Brian Cua has emerged direct from the Philippines to become of the most buzzed about names behind the decks in dance music today. His work with fellow dance music darlings Drew G & Guy Scheiman have led him to spots and residencies all over Asia and worldwide. As the world suddenly became oh so quiet, I grabbed some time with Cua to talk about quarantine creativity, his brand new work with people like the incomparable Inaya Day, and what the nightlife scene is like on the other side of the world.
Michael Cook: Right off the bat Brian, how did you get into the world of DJ’ing?
Brian Cua: I have been a music producer since 1993 and dance music has always been my forte. I have been creating remixes for our local artists here in Manila, but i decided that the only way I can improve my remixes is to try my hand in DJ’ing. My learning curve was in the reverse – through laptop DJ’ing, then CDs and finally thru vinyls. I was fortunate to still have gotten a club residency and mentorship in 2007-2013 at BED Manila, formerly the biggest gay club in the country. From there, eventually I got to play at other straight venues locally and clubs around Asia.
MC: For those that have never heard your sound, how would you describe it?
BC: I love anthems and songwriting in general, and if there’s a great song that can be
translated to the dancefloor, I would be the first to take a crack at it. So a lot of my
material focuses on that; vocal house and progressive vocal anthems. I naturally gravitate to songs of positive influence and hope.
MC: What is the sound like in the Philippines and how does it compare to the States?
BC: We Filipinos also love a great vocal, and so most of the top hits here reflect already what’s abroad. The clubs here like a variety of styles; open format is king over here.
MC: It’s hard to climb the ladder and become one of the premier DJ’s in the industry today; what do you think the secret is to your success?
BC: Do what you know and excel on it. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.
MC: What have been some of your career highlights thus far? Your work with Drew G gave you a whole different kind of attention from fans as it exposed you to a whole new audience.
Yes, that was a time that Drew and I we were able to introduce a new progressive sound, and working with Madonna on her remixes was a career highlight. Right now, I am working with top tribal/recording labels like Queen House Music, Epride Digital, Guy Scheiman Music and Tony Moran.
MC: You have competed and won several competitions as it relates to composition. What have those experiences been like?
BC: Aside from the camaraderie, you get to experience first hand how other people approach songwriting. For some people it comes very naturally, like breathing air. Others have profound, life-changing experiences to inspire them. I’m still a long ways off compared to these guys. I’m very fortunate to have teamed up with people with the same vision as mine.
MC: How do you choose the projects you work on? Any favorite mixes of yours that stand out? Anything super fun coming that you can talk about?
BC: The one’s I’ve been working with Tony Moran (Kristine W – “Just A Lie”, “Can’t Look Back”) are always a joy because he has access to the best vocalists in the industry.
There’s these two up coming Guy Scheiman compositions called “True Meaning Of Love” that I’ve remixed totally into an EDM anthem, coming from a tribal circuit style, and another one sung by diva powerhouse Inaya Day “People Of World”, that I’m excited about.
MC: You have DJ’d at some of the largest spaces in the Phillipines and worldwide. What have been some of your favorite space?
BC: I always look forward playing at XYLO, it’s one of the few clubs that offer a festival style experience with all the bells & whistles! LEDs, confetti, CO2 blasts! Around Asia, I love the energy that Destination Beijing always gives. The people there will dance to their hearts content from early till late.
MC: As we emerge from this form of “suspended animation” we are in, what have you been working on creatively?
BC: Aside from remixes I’ve mentioned, I have a secret parody remix account that i cannot divulge (laughs)! I am trying to craft a Filipino tribal progressive sound. Surely if Israel can have their own progressive sound, me and my fellow Filipino DJ’s can surely do one as well.
MC: What’s next for Brian Cua?
I plan to do more livestreaming sessions as a way to “audition” myself for potential party/event promoters and organizers. My wish is to be featured in more circuit parties here in Asia and abroad, if lady luck has her way! I will finally produce some new original material now that I have a lot of time in my hands. Remember, music is global, knows no bounds and speaks to everyone!
Thank you for letting me share my message and my music out there. Until then,
let’s stay home and stay healthy as we best can. I cannot wait to see you guys again on the dancefloor!
Follow DJ Brian Cua here