But it’s not just the live music scene — despite having an enormous number of nightclubs, there is no regular “big venue” supporting cutting-edge electronic music. A tour around the city’s clubs mimics an endless procession of commercial hip hop, bland house and cheesy trance at venues where large groups of Shanghainese nouveaux riche sit around countless tables with bottles of Chivas Regal gazing at tiny dancefloors.
But this Friday sees the launch of an event for the discerning clubber — a weekly night dedicated to a non-mainstream form of dance music. Microfabrique kicks off tomorrow evening at Fabrique and will run every Friday.
The brainchild of German couple Sebastian Scholz and Alexandra Weyrich, Micro was founded in May last year at the now defunct Madame Zung’s. After holding occasional parties every few months, the night is now going weekly.
Sebastian said, “We started off as micro club but we changed the name slightly to match the venue we play at so now its Microfabrique.”
The 31-year-old Frankfurter says Micro intends to provide clubbers with a full range of sensual experiences during their parties: “We have musical concept. We want to try and bring people in from the minimal electronic scene, and bring in additional forms of expression like live painting, vocalists and percussionists.”
The music of choice at Microfabrique will be microhouse — a minimal style of electronic music, focusing on subtle percussive and tonal changes, held together under the more familiar 4/4 rhythmic pattern common to many forms of dance music. A less aggressive but no less intense musical relative of minimal techno, the genre was developed in that veritable treasure chest of electronic styles — Germany.
Sebastian feels that the Shanghai club scene is finally starting to come of age as venue owners start to realise that with so many new clubs opening and closing, the chances of survival and business success will increase if they find a niche market — in this case a night promoting minimal electronic music.
He said, “There’s no content here. The reason the clubs are closing so fast is not because Shanghai is moving too fast, it’s because they concentrate on the design and interior of the club and less on the content. It’s not only a problem in Shanghai but also in Singapore and other places in Asia with an immature night scene.”
Micro pitches itself at anyone looking for an alternative to the tired formulas of Shanghai’s existing clubs. Sebastian explains, “A lot of the other clubs concentrate on booking acts from the Top 100 DJ list, especially Bon Bon and the VIP Room, but we are not interested in that.”
As a life-long fan of electronic music, Shanghaiist knows that the Top 100 DJ list is at least partially filled with media-whores, pretenders, posers and other DJ-pop stars who care less about the music and more about furthering themselves and selling out their art to make as much money as possible. But Micro shuns all this. “We are not inviting people from the top 100 ranking what is more important is the music they are playing. I concentrate on the music, if they are top-100 world ranked I don’t care,” Sebastian said.
Further underlining Micro’s mission to take Shanghai’s night scene off its life support system of big name cheesy DJs and rich folks sitting at tables buying expensive bottles of spirits and looking at empty dance floors, Sebastian added, “For me it’s more important to bring local creative people together and we all in this together. We want to create a platform for micro minimal artists.”
Microfabrique will bring over an established micro DJ once a month from Germay, “But we want to make every Friday special,” adds Sebastian.
“This is the first underground party which is going weekly, we are trying not to do all the usual stuff which happens elsewhere, we want to build Microfabrique into a name so clubbers don’t have to look at the flyer — they will already know what of music they will hear when they come to our night.”
Microfabrique begins Friday night at Fabrique, 8-10 Jian Guo Zhong Lu. 60 RMB entry includes one drink.