The Frisky Loves series is back with a trip to China, where a large group of dedicated DJs will be featuring the best from their local dance music scenes. Bringing us the sound of the underground, Frisky Loves China will be a unique showcase that will transmit the energy and passion of these select DJs, bringing the listeners an unparalleled musical experience. In order to learn more about the sound and feel of China and Hong Kong’s electronic music scenes, we asked a few of the show’s DJs to tell us about their distinct place in the industry.
FRISKY: Can you describe the underground electronic music scene in China/Hong Kong? What do you think are some of its unique characteristics that might be different from elsewhere?
NiChiFanLeMei (Hu Yang): I do not know when China’s electronic music scene is it started, but it is happening. Chinese people have their own very unique way of thinking. For example, they are more restrained than Westerners, and do not easily express themselves.
Ocean Lam: As I am based in HK, from what I am seeing now the underground scene is growing, but slowly. There are more and more promoters in HK and China doing many different cool underground events with guests from overseas as well as local artists. The main issue is the available venues. We can feel that people here are always up for good music, however, it is difficult to convince most of the bars and clubs here that underground music is good for business. I really hope in the future that we will have more supportive venues! There are some good underground clubs in China that I would like to mention, Arkham, Lantern & The Shelter. Bassment Bar, Oma & XXX are some of the best venues in HK which are always welcome for good underground music and always have good crowds.
FRISKY: Often people from outside China describe it as being a tough market to get into. What advice would you have for artists, labels or promoters trying to get gigs in China?
Ocean Lam: I think in order for artists/promoters/labels outside of China to get more gigs in China, they should get in touch with the suitable agencies who can hook them up with the right clubs, as Chinese clubs are big and try to promote their music not only through Facebook. Or maybe the artists can put add a Chinese description for their music, this might help. It should be easier for artists to promote their music in HK as there are many good pages on Facebook where you can easily find the right promoters or clubs to get more gigs here.
FRISKY: Which labels are the most influential, or best represent China’s electronic music scene?
NiChiFanLeMei (Hu Yang): China used to have one of the most influential electronic music label called Acupuncture Records but it has now disbanded. The main producer Elvis.T from Acupuncture Records created his new label project “Dot Records” for Techno and House. Also I run a label called “Passphrase Agentur”, which just released the 1st EP few month ago. Other labels are “Shanshui Records” for Electro, “Subculture” for Bass. It’s really hard to say which is the best, because everything is developing.
Sam Fall: I suppose Progressive Digital Station is the most influential progressive label in China.
Ocean Lam: Typhoon 8 records (Hong Kong-based techno & house label) and Dot Records based in China are the best to me. I am also helping Typhoon 8 Records looking for new good artists and music, and I had one release out this past December.
FRISKY: What genres are represented most often by local or touring DJs?
NiChiFanLeMei (Hu Yang): I think house music can work a lot of places. Beijing is good for Tech House and Techno, Shanghai always has more choice. Right now many young people like Dubstep, Electro or something else about high energy music. But it’s still not too big of a scene.
Sam Fall: Mashup and Electro House are considered to be the most widely used styles in China for now. But we PDS don’t like them, coz they’re too noisy.
Ocean Lam: Deep House, Techno & Tech House
FRISKY: Are there any local electronic music festivals or events that we should know about?
NiChiFanLeMei (Hu Yang): Yes: “Intro Electronic Music Festival” in Beijing. It started in 2009. I think it is the only one real underground electronic music and international level music festival – Chris Liebing, M.A.N.D.Y, Gui Boratto, Paul Ritch, Josh Wink, Christian Smith … and a lot of good local DJs.
Sam Fall: Shanghai Storm Electronic MusicFestival and Great Wall Music Festival are essential to know about.
Ocean Lam: Clockenflap Arts & Music Festival for sure! I played at this festival for the last 3 years and I would say that was the best DJing experiences and moments that I have ever felt in HK! I have my own event called “Hypnotic” and will have one event on 16 May with guest Tigerskin -Live (Dirt Crew Recording/Berlin), collaborating with Typhoon 8 Records, at Bassment! Dixon (Berlin) will be presented by our friends PUSH on the next day! Our other friends small&TALL are doing many good parties as well. If you are in HK, be sure to check them all out!
Tune into this unique glimpse of the underground sound of China and Hong Kong on Saturday April 26th starting at 11AM CET / 5PM Hong Kong! [convert timezone]