Classic Jams: DJ Ray Ray

Classic Jams: We get our favourite DJs to share with us their favourite DJ/ scratch routines and tunes which can burn up a dancefloor and still educate the crowd. Check in on this every Thursday…

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Since the young age of 15, the potty-mouthed DJ Ray Ray also known as Chao Hsin-Lei has been channeling her love for music through turntables. Based in Taipei, the petite Taiwanese DJ holds residencies in LUXY Club and W Hotel. She has opened for international acts such as Far East MovementDJ ShadowDJ Kaze, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. In 2010, DJ Ray Ray toured her home country Taiwan as part of the Hennessy Artistry tour while emerging the winner of Red Bull Thre3style Taiwan in 2013.

Your first love is Hip-Hop. What piqued your interest back when you were younger?

Biggie Small and 2Pac.

I’m interested in Hip-Hop history. And we all know that 90s is the golden age of Hip-Hop. I love Hip-Hop music is not only because of the rhythm but also the meaningful lyrics. You can understand a lot of Hip-Hop culture through the lyrics. Yeap, that’s why I feel for Hip-Hop. It’s so simple and a very good way to understand street culture.

Could you remember the first tune which stood out to you and is still one of your favourite jams since then?

I love Diana Ross’ ‘I’m Coming Out’. It’s a catchy classic song and Biggie sampled it on his ‘Mo Money, Mo Problems’. I remember, the ‘I’m Coming Out’ EP is also my first 45s purchase. And I still love playing this song.

In a Hip-Hop industry dominated by male turntablists, do you ever feel pressurised to level up your scratching game?

Never!!!! Never stress yourself during practicing scratching!!! Scratching is fun. It’s not homework for DJs. (These are) the skills you need to rely on while you DJ. You can find friends to practice with you together because that will make you improve faster. You can learn from your friends and they can help you to improve your skills as well.

What are your thoughts of this open-format concept? How are you crafting your own style in this trend?

In my opinion, there’s no one DJ who can only stick to (just) one music style. To me, music are all connected and you need to understand different genres of music. For example, a good set is not just all EDM or Hip-Hop. You can make your set (full of) “ups and downs”. Just like Red Bull Thre3style, every competitor needs to showcase three different music styles in their sets. Diversity surprises the crowd.

You were producing music for acts under Sony ATV. Are you returning to production work soon?

Yes, I’m still producing music. Trying to learn FL Studios right now. I will release some remixes by summer. And I’m looking for good writers and producers to work together.

What’s next for you?

I will start on some remixes and complete some songs which I haven’t finished yet. Hope that I can release them one by one monthly. And I’ll be going to Azerbaijan (for Red Bull Thre3style World Finals) with Taiwan 2014 champion DJ D!n D!n this year!! Can’t wait to learn something new, just like last year.

You mentioned in a TV interview that in your first trip down to Singapore, you had 3 fans waiting for you at the airport.

Hahaha!!!!! They were my fans!!! It was quite nice to meet people who were fully supporting you in different countries. I really had a good time there. Thank you!!!!

How’s your pug doing?

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She’s fine. She is 7.5kg now. My sister just established a Facebook Fan Page for her. Now, she’s getting popular!!! Everyone loves her!!!!!!