Right now the Far East is going off, literally. The imagination of ‘cid heads and indeed everybody else was fired when China joined Russia and the US by sticking an astronaut in a rocket called Shenzhou ("Divine Vessel") and sending him skyward.
Lt. Col. Yang Liwei, 38, was quoted thus: “I will not disappoint the motherland. I will complete each movement with total concentration. And I will gain honour for the People's Liberation Army and for the Chinese nation.” R'spec'.
[/center]But what else is happening in the region? Plenty, from the responses we got when we quizzed some other exponents of the leading-edge leisure technology culture known as “rave”.
Island personality Jill Canney organised Heineken-sponsored Ibiza tour of China in 2001 (Partyonibiza.com
). Last week we asked her if she was surprised by the Chinese achievement.
“No I think China is the next world power. They’re so organised and on it. Everybody knows what they’re doing, and gets on with what they gotta do.”
How would you describe the reaction of the locals during your tour?
Bemused, enthusiastic, open, curious, interested, though it’s not like they don’t have their own music. But definitely receptive.
Are you planning to go back there again?
Yes, in the very near future. Watch this space.[center]
Michael Vonplon from Cheesebeat is in China right now. His organisation had a float on the recent Rio Parade
) and even did an event on the Great Wall of China in '98.
How's it going, Mike?
Well, I am back Beijing, and therefore I am very happy. I haven’t been here for almost a year, also cause of SARS. The last 7 years, I have been travelling to Beijing almost every other 3 month together with Delabass, my Cheesebeat Partner from Switzerland. Due to Sars and obligations in Switzerland, it has been over a year since. To be back finally is now even more exciting.
I just came back from Xian where I have been playing music in a newly opened Club (in almost every Chinese city there are new clubs opening almost every month). Last weekend we have been playing in my friend and partners new club Cloud09 an amazing night indeed.
The club is beautiful and I am sure we do have many more unforgettable nights there. Tomorrow DJ Gogo
is arriving in Beijing too; we play together this coming Friday night. Saturday we fly to Shanghai where we will play 2 gigs and an after hour party.
DJ Gogo in China
[/center]What does your organisation do exactly?
We do organise one and off events at special locations here in China but also in Switzerland. We organise club tours all over China, also at places where people never heard that kind of music, kind of missionary work really. Basically we do bring Chinas best DJs to Europe and on the other hand European DJs to China, kind of a culture exchange.[center]
Girls ripe for some cultural exchange
[/center]What is your role in the organisation?
I am the founder of Cheesebeat. In the beginning I used to DJ a lot. By now I am more concentrating on the marketing and the business aspects of our organisation. Also I am the link between Cheesebeat Europe and China. For sure I still love to DJ myself, mostly in the morning hours:)
How many people do you work with?
There is my long time friend Zhang Youdai. He has been the first man to ever play western music over the Radio here in China and he is a event organiser for many years. He is probably the most known music journalist in China with lots of contacts. Due to our work here for many years, we have a huge network of people. Mian Mian, a internationally acclaimed writer from Shanghai, does help us to promote our gigs in Shanghai. And there is Philippe, my DJ Partner and also Co-organiser for many years. We always do come together to China. Philippe, alias Delabass, is one of the best underground DJs I have heard so far. It is very lucky to have him playing so many years here in China.
Where are you doing parties?
Everywhere we can! Mostly however in China and Switzerland but we also set up events in France, Germany, Brasil etc., unfortunately never in Ibiza yet. The most stunning nights were the first ever Great Wall event in 1998 and the Stone Forrest of Kunming one, where over 6000 people danced for the first time in their life until the morning hours, it was amazing. The music even catched the police, security people - everybody was dancing. For sure the Street Parade 2001, when we invited over 30 Chinese to attend on our truck, was a great experience. You find great pics of those events on our website www.cheesebeat.com
How was the Rio Parade?
Excellent! Although it was soo much hassle to bring the Chinese to Brasil. There was SARS during that time and you can imagine how many difficulties we had to go through to bring them over. However the Parade and the final party after the Parade compensated all the trouble. We played at the very end of the final party in front of 10,000 Brasilian ravers who went totally nuts. Impressive indeed.
Are you going to be back next year?
Hopefully! According to Adrian (the parade's president)
it looks like it.
What kind of music do you play?
Our music style depends on the venue and time of the night. It ranges from funky minimal house to forward techno. Basically our sets consist of different elements of electronic music except the trancy progressive stuff which we got bored with by now. Music needs to have a good chunk of funk.
Did you hear about the first Chinese astronaut in space?
Sure we did! Beijing is full of posters celebrating this happening. We therefore decided to show the Tintin Film Trip to the Moon
as background visuals during our party last Friday in Cloud09.
Were you surprised by this achievement?
No, for sure not. China is developing so quickly, you would not believe it if you haven’t seen it with your own eyes. It is only a matter of a few years until they land on the moon.
What's the reaction of the locals to house music, uh uh, house music at your parties?
Well, five years ago they didn’t really know how to dance to it, so they just shook their heads like you do when you’re at a rock concert. But that’s long gone. Now they dance like all party people in the world. Traditionally the Chinese are more into melodic music rather than rhythmic stuff. But like everything here that’s about to change.
Prediction for the future of club culture in Asia?
I can only talk for China. Japan already has a big dance scene. Here in China more and more clubs open, different styles of music come up and it does not differ much from Europe anymore. We will definitely try to establish a good dance culture with at the Club Cloud09, with the best local Chinese Djs but also with foreign DJs we do invite.
When and where is your next big party?
We are going to have a big party tomorrow again in Cloud09 and the day after in Shanghai. For next year we do intent to again be part at the Street Parade and we also plan to organise a huge music festival at a special location somewhere in China. Be aware!!! [center]
Yoji Biomehanica is Japan’s biggest and freakiest dj. He’s playing at Mr C’s
London venue the End
) this Sunday and his services have been contracted by Space for an upcoming foray into Japanese territory next month
, on November 23. We got in contact with his manager Cyrus about his charge in particular and the Jap scene in general. [center]
How has this year been for bizness compared to last year?
Its going ok, for us last year was a lot better. I think clubbers are getting bored of the same style of entertainment and a new breed of events will soon need to come into the picture to boost the global scene back up. Things are down now, but I am optimistic.
Yoji is the only DJ I look after full time. It’s a lot of work and his profile is on the rise around the world. I also manage tours and bookings for many other artists (www.djlinks.com) and super-clubs such as Ministry of Sound.
Do you do dates in other countries? What's the scene like in the rest of Asia? What other parties have you attended around the world?
I used to organize events in Western Canada a few years ago before moving to Japan. We did the first legal rave in western Canada in the late 90s and paved the way for these parties to be put on with the approval of the law, but at the moment I only put on events in Japan. I don’t have enough knowledge about the rest of the Asian scene to comment on it, but from what I do know its growing in a healthy rate.
I have been lucky to attend major parties and clubs around the world. I have been most impressed by the scene in Holland, Switzerland and Ibiza![center]
Yoji @ Dance Valley 2003
[/center]What did you think of the White Isle?
I love Ibiza! Coincidentally last time I was there, our apartment was right across the street from SPACE and I think the rest of that story is obvious! Ibiza is definitely one of my favorite places to party ;)
What's the scene in Tokyo like? What kind of music do people like? Where do people go for a good time? Are there any illegal parties, or is it all done in clubs?
Tokyo has a very unique scene, try and imagine what a nightclub would look like in the movie “Blade Runner”! The various forms of Trance are the most popular dance music in Tokyo. Most parties are in clubs, although there are a few festivals. Everything is legal…more or less!
Has the banning of magic mushrooms made a difference to the scene? What do people take when they go out?
[/center]Mushrooms are not a big party drug here, so the effect on the clubs was not a big factor. Although psychedelic drugs of all kinds are the most popular in Japan, it is quite surprising to see the number of people at parties with no substance in their system. I certainly had expected more of it to be present.
When did you first meet Yoji? How would you describe him to someone who had never seen him play? Why is he so big in Japan? How do his fans see him?
I met Yoji because he wanted his track remixed from a good friend of mine (Scot Project) and I helped arrange it, shortly after that he agreed to play for an event I had in the plans (TRAFFIC) which seemed quite risky at the time. It was the first real super-club style party in Japan and due to Yoji’s popularity it was a massive success.
I would describe Yoji is a full on entertainer, he is a refreshing element much needed in the DJ world. It doesn’t matter if you like his music or not, once you see him perform, you will agree that he is more than just a DJ. His fans in Japan are crazy for him, to give an example, SEIKO made him his own personal watch which was made available for sale all over Japan! That’s how popular he is!
Where are you right now? What are you doing tonight?
I am in Montreal, Canada and as a matter of fact trying very hard to have our designer prepare the Japan´s SPACE flyer in time for our deadline, which is very near!!!
Other positive developments include the granting of the first 24 hour license for classy club Centro in Singapore’s already swinging scene. However things in Thailand seem to be regressing, with the Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra vowing his country would be “drug free” by the end of the year. So far over 1,000 suspected addicts and dealers have been shot dead by police since the purge began.
With regards to image credits, the photo of the moon was taken by Dave Brophy (thnx m8), the one of Jill by me (Michael Francis Stuart), and we got all the pix of China courtesy of cheesebeat.com site. Cyrus gave us the one of him and Yoji, and all the rest were stolen via a Google search. Apologies if we've violated copyright anywhere.