Mixtape is asking DJs and producers coming to town, in their opinions, what are the five best songs ever and forever and ever. Or just five songs that are somewhat interesting for some reason. Or six songs. We're easy…
The mix maker: Whether he's behind the decks at The Shelter or merely standing next to whoever is on the decks at The Shelter running interference on Justice requests, you've seen this man's cheerful face before. This is Drunk Monk, nee Gaz Williams, one of the key architects of Shanghai underground clubbing culture for eight, nine, or maybe even ten years now. As the long-time manager of The Shelter (along with Gary Wang, also a huge barrel of laughs that guy), Gaz is responsible for a huge swath of the music that surges through this city, from his earlier days working in, and promoting, dub and reggae, through to the not-shit kind of dubstep, through to amorphous "bass music" in general, and out into darker house/techno, Ohlssoncore Scando weirdness, and anti-social horror movie soundtrack stuff.
If you've ever been to The Shelter and thought, "goddamn, what is this fucking shit we're listening to", this is the man to thank/blame.
This Saturday, Gaz's main steez Sub-Culture turns seven years old with a re-booking of their main international guest 'lo these many years: Hyperdub bad-man/critical theory bookworm Kode9 -- also a super open, and cheerful sort of lad. Make sure you get a picture with him. Also, tonight, Wednesday night, they've got a warm-up party at Arcade. You should hit that up if you're keen.
Ahead of these wonderful events, SmSh asked Gaz to send over some tunes. These are them. Speaking on behalf of SmartShanghai, thanks Gaz, for what you're bringing to the city.
Seven more years, yo. Seven more...
Drunk Monk says: Okay, so as its Sub-Culture’s 7th Anniversary and also Hyperdub’s 10th, I thought I had two choices for this: either giving my favorite tunes from artists Sub-Culture have brought to China, or my favorite Hyperdub releases. Kode9 and Hyperdub have been super supportive to Sub-Culture and the Chinese music scene over the years and so I decided to combine the two.
Here are my favorite tracks by Hyperdub artists Sub-Culture has hosted in China over the last 7 years, and how these artists have contributed to the scene and gone way beyond the call of duty when visiting China.
Drunk Monk says: First off, Kode9. This Saturday will be the 6th time he has played for Sub-Culture as he has an annual residency, and over the years has done amazing things to help support and collaborate with us. From having ChaCha on 5 or 6 of his tracks, to performing special Burial and Sino-Grime sets at our lock in sessions, doing lectures on Sonic Warfare and curating a night for Sub-Cinema, to naming one of his singles after Sub-Culture’s previous HQ on XingFu Lu where the track was started (it was initially being made for ChaCha to sing on, but ended up a frantic footwork mutation that didn’t need a vocal).
This year, Sub-Culture resident artist Kim Laughton made a 3D render of Hyperdub’s 3rd Ear Cat which has been used on Hyperdub 10 Year celebrations around the world. Kode9 has a real soft spot for Shanghai/China, it’s always a pleasure to have him here.
I’m choosing 2 tracks from Kode9. "Time Patrol", the first collaboration between Kode9, ChaCha and Spaceape (RIP), and "XingFu Lu".
Drunk Monk says: Ok so The Bug is on Ninja Tune now, but for me he still counts as Hyperdub because of Skeng (which came out on 12” on Hyperdub with a Kode9 remix, as well as being included on London Zoo). The Bug was one of the first international guests we brought to Shanghai (July 2008) and both times I have brought him here have been some of the most memorable events I have been to, my own or otherwise.
The first time he came to Shanghai he went into the studio with ChaCha and recorded a version of Poison Dart with her called ‘No Fucking Papers’. This was the first time ChaCha had been into a studio with an international producer and was a huge learning experience for her. The Bug wanted her to go hard on the track and was deliberately trying to agitate her to get her more aggressive on the mic. His performance that time was also the China release party for his 2nd album, London Zoo.
The second time he came he played with Daddy Freddy, one of the best shows in The Shelter since it started. It was pure chaos, one of the only (maybe the only) time we have had a mosh pit. The same night he also did a lock in session, doing a King Midas Sound DJ set for the first time ever (and this convinced him he should do it more often).
I'm going with "Skeng" as its one of the best songs of any genre released in the last 10 years.
Drunk Monk says: Scratcha has also played in China twice, both times in Dada Beijing and The Shelter Shanghai, and also the second visit he played in Chengdu. I think he may have been the first big international booking at Dada Beijing actually. Scratcha is a full on party DJ and, especially his first visit, can seriously damage a dance floor. He has been real supportive of the China based artists he has met, remixing SLV for SVBKVLT and playing Howie Lee/SLV tracks on Rinse FM. Unfortunately, he isn’t as supportive towards my liver, its really hard to keep up with this guy.
Also, on a sadder note, Hyperdub artist and Teklife founder DJ Rashad sadly passed away the night of his second Shanghai show, and so for the rest of the Asia tour, including the show we played together in ChengDu, he played a Rashad tribute section in his set. A sad memory, and one that will always stick with me.
I’m choosing DVA’s "Where I Belong" as I remember him starting his set with it on his first visit and it sending shivers down my spine, and also his remix of SLV which is an absolute belter.
Drunk Monk says: Burial hasn’t played in China. He hasn’t played anywhere. But in 2010 Shanghai got the closest alternative, Kode9 playing a one-hour set of unreleased Burial tracks in a pitch black, locked down, bomb shelter. Kode9 has only ever done this a handful of times, maybe three or four, and I’m still amazed to this day I convinced him to do it.
This track is an older track but has only just been released on the fourth installment of the Hyperdub 10 compilations.
Drunk Monk says: This Saturday, as much as I’m looking forward to hearing and hanging out with Kode9, I am very excited to bring Teklife founder and footwork pioneer DJ Spinn. Anyone who has been to Sub-Culture in the last couple of years will have heard his music. Right now, footwork, for me, is one of the most exciting and interesting genres of electronic music, and something Sub-Culture will be pushing much more in 2015.
This track is from the first Hyperdub 10 compilation and on a loud system is unbeatable...
Sub-Culture celebrates seven years in the bass game this Saturday at The Shelter. The warm-up party is tonight at Arcade.