The DJ of choice for all the best circuit parties from San Francisco to Tel Aviv, Jack Chang & everywhere in between has been a headliner for two decades with his name at the very top of a million event posters for every event you have ever heard of. PAUL STAG spoke exclusively for AT to the superstar fetish DJ in his Berlin home midway through Covid lockdown about how he got to the top, runs his sets, sex in the DJ booth, his favourite ever gig and the day he nearly died from lightning mid set.
Who is Jack Chang and how did he become the Top DJ on the International gay fetish circuit?
I am a touring DJ / Producer from London (at least, I am normally traveling, when a pandemic has not shut the world down). I have served the LGBTQI+ community for over 23 years, now. For as long as I have been performing, I have always had one foot in mainstream dance clubs, and the other foot firmly planted in the fetish world. Having been the youngest resident DJ for Suzie Kreuger’s notorious FIST club London (later known as HardOn) and guest appearances at The Eagle, and The Hoist (now closed), I was already known in London for playing both types of events. Then, an email came from Berlin in 2004, asking if I would be interested to take a risk, and join in the “crazy idea” of bringing the Folsom Street Fair to Europe for the first time, and whether I would play at the street fair, and the closing party, PiG Berlin. I returned the following year to Berlin again, and organizations around Europe began to take notice. I appeared at Amsterdam Leatherpride, and Hamburg Leather Weekend the following year, and offers to perform across Europe started to snowball. I spent the next eight years touring every single major leather event, returning to Berlin twice yearly, Amsterdam, Madrid, but also with smaller events and clubs in Rome, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and so many more. My appearances continue to this day with Antwerp, and Maspalomas.
How do you prepare for a big gig, long or late-night set like Darklands or Folsom?
For each “side” of what I do, I keep a regular check on new music releases, and have several different collections of music. One is specifically for the fetish scene. I make sure to get lots of daytime sleep and arrive early to get the vibe of the event.
How do you construct your fetish event sets & how do you work out what would make a good mix and read a crowd as the set progresses?
It’s a matter of building playlists, so that I ensure that I have enough music to play for that night without repeating tracks, arrange them in a loose order, so that I don’t have to worry too much about fumbling for what track to play next, all night. It also makes it handy for me to see how the tracks move from one to the next ahead of time, so that the music does not feel like it’s jumping up and down, energy-wise.
Reading the crowd is all-important, and depends also on the DJ that is on before me (I usually close a night, or play in the middle of the night – so-called peak-time). It’s not always easy, though, when I’m on stage. Sometimes there’s too much light flooding the stage and I cannot see out. Sometimes, I literally have to take my headphones off, so that I can walk to the side of the stage, and look out, to see how I am doing. I remember one day a very long time ago when I was buying records (yes, that long ago) at a store in London, when another DJ turned to me and asked how I was choosing my tracks. I replied that I was looking for music that I felt was appropriate for where I was playing, and also music that would connect with the crowd and make them happy to hear them. “You’re just such a crowd pleaser” was his reply, as if it was some sort of insult. Actually, the crowd are the ones paying to be put in the right mood with the DJs music, so if I’m not pleasing them, I’m not doing my job well. (Take your shirt off mid-set if you really want to please the crowd you sexy fukka..AT!!)
What has been the highlight of your DJ career to date ?
I must say one that truly sticks in my mind is PiG Berlin 2008, at Kraftwerk Rummelsberg. I still have one of the posters hanging here in my office. The venue was enormous, and built from scratch, there was no electricity or running water in the building. Everything was installed from the ground up; the sound system, lighting and production were powered by a huge generator running all night outside. The following week, there were reports of over 3500 men at the event Thats one busy dancefloor and even busier dark room). I remember arriving at the venue around 1am, and seeing a sea of bodies on the dancefloor. I could literally not see to the end of the huge, near pitch-black room. I would have guessed probably 2000 were on the dance floor, which suggests that the remaining 1500 were either at the bar, outside waiting for the toilets, or downstairs in the darkroom, being, well, pigs.
What would be your dream gig?
Right now (November 2020 date of interview mis pandemic)? I just dream of going back to play at live events again. I have been playing for only online streams, since March, when the pandemic struck, and I was grounded at home.
What is the funniest or most disastrous thing that has happened during a gig?
I’m trying to remember whether it was Berlin CSD (gay pride) in 2005 or 2006, when I was playing live on one of the trucks in the parade, sponsored by Hustlaball and Folsom Europe. The parade is about 7 hours long. It was a huge double-decker trailer. We must have had 150 people on two floors dancing (some naked). Half way through the parade, the skies darkened, and a thunderstorm broke out. I was not covered from the rain, which started pouring down through the trailer onto me, and onto the equipment. There were crew on the trailer scrambling to attach a tarpaulin to the trailer above me, to cover me from the rain. It’s a little scary to be standing half-wet on a metal frame with your back to a large generator with lightning crashing over your head!
Have you ever had sex or been offered it in the DJ booth?
Yes, I have. Both.
If we challenged you to pick one porn star to distract you with a blow job mid mix who would you choose and why… and do you think you could complete the mix properly?
I’m not distracted by porn stars, when I’m working. Sorry! They’re colleagues and many are friends. I’ve had them either on stage or in the booth performing for so long, I’ve learned to switch off paying any attention to what they’re doing.
A few years ago, you moved from your home in the UK to Germany what was behind that and what do you most like about your new homeland?
My boyfriend at the time (now my husband) moved to Germany in 2013 when we came to an agreement to leave the UK for Germany, for business reasons. It made more sense for me to relocate my business to mainland Europe, and for his career to flourish.What do I like the most about Germany? Everything works, and it’s all very punctual. I rarely see public transport not running to schedule, correct to the minute. If I see on the bus stop that the next one arrives at 11.23, it would be highly unusual for it not to arrive at most a minute before, or after. It’s left me a little spoiled, too. I find myself checking and tutting at my watch when the bus is more than a few minutes late, here.
The pandemic has cancelled events Worldwide for effectively a year how have you managed?
The gym and the music studio have kept me (mostly) sane. The gym is good for endorphins, keeps my spirits up, and I came to the decision that if I could not travel, my music would travel for me. I have also done online streams for various events and organizations around the world, and it has given them the opportunity to work with me during a time when I am effectively out of work, otherwise.
You have become infamous online for your Facebook ‘Everything’s Cancelled’ series. Which is your personal favourite and which one got the best response?
My personal favorite is Jason Momoa from Aquaman (I have since used the #Jackquaman hashtag a number of times on social media). The one that got the biggest response was actually Meryl Streep playing Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. I guess people find it funny that I would stick my face onto a female movie character.
Have you ever played Abba, George Michael or Britney at a gig and would you take a request if money was offered?
ABBA? No. George Michael? No. Britney? Yes, in the United States. It was in a regular gay club. The guy left 20 dollars in the booth. Haha
Do you have favourite fetishes yourself?
At fetish events, you will always see me dressed in leather (it is very rare that I am not).
What do you listen to at home or driving/training walking about and does your husband sometimes ask for some Celine Dion, Bob Marley or AC/DC for a change?
I listen to everything, when I am in the mood to. Everything from classical and world music, to the latest pop music around the world. When I’m doing something physical, something with a beat feels the best. Techno!
As the only DJ in History to win ‘Best Fetish DJ Of The Year’ more than once at The X Awards:World Gay Fetish Awards what advice would you give to any of our horny readers who fancy becoming a future disc spinner at International gay fetish events where you can smell the sex, lube, Crisco, piss and wasted spunk from your decks & hear the sounds of whipped asses through your headphones ?
Do your best to understand what the audience you are playing for expect to hear at these events, and what sort of mood or emotions you imagine wanting to paint for them. You are going to be the one to help put them in the right mood for the event, so think about what is appropriate, and more importantly, what is not and practice, practice practice.
How do fans follow or find out more about Jack Chang – your music, virtual gigs and future appearances?
The best place to find what I’m doing is on my webpage changmusic.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/djjackchang.officialfanpageYou can also find me on major social networks:instagram.com/changmusic
JACK CHANG – X-Awards Worlds Best DJ 2013, 2016