims to have found inspiration at Ministry of Sound in London and Life in New York City while living abroad, before he began touring Japan and playing alongside big-time artists like Hex Hector, Victor Calderson, Sharp Boy, Emma, Towa Tei and Dragon.
In Tokyo, DJ Envy has modeled for cosmetics companies such as M.A.C., Maybelline and YSL, and has appeared in music videos with Japan’s top entertainers.
Today, Envy, sponsored by Loveboat Drug Store (LDS), spins all over the world. He is currently negotiating to play in China and New York City.
On Tuesday, the lineup includes local DJs Khaos69, Deevy, Devil and Beer; Envy will start spinning around midnight, according to his promoter.
The IHT-JoongAng Daily interviewed Envy via e-mail:
Q. Do you always travel and work together?
A. We do not work as a team. We usually work individually in Japan.
How often does your fashion theme change? What will be your main theme for the rest of 2004?
I just wear things that I’d like to wear, so the theme changes very often. The main theme for the rest of this year could be “B-girl” and vintage. B-girl stands for “breaking girl,” like R&B and hip-hop fashion style, you know, like Beyonce, J-Lo and Britney Spears. I’d like to believe that my fashion statement somehow reflects the actual trend.
Where do you find your musical inspiration?
I love music that has soul ―something soulful, funky [with] vocals. Except for trance, I love all kinds of music. I find my albums on the Internet and in record shops. In Korea, I will definitely play songs from Defected Records, Morehouse Records, Soulfric Records and so on.
by Ines Cho
Tickets are 20,000 won ($16), or 15,000 won with a flyer. Club Cosmo is behind club Ska, opposite the 7-Eleven convenience store, in Hongdae.
For more information on the event, in English or Korean, call (010) 6501-6029; for information in Japanese, call (016) 289-4001.