From studying together to running the turntables together across the Southeast Asia scene, the powerful friendship and artistic partnership of Sam Chung and Jeff Brotherston is only just beginning. “We met at the Art Institute of Vancouver in 2009. Over the years, we stayed in contact, [and] recently in 2016 we got back together over a few drinks and got inspired to do this project.”
Cue the creation of Napa Cabbage. “The idea behind it was to embrace our different backgrounds, upbringing, and perspectives after realizing how much a friendship with so much diversity has impacted our lives as individuals for the better.” Jeff Brotherston was born and raised in Surrey, while Sam Chung was born in Richmond.
Despite growing up in different cities with different backgrounds, the two had their parallels in the realm of music. “Music was always a massive part of our lives. When we were young, we played many instruments and [were] always musically active in our own circles.” The pair was both classically trained in piano since the age of four. The both learned to play guitar in their youth. And the pair both played the saxophone in high school as well. “I know, crazy, but we somehow ended up doing it all at the same time starting [from] four-years-old,” said Brotherston.
The pair met at the Vancouver Art Institute when they were enrolled in the same intake group for their Professional Recording Arts, Audio Engineering in 2009, and they eventually crossed the graduation stage together in 2011. During this time, DJ’ing was being brought to light with the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) genre on the rise, and as the duo described it, “naturally, we were attracted to it.”
“We pretty much [evolving] alongside the industry. We actually entered the industry during the biggest changes when [the] internet was really taking off for music, during the rise of middle-tier artists. We were still learning to use tape when we were in school so the contrast of the changes were huge from our perspective.”
They both explain that there are many ways someone can learn to DJ and mix. “We find that the internet is a fantastic resource if you have the patience to stick with it you can learn a lot!” “Growing is a part of success, and with growing comes growing pains, but we just rolled with the punches. We are always learning and evolving as necessary, and just smile and have a good time.”
When producing tracks, they mention that they are using a mixture of various equipment and technology: laptops, synthesizers, keyboards, speakers, and audio interfaces. “When it comes to live shows, we use CDJ’s, which are basically digital turntables.” Napa Cabbage primarily focuses on producing dance music, full of fast transitions and big drops in their sets.
As the boys say, “it’s all about the crowd pumping!” Quoting Illenium, 1788-L, and Brooks as some of their biggest inspirations, the duo has continued to become inspired and further develop their signature sound together over the past few years. After a few releases, they began receiving traction and recognition in the Southeast Asia scene.
“[We] got to work with Platinum Recording Artist, Wanting Qu. We also got the attention from labels like, Cros Music, Universal, and Sony.” Despite performing throughout Southeast Asia, they stay equally close to their roots. Now, the pair continues to be highly involved and integrated into the Surrey community.
Brotherston has worked for the City of Surrey for nearly twelve years, and through their friendship, Chung was introduced into the Surrey community and now works for the City as well and has adopted Surrey as his own. As for local gigs? They are putting a lot of their energy into the studio producing new music. But they still manage to secure some pretty big local appearances. “We actually just finished playing for the Vancouver Canucks game at Rogers Arena” with the help of a personal connection at the Vancouver Canucks Marketing Team.
When asked how the duo felt about Surrey’s current accommodations towards helping the local music scene thrive, the boys state that “over the last few years, Surrey has been active in promoting all kinds music through festivals like FVDED In The Park, Fusion Festival, and other events. There’s always opportunity for improvement in everything and we feel Surrey is on the right track.”
“The beautiful thing about music is that no matter who you are or where you’re from, we can all connect together through it. It’s a language of its own and that’s what we love so much about it. This is especially beneficial for a city with such a diverse community like Surrey.” To stay in-the-loop on Napa Cabbage’s latest releases and upcoming gigs check the on on their social media pages or stream them on Spotify now!