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Self-Improvement & Hobbies

Girls only at this bootcamp

The month-long "FFF Girl DJ Bootcamp" programme covers skills such as beatmatching, a technique used by DJs to mix in one track to the next seamlessly, and proper DJ etiquette.
The Straits Times - August 31, 2012
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Girls only at this bootcamp Participants at FFF Girl DJ Bootcamp get to DJ at their graduation held at clubs such as Velvet Underground. -- PHOTO: ZOUK MANAGEMENT

Five years ago, copywriter and DJ Debbie Chia was asked by local women's magazine Cleo what she would do if she were given $10,000 for a project.

It was part of a competition that called for ideas from Singaporean women from all walks of life, and Chia came up with the concept of having an all-female DJ bootcamp. She wanted to educate women about electronic music in production and DJ-ing and encourage a growing community of active Singaporean female DJs.

As a female DJ herself, she wanted to do something to encourage other women to join the DJ fray, and to convey a message that it is not a daunting task to tackle.

Her idea did not come out tops, but she decided to make it happen anyway, albeit on a minimal budget that was funded by sponsorships and the goodwill of her DJ friends who volunteered to help her out. Chia, along with three friends, fellow female DJs Cherry Chan, Natalie Tan (Natalie PixieDub), and Pamm Hong, went on to launch the first DJ Bootcamp for women in 2008 with a group of 10 women from various professions including a lawyer and an engineer.

The month-long programme - now called the FFF Girl DJ Bootcamp - covers skills such as beatmatching, a technique used by DJs to mix in one track to the next seamlessly, and proper DJ etiquette.

In case you are wondering what the FFF stands for, Chia says it is not an acronym and it is up to your interpretation.

Though a bootcamp suggests gruelling work, in reality, participants train once a week from 1 to 7pm at Zouk nightclub, and get to listen to guest speakers such as veteran DJ Ginette Chittick and sound designer Jason Tan who talk about their own experiences performing in a live environment.

At the end of the course, the women DJ at their own graduation party held at a club, where they each have to hit the decks to spin a half-hour or 45-minute set. To date, about 40 women from all walks of life - including housewives, bankers and teachers - have gone through the bootcamp.

Chittick said: "They are showing girls who are interested in DJ-ing that it's incredibly accessible, this possibility of learning DJ-ing. There's no need to be intimidated when trying to get into the industry." The FFF Girl DJ Bootcamp, which costs $500 a participant, will be held at Zouk nightclub. Those interested have until Sept 16 to sign up.

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Queens of clubs