DJ FOCUS: 4ACE
Another week, another DJ. This time, SWAG spoke to 24-year old Brogan Forace, also known as 4Ace. He's one of the founders of Oddball events, Nocturnal club nights and Malta's first vinyl-only label, MLTred. With big plans for the future, keep an eye out for 4Ace.
When and why did you get into music and DJing?
Music was always a part of my life, during the good times and the bad. My oldest memory I have is with my mum dancing with me to the Lighthouse Family in our living room as a young boy, in which I still listen to them until today!
After a good two years of attending events with my mates, I decided to start DJing at the age of 16. During this time I was going to boarding school in the UK, so I was constantly going back and forth throughout the year – which was tough at times. Having lots of time to myself I feel drove me to find that certain tool to express myself. I found my new passion, and the rest is history!
Who are your favourite artists?
It’s hard to pick and choose, as most DJs or artists would say. But if I had to pick, it would be Psyk, Marcel Dettmann, Ben Klock and Plastikman. Just purely for their live performance, which is always something special to see and feel.
Tell us about your shows and the clubs you perform at.
I’ve played at a lot of different clubs and locations in Malta and Gozo over the years, but to name a few of my favorites I would have to go for Liquid Club, and I could call my second home. I’ve also played at The Playground which is always fun and I’ve just started to take a liking to the new Plusone in Paceville, simply because the DJ stand is built properly and the sound is brand new and put together properly which most clubs on the island seem to have difficulty in doing.
Currently I’m working full time on my Oddball Malta events, which have only really been going for about three years. It’s generally my main focus as I feel it reflects all the hard work I’ve done over the years. Involved are my partners Tony Baldacchino, Antoni Meli and Gian Paolo Azzopardi. We've also got our bros at Vaxxine, who tend to help us out – and we do the same for them. We try to keep a family vibe going with the two events, and we’ve seen both nights have blown up recently in the past couple of years. This is what’s driving me at the moment.
I’d also like to mention the lads from Modulation Malta and Sonic Mecca. We recently held our first event together which was a huge success at Liquid Club with a very special artist, Shifted. Expect to see more from us as a collaboration in the future.
I’ve also recently decided to venture out on a new challenge. This is, taking over a new club in Paceville called Plusone on a weekly basis under the name of Nocturnal which will be every Friday from the 20th of March onwards. It’s defiantly something new for me, which I have full confidence will be a success.
I’ve also held events in the past under Warp Me, which was with my then partner Marc Kane, who also runs Bunker 909 and is part of the Prime Time team.
Is music your fulltime job?
Right now yes it is my full time job, but a job generally is needed with the way the scene is in Malta, so I’m always on the look out for something I feel I could apply for and would work around my hours.
In the past I’ve found it hard to keep a job and DJ. I feel Malta needs to support DJs and music in general a lot more. We aren’t very good at sports, so why not back us up within the music industry! DJing doesn’t really pay in Malta unless you’re holding your own events, which I think is something very very wrong. The bar man gets paid, the cleaners get paid, but the DJ plays for free. This is generally how it goes on the island and to get paid at a gig is generally a god send!
Tell us about the sort of music you produce, how your previous releases have done and what your latest project is.
Currently I’m not making any music, but it’s a goal of mine that I will achieve sooner or later. Otherwise, I’ve started working on one of Malta's first vinyl-only labels under the name of MLTred (Malta red). My partners on it are Gareth Wild, Dax J and Chris Stanford from London. They also run other big name labels with the likes of Ear to Ground, Monnom Black, Quartz Records, LDNwht (London white) and now its sister label, MLTred.
For me this is a dream come true and I have to thank Gareth Wild for giving me the chance. It came about very quickly, but has received great feedback all over the world from as far as Buenos Aires to Berlin to London, right onto our front door step of Italy. It’s only been our first release and really has taken off a lot more than I expected. People have sent us links of DJs from abroad playing the music that is on the EP, to having artists come to Malta and play a track from the EP. This has really has blown me away and has given me a sense of achievement.
My general goal with this label is to put Maltese producers on the map alongside other big names across the world, so expect more releases from MLTred in the near future!
How big is the market for your kind of music?
Techno has its ups and downs, and people use the word Techno too often in Malta. But generally I think Techno has picked up again, just simply because there is so much crap out there that people tend to always fall back on Techno which is and will always be the best form of ‘dancefloor music’.
Obviously some people will disagree with me, but if you’re a person who knows your music, and actually follows the artists and DJs, it’s generally the people who like Techno who know their stuff inside and out. This obviously is solely my perception of the scene in Malta.
I feel that with most house events that book big headliners in Malta, most of the crowd won’t know anything about the artist and be more interested in which friend is going to which event. When it comes to Techno, it’s always for the love of the music since its so particular.
What has been the biggest event you have been involved in?
I’ve been lucky enough to play at a number of great events over the years. But ones that stick out for me are my Oddball events – I can’t get enough satisfaction playing at something that I put together along with my mates. I’ve also had some great gigs under Disorder, Shift and Badbox. Along with some great gigs at Prime Time and Perpendicular.
Have you met or worked with any top names?
Again I’ve been lucky enough to work with, meet and play alongside a lot of top names, and with whom I’ve kept that relationship going right up until today. Artists I’d like to mention who I still keep in contact with are Psyk, Gareth Wild, Dax J, Dustin Zahn, Par Grindvik, Miss Sunshine, Mariano Dc, Hans Bouffmhyre, Leghau and now recently, Shifted has joined the family!
I’ve also played alongside Jeff Mills, Alex Bau, Audio Injection & Drumcell, Sasha Carassi, Umek, Vitalic, Phil Kieran and Chris Liebing.
What would you say is one thing that hypes up any crowd?
Personally I always look to start off my sets with a general ambient sound, something with emotion. I also do the same halfway through my set, looking for that one track that will make people feel as one within the crowd.
What’s the fastest way to lose a dancefloor?
Sometimes a general mixing mistake can kill the crowd, which isn't always easy to not do when you've had a few drinks!
What have been your best/most memorable and worst moments so far?
I think my most memorable moment would be my first ever gig, which was down underneath the old Empire in a club called Silk. During my set I had my mates coming up to me and telling me there was a strange woman hiding behind the stools near the bar taking photos of me – I later found it was my mother!
I don’t really have a worst moment, but it’s always a big let down when you turn up to a club that doesn't have the basics working right, i.e. sound-system, mixer, CDJs or decks. It’s a big problem on this island and not many people seem to know what they are doing.
Where will you perform next?
Up next I’ll be looking to have my weekly club night get started. Which is at Plusone in Paceville, under the name of Nocturnal. It starts on the 20th of March and our headliner will be Migz. Expect to see DJs over the coming weeks and months with the likes of Owen Jay, Brian James, Manthrax and more. Also ranging from music between Techno down to the real House music.
I’ll also be getting back to the drawing board with Oddball Malta on future events through out the year.
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