Dean Chew—also known as Funk Bast*rd, curates a 90-minute journey of ambient, slow jams, AOR, boogie-laced beats, and uptempo house cuts.
A renowned figure in Singapore’s club scene, Dean Chew has been an avid collector of vinyl from an early age. Since then, he has gone on to investigate the connections that can be drawn between different musical genres, a concept that is the driving force behind his label Darker Than Wax (DTW). We first featured Chew on Friends of Friends back in 2018, and we were really excited to invite him to curate his second mixtape for us during coronavirus lockdown.
Where are you located during lockdown and what are you doing to keep occupied?
I am currently in Singapore. We have been on lockdown for about two months now. Hopefully things are going to get better soon! In a way, this temporary hiatus is turning out to be rather beneficial. It has slowed down the pace of life. I am enjoying cooking more at home, trying out new recipes, reading, and going for long walks in nature. I’m also able to continue to do some design consultancy work at the moment, which I’m extremely grateful for.
Lorenzo Morresi – Prioria
Verano Sin Pileta – Chillin’ (Instrumental)
David Debree – Evening Tide
Libido – Jacasse Baby Lou (Instrumental)
Bill Withers – Use Me (Dj XS 2020 Edit)
World’s Famous Supreme Dream Team – Hey DJ
Juicy – Sugarfree (Deo/Super Dance Mix)
Soul Connection – R U available
Arthur Blythe – Uptown Strut
Juicy – Give Me All
McKoy – Family (Original Version)
Benny Sings – Sunny Afternoon
Two Thou & Eric Demuro – Low End Ride
Jordan Passmore – Accuracy and Orbitals
Knopha – Gym A
Jesse Outlaw Feat Bill Beaver – Luv U Deeper (2017 Cedar Sound Workshop Original)
Maajo – Nkoranza
Pelada – A Mí Me Juzgan Por Ser Mujer
Tee Mango – Confused
B.Visible – Palmen 808
Jullian Gomes & Sio – 1000 Memories (Kaytronik Sweet Remix)
How is DTW coping during the COVID-19 crisis?
We’ve had to adjust and improvise our plans due to the ongoing epidemic. Our release schedule has been disrupted due to the temporary closure of pressing plants and record stores not being able to open for business.The events and collaborations we had planned for 2020 have all been shelved, and obviously, the income from those have disappeared. Fortunately, we have always operated DTW in a very skeletal and minimal way, so the financial stress isn’t as heavy compared to other businesses. Nonetheless, we have been devising different strategies and ways to maintain the connection with our fan base and community, from running periodic live streams to introducing campaigns on Bandcamp to push music sales, as well as collaborating with independent brands and outlets. It has been rather challenging, but it is fascinating to see how entities like ours are currently shaping and devising fresh ways to keep the engine running.
Can you recommend some upcoming artists from Southeast Asia?
Off the top of my head, I’d say Munir of Midnight Runners, Prabumi, Zatua, Fauxe, FZPZ, similarobjects, and lustbass. I’d also strongly recommend Bgourd, a young Singaporean rapper who performs fully clad in a green morph suit—definitely check him out! All of these artists are incredibly talented and musically diverse. I would safely say that they represent that Southeast Asian spirit of humor, tropicality, and combine traditional elements with modern sensibilities.
“Hopefully, the human spirit will be able to navigate this crisis and we will be able to bounce back with more patience, understanding, and love for each other.”
How do you think Covid-19 is going to change the electronic music community?
I think the implementation of social distancing has already changed our world and our perceptions of proximity and comfort forever. In a way, ‘social paranoia’ has become the new normal. I wouldn’t be surprised if we start to think twice about sharing seats, tables, or even shaking people’s hands. The damage has already been done. I think the music industry will have to learn how to walk all over again. I am, however, always leaning on the side of optimism. Humans are inherently social creatures. Hopefully, the human spirit will be able to navigate this crisis and we will be able to bounce back with more patience, understanding, and love for each other.
How did you select the tracks for this mixtape?
I made this mixtape for everyone who’s struggling to cope with these challenging times. Some of us are less fortunate than others, but, fundamentally, music has the power to soothe and heal. I hope this 90-minute journey of ambient, slow jams, AOR, boogie-laced beats, and uptempo house cuts will offer people a small dose of sunshine, wherever they may be.
Dean Chew—also known as Funk Bast*rd—is a DJ based in Singapore. The founder of music label Darker than Wax, Chew also runs his own spatial design studio. Check out the first mixtape he created for Friends of Friends by heading over to our Mixtapes section, where you’ll also find a selection of playlists curated by other inspiring, international creatives.
Text: FvF Team