Pumping DJs show two better than one in mixing face-offMove over DJ Kuma, here come the Pumping DJs. Just 10 minutes before midnight, the two-person duo became the grand winner of the 2005 Heineken Thirst’s Korea tour before a 1,000-plus crowd in the Mugunghwa Hall of the Sheraton Walker-Hill hotel in eastern Seoul.
The Heineken Thirst is an international DJ competition that’s combined with a series of parties. The tournament first started in September 2002 with 28 cities participating around the world. The tour was wildly received by global partiers, as it offered rare chances for local DJs to perform overseas and also see live performances by internationally acclaimed DJs such as Tiesto, Pete Tong, Paul Oakenfold and Ferry Corsten.
Since last year when DJ Kuma became the Korean finalist, Seoul has been one of 40 cities participating in the event. This year, the highlight was a live performance by Steve Lawler and Roger Sanchez, both acclaimed names in the New York City and Ibiza club scenes.
The two Korean finalists, DJ Paust and Pumping DJs, dueled while Lawler judged their performances.
The fact that the Pumping DJs consist of two members makes them unique. There are less than handful of DJs who work as a team in the international scene. A session on Saturday night featured Andy & Stu, team DJs based in London.
In Korea, Pumping DJs are the only duo. The two DJs, Kim Ju-gon, 33, and Choi Yong-suk, 32, are also separately known as DJ Devil and DJ Jerry M. They have been regularly spinning at Code and Otwo clubs near Hongik University in northwestern Seoul.
About a year ago they discovered they shared the same styles preferences in music, they decided to work together under one name.
When asked about their musical influences, the two said none other than Steve Lawler’s “Global Underground” series released four years ago was a source of major inspiration. They said they will stick with their current style, tribal progressive house, for Heineken Thirst’s regional semifinal in Tokyo on May 4.
If they win the semifinal, then they will move on to the Asia-Pacific final in Thailand.
As for their plan for the competition/performance outside Korea, Choi remained confident.
“We’ll actually maintain our style of music when we go to Tokyo, because we want to show our style to a non-Korean audience and, more importantly, we want to find out if our style will or can work outside Korea,” Choi said after the award ceremony.
The event seemed to have influenced those who work in the local party industry. Kim Sung-min, who organizes parties in Seoul, was impressed with the event’s production. “The crew used simple lighting ― red and white only ― but the effect on the stage was spectacular. Also, the graphics on the wall were amazing.”
As the night progressed into the wee hours, supporters of Korean DJs seemed exhausted.
Only the serious Roger Sanchez fans ―numbering less than 100 ― remained by the time the famed DJ and his four performers appeared around 3 a.m.
Outside Korea, it would be a shock for Roger Sanchez to perform before such a small crowd, but the atmosphere ― with fantastic backdrop visuals and dynamic dancing ― was as good as any great party.
by Ines Cho
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