In Tune with DJ Patrice, HK’s Mother of House & Inclusivity
Hong Kong/ Vibe/ Artists

In Tune with DJ Patrice, Mother of House Music Spinning Inclusivity in HK

In Tune With DJ Patrice IWD header

As a special edition of In Tune With, this interview is part of The Beat Asia’s International Women’s Month coverage. By highlighting women's voices, we celebrate and uplift the women around us, showcasing their stories and multifaceted experiences.

Armed with a radiant smile, vibrant party girl style outfits, and her signature blonde hair, DJ Patrice has been a familiar name in Hong Kong’s nightlife space for nearly two decades. Deftly spinning a mix of thumping house tunes, funk, and bouncy grooves that lift your spirits and get your feet moving, she has been a longtime favourite at some of the city's most renowned LGQBT+ venues and party mainstays.

Embodying the dance floor as a space that welcomes all, DJ Patrice is a longtime performer who stands as part of a colourful community with inclusivity at its heart. Having performed deep into her pregnancy and even side-by-side with her baby behind the decks later on, The Beat Asia caught up with DJ Patrice to explore her unique experiences as a female DJ and mother.

DJ Patrice escalante performance junk boat hong kong

How did you begin your DJ career in Hong Kong?

In 2008, 5 years into DJing, I was brought to Hong Kong from Manila, Philippines to be the resident DJ of one of the bars in Lan Kwai Fong in D'aguilar Street.

What are the biggest misconceptions about being a DJ?

That DJ-ing is as easy as just pressing buttons. There are a lot of factors related to DJing than just “playing” songs – there's proper counting, transition, balance of sound, et cetera. We DJs know and have all the songs in the world. We are not jukeboxes - we have our own music, and we have specific styles and genres as individual DJs.

Do you think there is a difference in treatment towards female DJs and male DJs both by the industry and by crowds? If so, what have been some industry/job expectations that differ?

Yes, there is somehow a difference in treatment. They see female DJs as eye candy. But proper skills are required for all genders for DJing!

DJ Patrice escalante performance with baby

I’ve been told of the iconic photo of you spinning tracks while cradling your baby at the same time – that blew my mind. What was the story behind that?

It was at Janette Slack's celebration of life at Petticoat Lane. A lot of DJs were there, playing one after the other and volumes were adjusted to be baby-friendly.

We thought that that's what she would've wanted (me bringing my baby) as she was teaching DJing to all ages. I wanted my baby to experience that moment outside the womb, finally, as I had been playing all throughout my pregnancy and got back to work 2 weeks post-partum.

How do you strike a balance between motherhood and your DJ career?

My baby daughter has the same body clock as me for now, which helps me a lot when it comes to getting a good rest. We listen to music at home for reviewing and sound tripping before work. It's good to expose them to different kinds of music at an early age!

DJ Patrice escalante performance pregnancy

You have quite a prominent presence amongst Hong Kong’s beloved and popular LGQBT+ venues, as well as having performed at Pink Dot festival. What do you think makes the music/party scene such an open-minded and inclusive space for people from all backgrounds?

I'm fortunate to have lots of friends in the community. They are an outgoing, fun-loving crew who throw some of the best parties!

What’s your favourite part of performing and playing music?

Tequila. Just kidding!

My favorite part of performing is seeing people dance. I like "cooking" the crowd, starting mellow first then progressing to more groovy, upbeat, energetic music.

When it comes to playing music, I love hearing the sounds blend smoothly, like in House Music where I can mix in a song for a minute or more. I get goosebumps sometimes when it sounds smooth and nice harmonically.

DJ Patrice escalante performances in Hong Kong

What type of music is your ‘bread and butter’ to play, and what are some new genres/styles you have been enjoying lately?

Definitely House Music!

Lately, I've been listening to a lot of chill tracks like soul, nu disco, amapiano and some Jackin' House when I'm relaxing or running an errand.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

My mother. She used to play music all the time when we were younger until I took over the sound system at home. Haha!

She loved ballroom dancing, and that's how I got exposed to the classic music of the 70s. She listened to a lot of Disco, Astrud Gilberto, The Carpenters, Angela Bofill and some other bunch of stuff during the cassette and CD eras. She was the first person who took me to a club when I was a kid in the 90s.

What’s next in store for DJ Patrice?

More Drag Brunches on the way! I've been doing some with Mocha Diva nowadays and will have another drag brunch at Carlyle & Co. sometime in April 2024 with The Dollhouse.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Click here to see the rest of our International Women’s Month series.

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