DROP IT LIKE IT’S HOT

THE RISE OF BEIJING’S DJ SCENE

City Weekend - - Things To Do -

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and for the most part, it might be true. This old dog was raised on blis­ter­ing gui­tars, pounding drums, and screechy vo­cals. He has no un­der­stand­ing of what hap­pens when peo­ple just hide be­hind head­sets and press play.

In the past year, I’ve spent more time than ever lurk­ing in the back lis­ten­ing to peo­ple spin, get a crowd go­ing, take them through the paces with dif­fer­ent rhythms, songs and all. I’d be blind to not re­al­ize that it’s a cul­ture of its own.

Now mind you, with all due re­spect to big clubs, I’m go­ing to focus here on a more un­der­ground ap­proach to the whole elec­tronic scene in the Old Smoggy. Where are they drop­ping it like it’s hot?

Dada: Whether you’re into this scene or not, you can’t es­cape the name “Dada” in this town. They’ve carved them­selves a sub­stan­tial size of the pie with reg­u­lar pro­gram­ming for years now. We’ve had White Rab­bit and all be­fore, places that came by, fought and fell, but Dada came in punch­ing and got this done. For an ig­no­ra­mus like me, as far as the DJ scene in Beijing goes, I’d ar­gue that there’s a pre-Dada and post-Dada era. Big and small names, everyone has gone in at some point to take a look. Why don’t you do that on October 28 when they host Alessandro Adri­ani from Man­nequin or Novem­ber 9 when Detroit le­gend, DJ Bone, is in the house?

Also in the vicin­ity, Fruity Space is lurk­ing not so qui­etly. Al­ways ac­com­mo­dat­ing to artists try­ing to do their own weird thing, it’s pump­ing out elec­tronic and/or ex­per­i­men­tal mu­sic all the time. You might catch a live band ev­ery so of­ten there, but the Spar­tan Spice is re­ally prime for ex­per­i­ment­ing and spin­ning. Check their so­cial me­dia feeds for the lat­est & great­est.

Soi Baochao seems to have risen from the dead re­cently. It feels like the venue just went on an ex­tended hi­ber­na­tion a few years back, but all of a sud­den de­cided to shake off the dust and start kick­ing ass.

Modern Sky Lab has re­cently beefed up their elec­tronic DJ side and that should not come as a sur­prise. Their la­bel has a few artists signed up and a beau­ti­ful setup that works for both live bands and DJs. Acts vary greatly but they are con­sis­tent.

Then, the big new­comer: Zhao Dai Club. This place, with a ca­pac­ity of 300, launched on Septem­ber 30 with a bang fit­ting the pedi­gree of the own­ers: Peo­ple in­volved in Yu­gong Yis­han, White Rab­bit, and Haze. Lu Zhi Qiang (more of­ten known to in­dus­try pun­dits as Gouzi) men­tioned, “We wanted to give elec­tronic mu­sic en­thu­si­asts a unique sound ex­pe­ri­ence. That’s why a well-cu­rated pro­gram, with na­tional and in­ter­na­tional DJs is cru­cial to us. We focus on un­der­ground DJs from var­i­ous elec­tronic mu­sic gen­res.”

Go check it out on October 28 when they host Lena Wil­likens from Ger­many.

Of course, plenty of other places are dab­bling in the DJ scene in­clud­ing Car­a­van which re­cently launched a reg­gae & roots-fo­cused open mic on Thurs­day, so, even if the old dog can’t learn new tricks, it can still watch oth­ers per­form them.

Badr Ben­jel­loun spins to the beat of his

own record

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