Jonny Vicious is a house, techno and disco DJ who founded Shagirlla, a Queer Centric Party and Club Event. With his musical background and an untapped potential to discover a new art form, Shagrilla was founded. He is also the Music Director for Pisco Bar KL where he books all international and local DJ’s and Live Acts. He was part of the team of people that created Circoloco Kuala Lumpur.
How do you find inspiration for your work?
Musically speaking, I have always tried to step away from the norm. Whenever there is an empty space for music listeners, I try my best to fill that void and provide the best listening experience for my audience. For instance, I was one of the few who kickstarted the house and techno scene in Malaysia as there were no stable local nights who were doing that kind of music.
I also used to travel a lot so I would try my best to bring back a piece of what I heard and experienced abroad back to Malaysia. That is because I wanted people to realize that the local house, techno and disco scene could be just as good as the ones in Europe.
What inspired you to establish Shagrilla?
As I have mentioned, I live to fill empty spaces and do things that have never been done before. After being in the DJ scene, I realized that there was no club night that revolved around queer culture. Given my background as a DJ, I decided to throw a queer centric party so these people can also have a good time and I wanted the element of drag to be more club-kids friendly.
Hence, that is why we decided to dress our Drag Queens in a ‘Club Kid’ look. This unique flamboyant style encapsulated what it was like to be in a club in the early 2000s. The Club Kid style almost made my Drag Queens looks like pieces of art which really helped people to be more receptive of queer culture. It was also a safe environment for people in the community to express themselves.
The name Shagrilla came to me when I was on a boat in China. I was sailing through this beautiful fake Shangri La that had flowers. For some reason, that made me want to throw a party as beautiful as that fake Shangri La. Shag is also the British slang for sex so pair those two ideas together and you get the word: Shagrilla.
In your opinion, what was the best project you ever worked on?
Shagrilla was the most rewarding party I worked on in the past 10 years of my career. There was this huge sense of accomplishment knowing that I had created something bigger than I ever thought it would become. I am happy to know that I have done something for the queer community and created a space for peple to be who who they want to be. In terms of production, Circocolo Kuala Lumpur was the biggest one I have worked on.
What were some of the challenges you faced throughout your creative journey?
I am a very proactive person. Hence, I don’t really see problems as problems - they are just obstacles or hurdles that I need to overcome to get to my end goal. One of the biggest challenges I faced was the underfunding to the art that I am doing. Since we are in Malaysia, there is not much financial support from the Government for my line of work.
I am happy to know that I have done something for the queer community and created a space for people to be who who they want to be.
What do you hope to achieve with your work?
Generally, I hope that people will be more receptive of our work given the amount of effort we have put into it. I also wish that people will be educated on the different kinds of styles and music that are out there as the house, techno and disco music are circulating with a niche amount of people in the city.
People’s experience and taste in music would be different if they have ever lived or studied abroad. Coming back to Malaysia, I hope to change people’s mind and perspective about the different kinds of music and styles that are out there.
Who are 3 local Creative Crushes that inspire you?