If you wondering who those dudes were that had the balls to play Fatboy Slim tracks in the year 2009, that was Baijiu Robot, educators-cum-partyimpresarios -- voices of the resistance, pillars of the dive bar community, and DJ hosts of the stinkiest Baijiu throwdows in Shanghai.
From the ghostly vacant dance floors at Windows Underground (earlier dayz) to the blood and piss-soaked dance floors at C's, Baijiu Robot have been staples at all your favorite "No cover. Cheap drinks." venues, throwing it back to an earlier time in Shanghai when no one cared who the headlining act was or what DJ flew into town to play that night. It's used to be all about the dance party, and with the Baijiu Bots it still is.
Anticipating their destruction this Saturday, SmartShanghai sat down with the Baijiu Robots Heatwolves! and Mau Mau to talk about murder in the disco, highs and lows, and what make a good baijiu.
Mau Mau made a mix called "Robot Explosion" for this interview, but it was too big and bad to upload directly to the site. I put it on zShare. Here's the download link.
Also Heatwolves! has a blog containing MP3 downloads and piquant musings on life. Click here for that.
Mau Mau: I'm from a small town in Maine.
Mau Mau: Yeah? Have you been to Steven King's house?
Mau Mau: I've been here for almost two years but I came almost three years ago on a study abroad thing, and came back after I graduated. I taught kindergarten for a while, and right around when we were starting Baijiu Robot I quit/got fired from my job teaching kindergarten.
Mau Mau: That's a longer story.
Mau Mau: [Laughs.] No no...
Heatwolves!: Yeah, what happened at the kindergarten, man...
Mau Mau: ...so I was unemployed for a while but now I teach sports to kids on the weekends.
Heatwolves!: I'm from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Half way between Chicago and Detroit.
Heatwolves!: Not really. My mom's from up around 8 Mile. 8 Mile is not as sketch as people think it is. It's just a dividing line... but I was in a rap battle before and I got destroyed.
Heatwolves!: Yeah, man. I used to freestyle a lot. I used to be *that kid*. Freestyling everywhere until it was really time to stop. [Laughs].
Heatwolves!: [Starts rapping]: Ain't no shame \ Used to be at the top of my game \ Yo, it's like dragons, they shoot flame!
Mau Mau: Shortly after we met we started trading music and talking about music, and we started Djing together just in my apartment. I DJ'ed a little before, playing mostly Hip Hop. College party type stuff. And Heatwolves! was just getting into it.
But after a while we were thinking of trying to do a party, and we went...
Heatwolves!: ...everywhere. We went everywhere and they all said no.
Mau Mau: And Windows Underground was the only place that would let us play. We tried to do a charity party for an orphanage but no one came. [Laughs.] When we started, and I guess it's the same now, it's all different kinds of music. A little Hip Hop a little Dance Punk. Indie Disco stuff. A little bit of Funk.
Heatwolves!: I was playing mostly Italo Disco and trying to mix that with whatever.
Mau Mau: Umm... Cut Copy, Breakestra, and...
Heatwolves!: Justice. [Laughs.]
Mau Mau: ...Fatboy Slim.
Mau Mau: [Laughs.] He was great. Come on.
Heatwolves!: I remember trying to do that track "World Invaders" by Pluton & Humanoids in with that Le Castle Vania shit. Pretty hip. I've also been playing Baile Funk, which is this Brazilian club rap made with 808's. It gets financed by drug lords in the Rio favelas. It always works really well when I play it -- tons of hard bass kicks. It goes good with the Electro that people here expect. Too much Electro is a mess.