18 years old and already rolling deep with Yellow Claw’s Barong Family, Shanghai artist Chace is on a white knuckle ride to the mainstage premiership.
Cited as a future tip by Diplo, he was the first Chinese DJ to play mega-festival Tomorrowland and has already notched up remixes and collaborations with the likes of DJ Snake, GTA & Wax Motif, Yellow Claw and Moksi who he’s teamed up with for his forthcoming single For A Day. We copped this remix from BMotion, Dossa and Locuzzed…
Flexing a bass-influenced mainroom sound, and already boasting a dynamic, party-minded cross-style selectionism, Chace’s skills belie his young age and suggest he’s on the precipice of a big future. Here’s his journey so far…
You’ve been on this for a longer than people might think, right?
Forever I guess. I was born into a musical family. My dad has a band and I was drumming from the age of two. Then I started touring with him until I had to go to school. Then I got into acapella music, making all the elements with my voice. After a few years of practicing I started putting my covers of artists like Chris Brown up online and they got some really cool support from a lot of people. So through the acapella music I learnt a lot about production and through that I fell in love with dance music. First David Guetta but then Swedish House Mafia came into my life and everything changed…
In what way?
The best way. They completely changed everything I wanted to and achieve musically. Swedish House Mafia were such an inspiration: Their sound, their look. I even have their logo tattooed on my right arm!
Did they inspire you to produce?
No, I was already doing elements of that before. I was 11 and I’d been doing the acapella music for a while so I had a basic skill so played around with some vocal chops and some digital pianos I stole from my dad’s band and recorded some things and tried things out. It was all very amateur, it wasn’t really music, but it helped me understand the structure of dance music. Then I got Logic and things developed from there. My first big song was called You – it was the first big Chinese EDM song at that time. I wrote some lyrics for my friend to sing on it, we uploaded it and it was a quite a buzz, I started getting all kinds of offers to DJ… But I’d never actually DJ’d! The first time I ever touched CDJs was the night I played that show.
Yeah I was trembling the whole time! Because of my drumming I had an instinct for bringing the beats in at the right time but it wasn’t an easy show because of the type of club it was. Very commercial with a lot of tables, no one paying attention to the DJ. It taught me a valuable lesson – DJing isn’t easy, you have to put a lot of time into it and really work it to get people to listen to you.
Then you played Tomorrowland!
Yes I was the first Chinese DJ to play there. It was amazing. Actually all this came through one of those early DJ shows I did here in Shanghai. I was introducing some of my own songs on the mic and my now-manager, who’s Dutch and was scouting for talent, came an introduced himself after the show. We worked together on the direction of my music and put together an EP which Yellow Claw picked up on. They put it on their Barong Family label and from that moment things started to go crazy. I got to visit Holland for a while, played some shows and, did a lot studio sessions, went to ADE and got to meet great people. I was surprised people had heard of me in Europe, it was really cool.
So your next single is For A Day, which you wrote the lyrics for. How long have been writing lyrics in English for?
A long time. I picked up all my English through movies and TV shows. When I was supposed to go hard on schooling I was going hard on music and production and TV and films. Thank god I did though.
Your dad was in a band so could he understand that?
No no, my parents were very strict about education like all parents here. My dad understands the musical side of my life, though, and I was sent to a musical college in Shanghai. So I was away from my parents during the week while studying. The only problem was that I didn’t do much studying – I spent more time in clubs getting a real vibe and working out what I needed to do. Eventually I went back to my parents and told them music and DJing were the only things I wanted to do and told them how I would do it. We went back and forth but eventually they agreed – they want to see me happy.
It took a lot of negotiation then?
A lot! Six months. But I’m lucky – not every Chinese kid my age gets that opportunity and it’s really cool now because I’m getting recognition and support here in China now as well as Europe and the US. This means I can actually show them what I’m doing. I was asked to play the mainstage of Storm, this huge festival in Shanghai, and I got to take my parents. They really understood it then and were very proud.
A lot of quality shows in new countries I’ve never played in before, another solo EP, lots of remixes, a collaboration with WIWEK and plenty more with Moksi. And a lot more after that…