Diaspora & Australia: DJ JADE FOX, "highlighting my Khmer roots''
Dear readers, for the first time in my series of portraits for Cambodge Mag, we are going to Australia, and this for you to discover the DJ JADE FOX.
Born in Melbourne, to a British father and a Khmer mother, JADE has now become an essential part of the Australian music scene. DJ, performer and producer, we find her on the turntables of mythical places like the REVOLVER UPSTAIRS but also in most clubs all over Australia.
You are Australian but you proudly claim your Khmer origins. How was this culture present in your upbringing?
I am extremely proud of it. And it is true that I always put forward my Khmer heritage when it was hardly present during my childhood. My mother did not teach me the language. I learned it as an adult from a teacher named Linda. At school in particular, we were only 3 Asians.
Tell us a bit about your family and how did they come to Australia?
My refugee mother from the KR arrived in Australia at the age of 16, accompanying other Cambodians (the majority of her family having unfortunately been exterminated during this tragic period).
How do you position the Khmer community on this continent?
It is not very present in Melbourne, but I feel lucky to have been able to find one online. Finding people with similar experiences and backgrounds in this way is an incredible adventure in my eyes. This approach definitely made me feel less alone.
Sakyants are an integral part of your personality. What was your first tattoo and why this choice?
They are extremely important to me because they represent our culture, give me strength and make me feel even more connected to the community. I did my first in Cambodia… And I continue since.
What are the strengths of our culture that you like to share?
I find that where I am, few people know Cambodia – or even where it is. I like to pass on to them what I know.
Do you often go home?
As often as I can
What touches you the most when you go to Srok Khmer?
—resilience – and a smile – despite all the hardships our people have been through.
—Meet people who have nothing or little and seem happy.
—It reminds me every time how lucky I was to have grown up in a comfortable environment.
Are there causes in the country that are close to your heart or projects that you would like to carry out in Cambodia?
Yes definitely. A friend based in Siem Reap has set up an NGO (REACH) for education, which I support unconditionally.
About your work: how did you come to be a DJ ?
The result of chance following the Covid. The desire to share fun and my passion for my music.
How long have you been doing it?
Is it more difficult for a woman to evolve in this environment?
Yes, because we are extremely few and we are severely judged and must constantly prove more.
-But I have very good memories of my beginnings-
Are there a lot of Asians and are there a lot of Cambodians in the Australian music industry?
Unfortunately, not (whether Asian or colors in general) and I look forward to the moment when all this will change. Australia remains a white-dominated country – that’s a fact.
When you are on stage, do you sometimes highlight your Khmer identity?
Little for the moment but I hope to be able to have the opportunity to do it in the future, in particular by introducing Khmer sounds in my creations or my mixes
What are your future plans in your profession?
I focus on two distinct paths:
- Obviously evolve to the maximum as a DJ
- specialize in nutrition, an area that challenged me during my first visit to Srok, faced with the issues related to all this.
Finally, any advice to give about your job?
If you like music: go for it!
Interview by Chantha R ( Françoise Framboise )