Dance music heavyweight Shaun Duvet  

by Evan Milton

Cape Town DJ Shaun Duvet co-headlines the 149th running of the prestigious L'Ormarins Queen's Plate in January, ensuring the highest pedigree of thoroughbreds on both track and dancefloor.

 When the L'Ormarins Queen's Plate launched its unique Style Lounge Village last year, Shaun Duvet was the obvious choice of DJ to round off the quality night of entertainment which followed the afternoon's racing, fashion and new year fun. For January 2010, he returns for what he dubs "some of the sexiest work I have seen" in terms of the event, production, organisation, style and crowd.
"Right now, it's a whirlwind time of year," says Shaun, freshly off the "Rock The Boat" cruise-liner experience that he co-pioneered, a music-infused adventure which saw the DJ accompany singer Farrel Adams (The Little Sinners), 5FM's DJ Fresh and others on a music-filled jaunt to Zanzibar, with tickets to the cruise selling out in two days. "Whirlwind" is something of an understatement for a man who is as much the high profile "name" DJ, naturally in high demand over season while, behind-the-scenes, he is the co-founder of Anything Goes, a business he founded to handle multiple facets of the electronic and dance music world, from promotion to remixes, and from bookings to song licensing, and also founded The Bang Bang Club, long-standing prime Loop Street dance venue.
"Bang Bang?" smiles Shaun. "It's still rocking four nights a week. We've overcome that treacherous 'just two seasons' Cape Town club mentality. Sometimes we have to close the doors at midnight and can't let any more people in. Our strategy from day one - and this won't ever change - was to be an electronic dance music venue. Through the years, we've found the DJs and the promoters to create different identities on different nights. There are different shades, but the core is that we are a club for electronic music and a club for dance music."
"As the kids get older," he continues, "You always get a new, fresh young crowd. As long as we keep in touch with the up-and-coming DJs, we make sure the club is fresh, and I believe the business can sustain itself forever. I'm getting loads of email for 2010 coming through already - people who want to book the club on the night of a World Cup event. We've got people coming out from Sweden, Germany, London... everywhere. All asking what's going on; looking at the website and needing information on where to go. It's nice to know that the marketing we've been doing since we started has worked and has hit home: people in Cape Town, and South Africa, and across the globe, know who we are and what we are about."
As a DJ, Shaun has played across the country and across the world, and has played with Fatboy Slim, Stanton Warriors, Goldie, Cut La Roc, Danny Rampling, Blackalicious, Jazzanova, Kaskade, Mylo, Basement Jaxx and Pete Tong amongst others. He has released albums through Soul Candi including "Pure Silk", "Cafe Caprice with the Milkbar Kid", "Opium CD" with Dean Fuel, "From Cape Town With love" with Phat Jack, "The Bang Bang Club CD" and recently contributed tracks to the Goldfish "Perceptions Of Pacha Remixed" album, and has had tracks signed to Sony, Pacha and CR2 (Carl Cox's record label), and is completing a track with RJ Benjamin for release in the new year. He also has the sole rights to the Ministry Of Sound parties in South Africa, and works with Buddha Bar, Global Underground, Hed Kandi and Playboy Mansion.
Shaun is delighted about playing the L'Ormarins Queen's Plate Style Lounge set again in 2010. "I can't wait," he grins. "It's one of the dates on my calendar that I really look forward to - an amazing crowd, a fantastic setting, just the right amount of people and a really beautiful event. The production organisers did an incredible job last year and it's looking even better this time, plus people really get dressed up for the occasion and they're seriously out to party and have a great time, so that's always a good combination. It almost feels like you're playing for a Hollywood set with celebrities and debutantes. I'll be playing some of my tunes, the Goldfish remixes, the new track, 'Sun Lovers' from Germany and a good range of bootlegs which I've made myself in the studio - nothing in there except good time party music. Every gig you do, when people want to get down, it doesn't matter who you are, or how much you've got in your bank account, if you want to party, then you'll do exactly that.
With over a decade DJing across the land, and producing local and international tracks for global release, , Shaun is perfectly placed to comment on the state of the South African electronic music and  dance scenes. "It's a very exciting place at the moment," he says. "Ryan Dent and I were just talking about that - a general chit-chat about how the digital world gives people that opportunity now. When I was growing up, you'd have to walk to catch a taxi to get to House Africa on Louis Botha Avenue in Joburg, and there you could afford maybe one vinyl record, and you knew there were only ten of those records in the country. As opposed to today, where you just get online - and that's a good, thing. It breeds a lot of DJs and that grows the scene. Kids are getting into little mixes on their iPods, and starting to make music from a young age. That means they need to work twice as hard to stand out because there's so much competition, but that makes a healthy scene. Plus, there are new genres like dubstep and the indie-rock crossing over into electronic. I've never been one to pigeon-hole: good dance music is good dance music, and I think that South Africa has a very healthy scene and, as long as people keep exploring, that scene will always be healthy."
Shaun Duvet headlines the L'Ormarins Queen's Plate VIP Style Lounge on 9 January with Gang of Instrumentals, Goldfish and Just Jinjer (Kenilworth Racetrack; 11am to 11pm; dress code strictly blue and white; entrance to Style Lounge Village R250; tickets;

Shaun also hosts the New Year's Eve Ministry Of Sound at Bang Bang Club and plays the 5FM Fashion TV New Year's Eve party, as well as organising a seasonal five city tour of exclusive villa parties. After a show with Flash Republic, December and January also see a roadshow with Tasha Baxter and gigs with Just Jinjer. More on and The Bang Bang Club, with Shaun Duvet as resident DJ when he's not on tour, is at 70 Loop Street (c/o Hout Street; see

This column originally appeared in the Cape Argus 'Tonight; section on 19/20 December 2009. Find out more on .

Music journalist, Digital marketing strategist, SA Music Awards judge and radio DJ for Fine Music Radio.

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