Interviews

From footballers to DJs : The brothers who ditched their boots to drop the beat

Fariz Zulhilmi and Fazrin Hawafi were en route to forging a career in football - going on overseas training stints and featuring for Singapore’s National Football Academy (NFA) Under 18 and U-15 teams respectively. But these days, they have hung up their boots and donned headphones instead, FourFourTwo finds out just why...

We are part of The Trust Project What is it?

As Fariz Zulhilmi and Fazrin Hawafi reminisce about their playing days, one cannot help but notice something slightly amiss in the room that the brothers share in a five room HDB flat.

Apart from a framed A5-sized poster of Cristiano Ronaldo, there is absolutely nothing to suggest that the duo, who were once on trials with Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers and Japan’s Albirex Niigata, had been immensely dedicated to the beautiful game.

It’s our passion and we would do anything if it means it will enable me to give people a good show and enjoy the music

- Fariz Zulhilmi

There is no sign of football boots, despite several pairs of sneakers neatly lined up in the corner of the room.

Neither are there football magazines, only a thick stack of papers on a study table which read “Doppelgangers Music Production notes”.

What is conspicious however, is a professional microphone, studio monitors, a digital electronic keyboard, headphones and sturdy looking speakers.

The room could almost pass of as a studio and the setting is a tell-tale sign of the brothers' dedication to their craft.

Their new craft.

The duo playing a set at Zouk

“The first time I knew I wanted to be a DJ was when I stepped into the club for the first time as an 18-year-old,” revealed Fariz, now 23 and a former goalkeeper for the NFA U-17 and U-18 side.

“I wanted to be the guy to be in charge of the music, and be the reason why people were having fun.

We spend a lot of time and money on our music but when you see the people dancing and having fun, we feel like the hours and money we spent is beyond worth it

- Fariz Zulhilmi

“My brother shared the same sentiments and we decided on being a duo with him handling the production side of matters while I handle the mixing of the songs especially during live shows.

“We have spent over $1000 on the software and equipment. It’s our passion and we would do anything if it means it will enable me to give people a good show and enjoy the music.

 “DJ-ing had always been just a hobby we enjoyed but when we were both done with football, we started with small gigs that we secured through a connection and slowly we started getting more offers to play at shows.

“We spend a lot of time and money on our music but when you see the people dancing and having fun, we feel like the hours and money we spent is beyond worth it.”

Fariz (second from left) during his time in Japan

It was not long ago, however, that the pair were as devoted to honing their skills on the pitch.

Having caught the eye as youngsters, Fariz and Fazrin, a promising central midfielder who was part of the NFA U-15s squad that competed in the 2012 Lion City Cup, were first selected for training stints at Japanese side Albirex Niigata, before being invited for a 10-day training stint with Wolves in 2013.

If you didn’t get to play in the league match that week, a friendly would be arranged in midweek for the reserves to get game time and be assessed

- Fazrin Hawafi

"I appreciated how they (Wolves) ensured each youth player was given playing time throughout the season. If you didn’t get to play in the league match that week, a friendly would be arranged in midweek for the reserves to get game time and be assessed," recalled Fazrin.

"And even in terms of technique, the players were top notch, I realised then that our players needed to work so much harder to be on the same level or anywhere near teams like Wolves."

[NEXT: Brought back down to earth]