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MY PHNOM PENH: Khun Vatheanith

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Pink-haired Khun Vatheanith, 21, better known as DJ Maily, has become a fixture on the Phnom Penh club scene since winning last year’s Pioneer DJ Battle. Brent Cranet

MY PHNOM PENH: Khun Vatheanith


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Nova is a really high-class club. It’s a really small place but it’s nice, better than other places.

They play a lot of hip- hop – old school, classic style. No electronic. No EDM or dubstep. It’s for older people, not teenagers.

I started playing there first in 2013 and soon became a resident DJ. Now I play four days a week, from 11:30pm to around 1am.

I like the club because it’s comfortable: nice music, nice crowds, nice interior, good lighting, good sound system.

Before, it had more of a Khmer crowd, but now there are a lot of foreigners, Europeans mostly.

And they’re always doing events in there, which I really like. Next month, DJ Cash Money, who was the first-ever inductee to the Technics DJ Hall of Fame is playing there.

KTH Power Mall

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KTH Power Mall is where I go to buy DJing equipment and train, and they have several locations around Phnom Penh.

They sell a lot of Pioneer DJ equipment and have very good stuff: turntables, mixers, headphones… many things.

I always go there when I need something new. Last year, they held the Pioneer DJ Battle there, which I won.

Then I went on to compete in the Asia competition in the Philippines.

Now, KTH provides me a good showroom for training. I’m always hanging out there. 


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Riverhouse was the first club to open in Cambodia. They’ve been here for 15 years.

They were also the first club that let me play when I was 19. I learned how to DJ from playing for the crowds.

I was really nervous, but it was a great start to DJing. Actually, my first audition, I failed.

I had just started learning and I didn’t even know the basic skills. I was too excited after they gave me a chance to audition.

But I knew nothing. I couldn’t even mix properly and I failed the audition. After that, I went home and trained for two months.

Every day, six to eight hours a day. When I went back after two months to audition again, I passed. Now I always have a good experience at the Riverhouse.

Home Studio, Cbar Ampov 

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My studio is in my apartment. I live there with my mom. It’s in my bedroom actually. It’s called Bedroom Session.

I have a simple daily routine: wake up, shower, eat, go to my studio, where I train on my turntable gear.

Mostly I focus on my scratching skills. I usually train for two or three hours a day.

I love to spend my time on my DJ skills, turntable skills. Sometimes I sit down [on my computer] and teach myself how to produce beats.

I’m moving to a new house soon though, with a real, professional studio. I plan to open a training academy there to train young DJs. 

Lycee Preah Sisowath (Sisowath High School)

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I graduated from Lycee Preah Sisowath in 2010. It used to be the number one school in Phnom Penh.

My time in high school has inspired me a lot. I didn’t have many friends, but I loved to study.

I was interested in IT and also in Khmer literature and history and football, too.

I always liked to go and watch the soccer matches. I was also involved in the student government. In grade 12, I became interested in filmmaking.

But I’ve always loved music, since age 6. I have good memories of high school. I learned a lot there.

Sometimes I love to go there now, because they have good street food out in front.

The vendors are really nice people and they always remember me. 


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