This year, E-TracX DJ Skool and Studios turns 13. Powered by passion, the DJ school started off as a DJ store selling records and DJ equipment. One year into the business, founders Edwin and Stephanie established a DJ school that has grown to be one of Asia’s most reputable DJ academies.
E-TracX has since witnessed many of its students become professional DJs respected for their craft and defined music style, win awards and competitions, and set up music businesses.
Accolades atop piling accolades, E-TracX’s heart and soul ultimately lie in its purpose to change people’s lives for the better, with music as its medium. Steering its direction is its mission of creating champions and uniting communities.
“E-TracX students are champions! They’re regarded as champions, not only because they have won awards, competitions, and excelled in the industry, but mainly because they support and inspire others,” expressed Stephanie.
“I can’t say that we have a formula for creating champions, but I do acknowledge that there’s an indefinable quality about E-TracX that is responsible for this. In simple terms, I call it the ‘soul’ of E-TracX. I’m very lucky to have worked with the best. E-TracX instructors are some of the most inspiring, dedicated, genuine, and supportive people I’ve had the privilege of meeting.”
“The E-TracX family and culture have also played a tremendous part as well. It is one where all of us come together to support, motivate, and inspire each other.”
Nookmag dug in to find out more about the E-TracX family and culture with interviews with Stephanie and a few of its DJ instructors (DJ Koflow and DJ Perk Pietrek) and students (Sherman Jin and Anrev).
Nookmag (N): Tell us more about your passion for DJ-ing.
Koflow (K): First and foremost, I’m a turntablist. And because of that, my job scope falls in the category as ‘Performing Artist’. Then I’m a DJ, a selector for a vibe if you are looking for a party. Then, I’m a Beat Maker/Producer. For the rest of my time, I’m an educator. Or a curator who runs my own events like ‘Solid Gold’ or Curating Music Campaign for other companies. DJ-ing has been a life-long passion; it really just started out as a hobby. But now, it has turned into a career and lifestyle. It really puts me in a blank zone working on music as much as drawing. I guess I just enjoy the process of the creativity.
Perk Pietrek (P): I’m mainly teaching at E-TracX while working on my own project under the moniker of ‘Perk Pietrek’, producing dance music with a niche sound of tropical bass. DJ-ing was what got me started in electronic music, and being part of the whole turntablism movement has played a big part in building my identity as an artist too. DJ-ing is definitely something I can do day-in day-out for the rest of my life.
Sherman Jin (SJ): I am working as a DJ and I have been DJ-ing for a few years now. I love editing, experimenting, and coming up with different styles for tracks. Being a DJ has enabled me to do all that.
Anrev (A): I’m classically trained in piano since young, and picked up the craft only last year. Though a new found passion then, it became an art form which feels strangely natural to me.
In this day and age, technological limitations in music are a thing of the past. My instrument of choice naturally became the DJ turntables and mixer, allowing me to freely manipulate whatever instruments I want, just with ONE set of equipment. I quickly got hooked onto DJing, and before long, there was a time I was practicing no less than five hours a day.
It also began to dawn on me that as an artist, just mixing from one song to another didn’t allow me to express my brand of music meaningfully.
I picked up the art of turntablism, a profound art of manipulating sounds with the use of various methods such as scratching and beat juggling. Ever since, it has become more than an addiction, almost meditative. Haha… This allowed me to start using turntables as a full-fledged instrument and opened me up to new horizons of musical possibilities.
Although I am still schooling, that does not stop me from practicing and evolving my brand of music as much as I can. Music Production is also something I am currently picking up, as it remains one of the most effective ways to express myself as a musician. As a DJ, however, I enjoy incorporating advanced elements of turntablism into my mixes, creating an eclectic blend of different genres, in order to express a brand of music I believe in.
As I am still 16, I have set myself a long-term goal to introduce the essence of turntablism to the next generation of DJs around the world! I am humbled and proud to have won the 2nd place in the All Beats Cineleisure DJ Championship held recently. It’s only my first competition, and I believe this is just the beginning.
N: Share with us a short summary of your story with E-TracX.
K: Somewhere along 2003, E-TracX opened its door as a record store. And thats where we met and started building from then. The only difference with E-TracX at that time, is that it’s the only record shop, that allows us kids to hang out or scratch on any given day. And with that small gesture, another community started. Along with DJ Rough we taught the Scratch classes, and by 2005, I had a lot more friends to scratch with! Fast forward to 2015, we are all still sticking together as a unit, still educating, still Scratching, still hanging out, still enjoys music, the difference is that we have more friends who are like an extended family bonded by DJ-ing.
P: E-TracX was the spot to hang out at if you wanted to improve because there’s so many other DJs sharing ideas during the monthly Scratch jams. It has always felt like a 2nd home for music (besides my own studio) and that was a feeling very valuable to myself as well as the other DJs around too.
SJ: E-TracX has been like a family to me. It is also a close-knit community where people from all walks of life come together with the same interest, sharing ideas and experiences. We jam together, experiment with different scratches and music styles etc. Not forgetting Koflow, who would pop in on our time together to also share some knowledge (or nonsense humour hahaha).
All in all, I really feel that each visit to E-TracX always brings me a different and new experience in its own way.
A: I joined E-TracX in search for new inspirations in turntablism and music as a whole. The people here are some of the most passionate and helpful communities of DJs I have come across yet. We are not afraid to help one another improve, in any aspect of DJ-ing and music production.
Learning from DJ/Producers Koflow and Perk Pietrek, I have picked up a wide range of new skills in my journey to develop and constantly improve myself as a musical artist. It is also inspiring to get to meet popular local/international artists that sometimes do drop by E-TracX to share and conduct workshops.
Shoutout to Edwin and Stephanie too, the great people behind E-TracX DJ Skool! Their genuine passion and commitment to the craft is of paramount importance that aspiring young DJs like me look up to.
N: How has E-TracX made a difference in your life?
Stephanie (S): E-TracX has given me something to believe in. It has given me hope. It has taught me that, with wonderful friendships comes great success. Most importantly, personal growth and fulfillment.
If I were to die today, I’d go to my grave with my head held high, for I have been part of something great. I have had the privilege of being part of a family of champions! E-TracX has given me much needed strength; and the E-TracX Family has made me a much happier person. I’m truly grateful for this.
A big thank you to our folks, our instructors both old and new – Edwin, Koflow, Perk Pietrek, Felix Hoo, Tom Shellsuit, Rough, Derrick Motif, Raphael, Andrew Tang, and Case Woo, as well as our students, and friends, for all your support and for believing in us all these years. E-TracX wouldn’t be E-TracX without you!
K: They give me an outlet to educate people on what DJ-ing can be. They gave me a sense of support to what I’m believing and doing. With that, I would like to give them a big thank you for jump starting and hanging on to the culture.
P: Being able to teach at E-TracX when I’m only 21 calls for huge shouts to owners Edwin and Steph. The belief they had in me gave me a platform to inspire other amazing DJs. And I have to say, given E-TracX’s history, this isn’t just a platform anymore, but it has become more like THE platform.
SJ: Without E-TracX, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I have learned many things with their guidance. I wouldn’t have understood the music culture or industry more if they didn’t guide me in the right direction or even kick-start my DJ experience.
I also wouldn’t have had the opportunities to play at different venues and gigs from their network of connections to gain more experience and to learn more while I’m at it.
Even till today, through whatever changes I may face or struggle with, they are still always by my side, supporting me sincerely and patiently guiding me. I am honoured and more than grateful to have gotten to know them and to be a part of this E-TracX family.
A: Other than enhancing and picking up new skills, the thing that really makes E-TracX stand out is the community of students and instructors, all coming together for a shared belief. E-TracX consistently organises workshops/jam sessions, in which I have really broadened my imagination and knowledge.
It’s like a family of amazing people, whether it be professional award-winning DJs or world-class music producers or anyone who shares a common belief in the art. The community here is one I am definitely proud to be part of.
N: Stephanie, what has this journey taught you?
There are three main things that I’ve learnt. Number one, despite all the bullpoop going on the world, there’s still a lot of good in it. I’ve had the privilege of meeting and working with some truly inspiring and wonderful people – The E-TracX Family. It is people like them that make the world a better place! They are true champions!
Number two, not to take fear too seriously. I’ve come to realise that the moment you allow fear to consume you, you are already dead. As a born-coward, dealing with fear has been my biggest struggle. Over the last 13 years, I’ve been terrified whenever I’ve had to make difficult decisions, as well as when trying to accomplish other scary business stuff. E-TracX has given me strength, and I’m now better able to act in spite of fear.
Number three, only I can defeat me. If I fail, it’s my fault. I learnt one of the most important lessons from my riding instructor a long time ago – if you fall off the horse, it doesn’t matter how much pain you are in, you dust yourself off, and get back on the damn horse again. If you are broken, take time off to heal, then get back on again.
Running E-TracX has been much like horse riding. Fall, get up, fall, get up, fall, broken, take a break, get up again…. I believe that true failure is when one makes a choice not to get up again, because of weakness – usually fear.
I’m very fortunate to be part of the E-TracX family for it is them that have given me the courage and strength to keep getting back up.