PETALING JAYA: Like most Malaysians, Sean Leng, 7UFO to his fans, was concerned when he first learnt the Movement Control Order (MCO) would be imposed in March.
The 22-year-old self-taught DJ and music producer came quickly to the shocking realisation that his life and career were about to be turned on their head.
“At the time of the MCO, I was an intern at Maveriq Studios,” Sean told FMT. “Needless to say, I was devastated. My internship has been put on hold until further notice.”
Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Sean displayed an affinity for music as a young boy. “I was five when my sister got herself a Walkman CD player. That was the first time I experienced music through earphones and it has been in my ears since.”
Listening to his musical idols — Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta and Kylie Minogue — Sean realised early on that music was what he wanted to do with his life.
As a teenager, he first learnt the art of deejaying, produced his first music and started playing in clubs.
Having been in the field for almost 10 years now, Sean is known for the signature emotional and euphoric music he conjures up with his turntables.
“Due to my widespread musical influences, a signature 7UFO DJ set can be a mix of many styles and genres: from EDM to hip hop, trap, R&B, pop and so on. My ultimate goal is to create music that is ‘out of this world’,” said Sean.
Speaking of “out of this world”, Sean chose his stage name, 7UFO, because of his fascination with unidentified flying objects.
Before the MCO kicked in, Sean had a steady stream of gigs, playing in some of KL’s best known clubs, such as the Red Room @TREC, Dragonfly, SIX Bangsar and SARO Lounge from Tuesday to Sunday.
The disruption of his routine and his income has been hard on him and everyone else in his field, but he is facing the challenge with a smile on his face.
“…in the deepest darkness, there will still be light. I have taken this opportunity to work on the skills I need for my performances.”
During the MCO period, he has been spending much of his time at home, refining his production skills and creating musical set pieces.
In fact, being stuck at home has improved his health. He is keeping fit with exercise and he is finally getting the sleep he needs after years of burning the candle at both ends.
While some of his fellow artistes have turned to online streaming platforms to continue performing, Sean is unlikely to follow suit.
“Personally, I do not enjoy livestreaming my DJ sets,” he said, adding that nothing compares to the reaction and energy of a live audience.
“My audiences get more excited when they physically experience what I have up my sleeve since the last time they’ve seen me.”
The inability to perform in clubs as he used to has affected his exposure but he has not been inactive. He has been hard at work on four new singles and an album that are to be released soon.
While Sean is uncertain whether things will go back to what they were once the pandemic subsides, he is hopeful the Malaysian nightlife scene will return and thrive.
During these trying times, music has remained a constant companion to Sean and it helps him to keep going.
“Come hell or high water, knowing this pandemic is affecting everyone, I think music can be a great healer and it can take you outside your troubles,” he said.
“Ultimately, it can move people in ways they would never imagine.”