Where: The Shelter (5 Yongfu Lu near Fuxing Xi Lu, 永福路5号)
Starts: Friday, April 17, 9.30PM
The Lab, a non-profit, non-cost DJ Hip-Hop workshop studio, is throwing its Third Anniversary Party tonight at the Shelter. Debuting two new talents, DJ Freeze and DJ Sense, the lineup features ten total DJs including founding member DJ V-Nutz (a.k.a: Gary Wang).
Gary was cool enough to sit down with us this afternoon to discuss tonight’s show, the future of the Lab, and hip-hop in Shanghai.
Shanghaiist: You celebrate the 3 Year Anniversary of the Lab tonight at the Shelter. Has it been everything you thought it would be? Has it changed since your original idea?
Gary: Our lease is ending in November so we’re going to change location, and while the Lab has been great so far, I’m thinking I’m going to put the Lab with a boutique shop. Selling sneakers, street, and music label clothing.
We’re trying to attract the local kids, so if we put it together this way we can attract consumers in addition to people interested in DJing. Maybe someone comes in for one thing and gets interested in the other. We’re going to carry a bunch of local designers, but we’re gonna carry your music label clothing, Deftones that sorta thing, and obviously a big part of that will be Nike sneakers, Dunks, Airforce Ones, Nike’s high end product line and limited edition stuff. I’m honestly pretty open to any cool, new fashion.
The Lab is evolving and we’re gonna try and bring in a new crowd. We’re still all about the community, just with a new element brought in.
Shanghaiist: You guys are a non-profit, non-cost organization and on top of the anniversary party tonight, you’re also raising money for earthquake victims with a show on Sunday at the Shelter as well, care to talk about that?
Gary: This started with some NYU students. One of the students went out to Sichuan after the earthquake to see how they were living and realized that there were a lot of things they still needed. He decided to do a fundraiser, brought the idea to me to see if the Lab Crew and the Shelter could be involved. I obviously was more than happy to do it.
There’s going to be a flea market set up in the shelter and the Lab Crew will be playing chill music from 2:00 Sunday afternoon until about midnight. It’s going to be very relaxed and definitely pretty cool.
Shanghaiist: With the changes in music and especially dj-ing, where do you see the Lab going? Any chance there will be an on-line radio station for the hip-hop deprived of Shanghai to check out?
Gary: We’re still totally about the community. We need more local kids, we want to establish a place for people to come and hang out. That’s sort of the idea behind the boutique. The last thing we want is for someone to be intimidated to try something new. We’re trying to bring people together. As long as someone can experience something with other people, then we’re succeeding.
Shanghaiist: would you say that there is a sound you guys are trying to push? Is there a Lab sound or are you guys open to any and everything?
Gary: We’re open to everything. Anything you hear in the Shelter, we’re into hearing that in the Lab. Whatever anyone wants to play, we’re happy to have them. The Lab in its most basic form is not my place. It’s a place for the public to use.
Shanghaiist: Have you had any MCs come into the Lab? Any freestylers?
Gary: We deal with rappers there from time-to-time. In May, Ugly Duckling comes to the Shelter so we’ll ask them to do a workshop at the Lab for sure. The local MC scene is still very small. A lot of kids need to make cash and pay the bill so they can’t afford to come and rap at the Lab, but rather need to go and do the bling-bling gigs.
The Lab is a spot to come and be yourself and be true. We’re not about showing off or ego. We’re not concerned with the quality of the performance, DJing, MCing or otherwise, we just want to be a part of the community.
Even if people want to just come and chill, they’re welcome.
Shanghaiist: Finally tonight the Shelter hosts the Lab Three-Year Anniversary Party, how epic is this show going to be?
Gary: We’ve got a ten-dj set. I’m most excited for these two new kids, who are making their debut. One kid came about a year and a half ago, all the way from Xinjiang on a 48-hour hard seat train just for the chance to start DJing. Dude’s named Liu Kai, but he goes by DJ Freeze. There’s another guy who’s usually my doorman at Shelter, who’ll be performing for the first time also named DJ Sense. Sense is a local Shanghai college student who is really into a good hip-hop sound. I’m really hoping they can surprise everyone.
On top of those guys we have DJ Two Hands out of the UK and a bunch of hip hop all stars including Deville of Switzerland, Jay.Soul of Amsterdam, and Elnomo of the U.S.
Hopefully I’ll get up there for a little while too, so we’re going have at least ten DJs tonight. Doors open at 9 PM and we’re planning on going late for sure. You definitely don’t want to miss the two new guys, so make sure to get there early.
Photo by jellymon