Aug 29, 2016
Simon Lee & Alvin: 450 Episodes Of Fly Five-O
Malaysian DJ/producer duo Simon Lee & Alvin joined us to celebrate 8 years on air and 450 episodes of their radio show, Fly Five-O!
How does it feel to reach 450 episodes of Fly Five-O?!
Simon: Hello 1001tracklists, thanks for having us! It is amazing to reach episode 450 this week! I never expected to get this far when we first started the radio show in 2008, but here we are now! I'm happy to see that the show continues to be popular and is becoming an important destination for dance music here in Malaysia. And on Mixcloud it is constantly in the Top 100 chart so that's great too! We love showcasing new music from so many artists every week, and it's also a great platform to show what new stuff we've been working on. Sometimes we get to transport our listeners to the club with our DJ sets from our live shows.
Alvin: It feels exciting to hit this milestone! Our thanks to Fly FM for keeping the show on the air, and to local and global listeners who make it a point to listen to the broadcast every week. We are also here because of the amazing music we get sent by labels and producers.
What can you tell us about the show's journey over the years? How has it changed?
Alvin: When we first started the show in 2007, it was a different format called the Fly Five-O Triple Play. We made three song mixes and a host at the radio station would talk about the tracks. The original show was four hours long back then, and it was the only dance music segment at the station during the time. Several years later we introduced guest mixes from local producers as part of the segment, and occasionally we would assemble an artist feature mix if there was an international DJ playing a show in Malaysia. In 2012, the station introduced other syndicated EDM shows, and Fly Five-O was changed to a one hour DJ mix format with two parts. The first part focuses more on EDM/trance releases, and in part two we go into uplifting trance for a grand finale. We have retained this format since then.
Simon: It has been quite a journey over the last eight years, and I think quite possibly our segment has been one of the most consistent and longest running at the station. We have easily featured thousands of tracks from artists across the world. The show has evolved a bit especially with the explosion in dance music and social media. These days we get sent a lot more music, we are including more of our own tracks and bootlegs, and there are more of our edits on each mix. We also get to interact more with listeners on social media so there are now more ways for people to connect with us during the broadcast. After each episode they can go on 1001tracklists to stream or buy the tracks individually, and we also feature selections from the show on our Spotify playlist.
Alvin: Each episode is only an hour long, but it takes us four to five hours to craft. We personally go through promos, pick the tracks, mix, and edit the show. Behind the scenes there's a lot of other stuff that happens before and after each broadcast too. And the whole process repeats again every week!
Simon: This show is potentially heard by millions each week on FM and online, so we want to make sure it’s as entertaining and perfect as possible. The show is now tracked on 1001tracklists which is completely driven by such a passionate and dedicated community - all DJs and labels look at this site to check support for their tracks.
How have you grown as artists alongside the growth of the show?
Alvin: Back in 2007, we were only making radio mixes, so we were establishing the radio production process, working with labels and artists, etc. And then because of that we started to learn DJing, which led us to make hundreds of bootlegs and mashups for our DJ sets. Several years later, we produced a decent demo, followed by more original material. So it's quite an interesting journey considering we started in radio, while most artists start a radio show after establishing DJing and producing.
Are there any tracks in this episode that you'd like to highlight? Any particular reason why you chose to include them?
Simon: We have exclusives from our local and international producer friends. We will feature some selections from big and new labels, and as always we'll mix in some unsigned tracks that we've discovered on SoundCloud.
Alvin: I remember when we first started making music, we would send out demos to radio shows and hope to get noticed. So we know how this feels and we try to listen to everything we get. And if it suits the show, we do our best to support it. It's great to see some of the earlier artists that we've supported in the past doing really huge things now!
Simon: We will also be dropping our new single, "Forever," which is a collaboration with Deuce Manila. And we are looking forward to including Ben Nicky's new single. He will be in Malaysia very soon and we'll be opening for him!
Can you discuss your upcoming track on Ensis records with Deuce Manila, "Forever"? How did this track come about? What was the production process like?
Simon: I'm always up for collabs if the synergy is right, although it's hard to commit because we are constrained by how many projects we can take on at a time (on top of our day jobs, DJing, radio show, etc.). I discovered Patty aka Deuce Manila on social media and reached out to her. We talked about our artist journey to date, and she sent over some music that she was working on. Deuce is representing Manila and Philippines on a global scale at the moment, and we thought it would be great to do a cross Asian country collaboration. "Forever" took us probably three months to complete, going back and forth.
Alvin: "Forever" is a cross between our styles and it's a sound that we can venture into through collabs like these. We are proud that it's coming out on Ensis this October - this is a label that we have been proud to support. I'm so happy Deuce Manila found the time to do this with us. She is super passionate and hard working - and she's an icon and role model to her fans!
What can you tell us about your IDs included in the past two episodes of Andrew Rayel's Find Your Harmony radio show?
Simon: Yes, we made these 2 tracks after "Xcelerate" so they are in the same style. And they are actually part of a 'trilogy.' We had the opportunity to meet Andrew Rayel in Malaysia the day after he featured the second ID on Find Your Harmony, and got to thank him personally for his support. We can also reveal now that one of the IDs ("Revenger") was chosen as Hardwell's Demo Of The Week and Blasterjaxx played it at Tomorrowland Belgium.
Alvin: There is a lot of buzz around these 2 tracks so we can't wait to release them and have this trilogy of tracks completed!
"Xcelerate" achieved huge DJ support and has been played on the mainstages of the biggest festivals in the world. How does that feel? Did you think this track would be so successful?
Alvin: Again this is one of those unexpected moments. We sent it to Armada and they believed in it, so they included it on one of their compilations. And then it got played on A State of Trance Radio, and Armin van Buuren and Blasterjaxx dropped it at Tomorrowland Brasil, and the support list goes on. Of course it feels amazing - this is the stuff artists dream of - to be able to create a record that people love, to represent our country, and to have that record played at packed arenas and on radio stations around the world. Here we are living this dream. It's completely humbling.
Simon: Completely unexpected for me too. As there are so many releases these days, I thought "Xcelerate" would come and go. But we managed to create something unique on this one, people heard it and they caught on to it. It's evidence that a great record will still travel far and wide!
What was the inspiration for "Xcelerate"? What was the production process like?
Simon: We have made tracks that were either big room or trance - both styles had some early success, but we never made a track that kind of merged both styles, except for maybe "Slam It." We figured it was time to relook at our approach and come up with a different direction. I think maybe we were just pulling in opposite directions before this, or we were making very functional tracks that were missing the 'feels.' So "Xcelerate" was when we really sat together and figured a way to infuse both styles. We relooked at the entire production process and learned a lot of new tricks on how to make all these hybrid sounds you hear in 'Trance 2.0.' We took our time with the whole thing.
Alvin: While everyone was moving in on the EDM boom, we've been working hard behind the scenes to build a more unique sound that we can now bring to our DJ sets. You'll hear more of this type of sound on the next few releases.
How did you guys meet each other? How did you begin working together?
Alvin: Simon and I knew each other from school and we grew up in the same neighborhood. In college, we would help our DJ friends organize gigs, give out flyers, arrange the guest list, and we would go see our favorite DJs.
Simon: In 2007, I remember calling him from a train station on my way to work and telling him how we should make a podcast for dance music. So that weekend we recorded a demo, sent it to a site that posted DJ mixes, and they asked for the next episode. So we went on to do more, and have never stopped since then. I guess once you get on the train, it never stops!
Alvin: We had been only been involved with dance music on the surface before 2007. So we came into this as fans of the genre, and then we dove into it whole heartedly. It's been a steep learning curve to get here, and we're still working hard and trying to improve all the time!
Simon: That's as short as we can put it for this interview - but there's been tons of adventures that we've been through, we'll save that for another chat some other time :)
What are each other's strengths?
Simon: I would say Alvin is very particular about ... everything! He is a perfectionist. That's helpful in the production process. I'm more about the feeling of a track, but my workflow is pretty messy. It's good to have somebody to give structure.
Alvin: Simon works with unorthodox methods, I must say. As much as I am against this, his methods somehow work in the strangest of ways. So yes the synergy of a perfectionist and a risk taker does work out well together at the end of the day, just like a mashup would! :)
What is the most inspirational show that you've attended (as fans)?
Simon: I would have to say Chicane live in Kuala Lumpur back in 2002. That show's visuals and music is still revolutionary even by today's standards. It was an amazing experience for me, and while we didn't decide to work on dance music immediately after that, that was a key inspirational moment for us to establish our music project several years later.
Alvin: Yeah, everything connected on the right level for that show, and we were at the right time and right place to be part of it. It set things in motion without us realising right away.
Simon: I've been tweeting Chicane about this, I wonder if he has read it!
What does the rest of the year look like for you guys?
Alvin: We have a few more releases to go, working on a few exciting remixes, and we are finally back DJing with all new material so hope to be seeing many happy faces soon!
Simon: Thanks for celebrating this milestone with us 1001tracklists! And thank you for tracking Fly Five-O and our releases :)
You can find all episodes and tracklists of Fly Five-O here and be sure to check out the recent Armada Captivating Smooth Sensations mix to hear the special intro edit of "Xcelerate."
short link 1001.tl/gby33u