Exclusive interview with Bert Bevans

Phnom Penh Underground

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Exclusive interview with Bert Bevans

On Friday the 14th, Code Red hosts NY House Legend Bert Bevans. You might not be aware that Bert has a long history in the Phnom Penh Dance scene – in fact he was the first DJ to ever play the original Pontoon, way back in 2008.

But first, a little history lesson….

bert1

Bert started DJing in the 70’s at block parties in Queens.

His big break came when he was hired to play at the legendary Studio 54. The disco scene was in full swing & Bert had residencies at  NY’s top clubs – Playboy Club, Pippins, Mudd Club, Infinity & the seminal Paradise Garage.

When Rusty Egan and Steve Strange opened the Camden Palace (influential north London venue), he got a job DJing alongside Colin Faver and Evil Eddie Richards – although Egan “fired me for playing “Give It Up or Turn It Loose” by James Brown” –  floor was packed, party going thru the roof and he said “We don’t play that kind of music here.

Moving between NY, London, and Brussels, he alternated between DJing and Remixing.

bert3In 1991, he met an old friend who was building a “Paradise Garage sound system” in a new club in London… the club was none other than the Ministry of Sound. Bert ended up being one of the first ever residents at Ministry of Sound, along with Larry Levan & Justin Berkmann.

Since then, this superlative DJ, Producer and Remixer has been blessed with the good fortune to travel across the globe spinning records in almost every major nightclub you can think of.

Ahead of his return to Phnom Penh – and his debut at Pontoon founder Eddie Newman‘s new venture Code Red, Bert took some time out from his hectic schedule to talk to us.

When did you first come to Phnom Penh?

I first came to Phnom Penh to play at the RiverHouse  in July 2008 to do a series of parties for Johnny Walker.

I’d always wanted to come to Cambodia, Vietnam & Laos, so it was a no brainer when they asked me. Phnom Penh is a wicked city and I really enjoy myself here!!!

After 3 or 4 parties, we moved to Pontoon. The party on Pontoon had so many people, it began to sink, I finished playing with my foot & most of the DJ Booth under water, it was an AWESOME NIGHT!!!

What are your feelings about playing at Code for the first time?

I’m excited to be playing in Code. I hear it’s wicked. Eddie has transformed the nightlife of Phnom Penh both with Pontoon and Code, there was nothing like it before.

What do you think and know of the current dance scene in Phnom Penh?

Phnom Penh is changing a lot; there is a lot more development. In the dance business, that’s very good. It means a lot more people are open to music and new forms of expression. In a few years, this could be as big as Phuket or Ibiza

bert2How would you describe your musical style in 2014 and how has it changed from when you first used to play?

Well I used to play a lot more bands, now it’s sample tracks or DJ songs. I prefer to play a “Song”, I know this sounds simple but listen to most DJ’s when you go out, they play mostly sample songs, not the real deal.

Songs tell a story, you get the whole picture with this.

What are your all time top 3 tunes?

Relight My Fire – Dan Hartman,

Some Body Else’s Guy – Jocelyn Brown,

Let’s Start The Dance – Hamilton Bohannon

These are songs the inspire your dance floor. When I play them I see people singing along, getting the party vibe!! Magic!!! Jocelyn, Hamilton and Dan were pioneers in music, they were INSPIRATIONAL

 

What are your current top 3 tunes?

Hot Stuff – Donna Summer (Frankie Knuckles Remix) – Frankie’s remix of Hot Stuff is AWESOME, very Lush and Uplifting!!

So Good To Me – Chris Malinchak –  divine, very inspirational

Haven’t You Heard (Joey Negro Disco Mix)Patrice Rushen

 

What were the first tunes that got you into DJing in the 70s?

I was working in Melodies Song Shop, which was where all the DJ’s came to by new music but these were some of my favorite’s in 1976

Fly Robin Fly – Silver Convention / Love Hangover – Diana Ross /  More, More, More – Andrea True Connection / That’s the Way I Like It – K.C. and The Sunshine Band /  Love To Love You – Donna Summer /  Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker) – Parliament / Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton

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You can catch Bert at Code Red on the 14th of February. Remember, if you go to the  Sunbodia Boat Party in the afternoon of the 14th, you’ll get free entry into Code!

Till then check out Bert’s sound below….

Exclusive interview with Bert Bevans