Underground Resistance‘s first foray into mainland China last Saturday at The Shelter was truly a significant milestone for Shanghai’s underground scene. DJ Dex aka Nomadico unleashed a set that’s been described as a “real history lesson in dance music” — one that took the 800 or so revellers from the pre-electronic routes of modern dance music in the shape of parliament and James Brown, right up to the proper “electro” from the Advent (“program da future”) and Detroit’s Drexciya (“lost vessel”) even Dopplereffekt (“Voice Activated”), before dropping Detroit Classic “No Ufos” by Model 500 and moving smoothly on to all manner of modern day tracks. Shanghaiist’s Cameron Wilson (aka DJ Shanghai Ultra) caught up with Nomadico and asked him about his thoughts on Shanghai, Techno, The Shelter, and the Void Crew:
What was your overall impression of last Saturday night?
Overall it was a good time, I couldn’t ask for a more enthusiastic crowd.
How about the crowd, and their response to the music?
I had several people come up and acknowledge the Detroit sound, ask what record I had just played, etc. And not a single bad request! One guy told me it was his birthday this past week, he saw the listing for UR in Shanghai and had to bring himself and ten other friends for the party. The dancefloor was packed and from what I’ve been told, that is not a common thing in some of the bigger night clubs around town!
Someone in the crowd gave you a note saying they had been in Shanghai eight years and never heard this kind of music before, what’s your reaction to that?
I’m surprised actually. Obviously there’s some awareness of the underground sound in Shanghai or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Maybe no-one has really stepped up to promote it properly or to come together at a place like The Shelter to take things to the next level. Either way, this music is all over the world and is appreciated by people of all cultures, so its just a matter of time before it makes its mark on Shanghai.
Seeing as it was your first time in China, how did the crowd differ from other audiences in other countries you’ve played in?
In terms of the demographics – it was a great mix of expats and Chinese and everyone I talked to was so excited and having a great time. The music I play and represent tends to attract forward thinkers, creative minds, well-rounded geeks and open minded revelers. So in that sense the crowd was eclectic and in that sense a lot like other good clubs around the world.
What did you think of The Shelter as a venue?
It is the perfect size for an underground venue. Its always best to have the DJ booth on the dancefloor and with lots of room to sit and socialize where the music isn’t too loud. The Shelter has those things nailed and really I’d compare it to other venues I’ve played in places like Helsinki, Sao Paolo, New York and Japan.
What’s your impression of the Void crew and their work in Shanghai so far? What are they doing right / wrong, what do you recommend they do to stay true to their mission?
Well I can’t say anything bad about my hosts now can I?? Seriously though, they’re laid back, smart guys who are passionate about this music. Anyone in the music business right now can tell you, this isn’t a quick cash kind of business… you gotta have passion for the music and what it brings to people. The main recommendation I’d say is just stay focused. The more people get turned on to your events, the bigger the temptation there is to just cash in on your audience. Never underestimate how quickly people can lose interest in what you do, take every opportunity to give them something interesting and they’ll keep spreading the word.wfccons.jpg
U.R. is a very big name in the techno world, why did you guys choose Void to co-operate with on its first mainland China mission?
The UR label manager Cornelius Harris put them through the standard screening process and with 15 years in this business, he’s gotten good at spotting bad promoters. Basically we came to the agreement that these guys are making a genuine attempt to bring something new to Shanghai AND have some respect for the local people. A big part of Underground Resistance is the idea of fighting exploitation. We always encourage people to empower themselves, make their own music, start their own labels, etc. If someone is going to introduce something new to a city, then they should get the local people involved as well. VOID has made it clear to us that they ‘get it’.
What do you think of Shanghai as a city and source of inspiration for electronic music?
After a couple of days of driving around and doing some sight seeing, I have to say the architecture is probably the most inspiring thing for me personally. Model 500 has a song called ‘Nightdrive Thru Babylon’… and this place is a great visual representation of that song.
What do you think the future is for techno music in Shanghai, China and beyond?
Chinese electronic musicians that DON’T try to copy European electronic musicians.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I just want to say thank you to VOID for bringing me here and the Chinese people for being open to new things.
Cross-posted at the VOID Shanghai website.
For more on the party, click here.
To hear what people said about the party, hop on over to the Smart Shanghai forum.