Nookmag’s new Flavours column titled Conversation seeks out inspiring individuals who possess a creative spirit and brim with passion. Proudly sponsored by Converse, Conversation offers an insight into the lives of these individuals and the things that drives them.
In this edition, we chatted with DJ Hapa from LA. One of the recent recruits for The Butter Factory’s AOS crew, DJ Hapa is the national brand director of the acclaimed Scratch DJ Academy (USA) and was the first DJ for Far East Movement. Being a star in his own right does not mean that his path was paved with sweet scented roses. Despite being diagnosed with epilepsy in high school, DJ Hapa rose above the challenges that confronted him and succeeded in his DJ pursuits.
What has made him a greater person is his contribution towards the DJ community and his philanthropy effort for epilepsy. Hear him in his own words…
Nookmag (N): How’s the experience with the AOS crew so far?
Hapa (H): Amazing! It’s like we’ve worked together for years. I think it was great that the first experience as a group was our trip up to KL to open The Butter Factory. There were definitely some great bonding moments.
N: What gave you the initial push into DJ-ing?
H: I started DJ-ing on cassette tapes. It started as something so simple – I liked the beginning of one song, and the end of another and thought, what if I could find a way to make my ultimate, favourite song! My friend and I started making tapes and distributing them at our high school. His older brother (who was a DJ) said, “You guys aren’t DJs! You don’t even have the right equipment.” He handed us a flyer to see the Invisbl Skratch Picklz at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. Watching QBert, Mix Master Mike and Apollo do what they were doing with vinyl records and playing the turntable like an instrument blew my mind.
N: Any formula for hyping up the crowd at a party?
H: It’s all energy transfer…on stage, you give the crowd your energy, and they give it back to you. I think when we’re having fun on stage, it’s contagious.
N: What keeps you inspired and creative?
H: Teaching definitely inspires me. My students continue to give me a new found excitement and energy for DJ-ing and beyond.
N: What do you do for fun?
H: I do what I love and love what I do. I’m so blessed to have found my passion, so my work is truly my fun.
N: We got to find out about your mission to give back to the DJ community through Scratch DJ Academy. Plus, you are a spokesperson for an epilepsy initiative. What motto do you live by that drives you to contribute?
H: I have my motto tattooed on my arms: ‘Life’s too short’, ‘Follow your heart’, ‘Lead with passion’.
N: Tell us one thing you adore most about Converse sneakers.
H: The All Stars are the most versatile shoe – it can be dressed up or down and can be worn with almost anything. They are also really easy to travel with since they don’t take up much space in my suitcase.