Being on the road in Asia has been a fantastic experience so far.  Seeing different parts of the world and experiencing different cultures has been great but living as a backpacker has its drawbacks, especially when it comes to exposure to good shows and live performances.  So after 6 weeks of bad hip-hop, cheesy electro remixes of the same bad hip-hop songs, poorly mixed by local DJ’s and blared through shitty blown-out speakers, I was ready to get my club on.  Looking through the Singapore club listings, I found out that one of my favorite DJ/producer would be in town the following weekend, playing the legendary Zouk nightclub.  A string of emails and Facebook messages later, we managed to convince our friend Steve, who was in the Philippines at the time, to come meet us for a party weekend.  Pulling a few connections, Steve managed to get us guest list and VIP entrance.  We felt like rock stars walking through the neon-lit tunnel leading to the club’s main room.


Living up to the expectations, Zouk offered an impressive sight, with its multi-level room that managed to create a fairly intimate vibe for the size of venue.  Modeled after Pacha Ibiza, it is by far the nicest nightclub I have seen in Asia.  DJ Hong was on opening duty and played a nice mix of funky tech-house, doing a great job at getting the crowd primed for the headliner.

About an hour and too many $22 Vodka/Red-Bulls later, Tocadisco took to the stage.  Playing off his Mac and using Traktor Scratch Pro, he kept things in the same vein as the opening DJ and started his set with some darker sounding tech-house tracks, slowly working the crowd up to a hands-in-the-air frenzy when he dropped his remix of Whippenberg’s Pong.  He then followed with what seemed like an interminable set of really noisy Dutch electro, even including a remix of Day n’night by Kid Kudi.  I mean, really???

Fortunately, he slowly backtracked and came back to my preferred style of driving tech-house and spent the rest of his 3-hour set alternating between tech and cheesy poppy electro, which allowed for nice long smoke breaks and some mingling with locals and tourist from exotic places such as West Vancouver.  Yes, the world is getting that small…


Overall, I would give Tocadisco a 8/10 for mixing an track selection (even though I didn’t like a lot of it, he did get famous through more commercial remixes and it was to be expected that he would play in that genre), 6/10 for charisma and stage presence (smiling shouldn’t be this hard), and 11/10 for wife hotness.  Memorable moment of the night: playing Chinese drinking games with the Taiwanese firefighters in the smoking room.


Photos courtesy of Steve Geszler.

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After 3 months on the road and away from the decks, I was itching DJ again so I was very excited when, through mutual friends, Farshad managed to arrange a couple of gigs for us in Shanghai. Ryan (DJ Trix was very helpful and was a great host, taking us out for food at a few of his favourite hang-outs.

Our first gig was at Shelter, a small basement club, somewhat reminiscent of Lotus, back home, just smaller. Interesting fact, Shelter is actually an old bomb shelter converted into a nightclub. Our first half-hour was plagued by technical issues with Serato, which made Farshad regret not bringing some vinyl with him. The club was fairly quiet as it was a week night but we were very happy to see a few Vancouver faces that came out to hear us play. We also met some of the local producers which was nice as well.

The next night, we shared the decks with Ryan and David (Slackerton, at Logo and this time, without any technical issues, played a wicked set and had a rocking time with the local crowd.

Sadly, this was Farshad’s last night in Shanghai and after a couple hours of drunken sleep, I headed out the door to see him off to the airport. It was really nice to get to hang out for a week and get to DJ together again. We were both exhausted and hung over and I was looking forward to getting some sleep, but I had one last thing to do before I could relax; the night before, we were introduced to Mimi (DJ Mia), who works for, an underground electronic music radio station based out of an advertising agency in Shanghai. She invited me to come over the following afternoon to record a one hour set for the station, and even though I was ready to drop dead, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. So on the way back to the airport, I started sorting through my music and planning my set, trying to feature as many Vancouver and Canadian producers as possible.

I barely had time to shower and grab a couple tracks form Beatport and I was out the door again, trying to make my way to the studio in the sweltering Shanghai heat. I finally got to the nondescript black office tower and was showed to the 6t floor offices by Mimi. The setup was quite impressive; two floors of open-space loft style offices with a giant plexiglass bubble hanging over the reception desk, the bubble being the recording studio. I was warmly welcomed by the staff, offered some beer, which I gladly accepted (nothing like a little hair of the dog) and got setup for my set.

Djing there was a great experience and even though I was ready to pass out by the time it was over, am grateful I stuck it out and also extremely grateful to Maia for allowing me the opportunity. I will post a link to the podcast once it’s up.

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