In anticipation of the joyous occasion, the man roundly touted as one of the best and most talented DJs ever to emerge from the DJ-slash-English teacher circuit that is the Shanghai nightlife scene sent over a mix tape of the kind of music he’s playing out now. It’s a mix for Shanghai; it’s an “exclusive mix for SmartShanghai”; it’s an underhanded little trick to get us to write something nice about him and pump up this show on Saturday.
You needn't have to gone to all the trouble, Mr. Deville. We were planning on doing that anyways. We’re going to link that mix after the jump -- it’s IS pretty damn fine selection of music after all -- and we’ve also put together a little “mix” of our own in response.
Join us after the jump for SmartShanghai’s Epic Mix of the Career of DJ Blaise Deville As Told Through Embarrassing Photos We Stole Off People’s Facebook Photo Archives.
Snappy title eh?
Where else to begin but at the beginning? Pictured below is a young Blaise Deville turning in one of his early Shanghai DJ sets at C's bar in 2005 or thereabouts. 2005 is the estimation. Alas, the specific facts have been lost to the effacing tides of history, so this is like a "general approximation" of the story, sort of thing. Look how green he is.
The Man's career quickly dovetailed with the best and brightest hope in Shanghai-homegrown reggae: Uprooted Sunshine. Here's the press photo every single local expat magazine traded on back in the day. I don't know what this photographer got paid, but it wasn't enough.
Check it out: Straight from the streets of Jamaica, these cats. The hardships of island living just etched on their faces.
A reggae soundsystem with MCs, vocalists, hype men, and DJs, one cannot overstate the dedication these guys put into their music and live performances for their run in Shanghai and China's underground music scene from 2005 to around 2014-ish. Blaise's roll was as DJ/selector in the group, but it really was a collective effort of these kids working off each others' strengths and really bringing the posi-vibes reggae/dub experience to Shanghai and greater China. This is also were vocalist and producer Cha Cha got her start. She's gone on to do some greatness, touring internationally and in addition to her own music, she's working with honest-to-goodness famous people these days like -M- and Big Boi from Outkast. Damn. Highlights of Uprooted: their China tour with Clive Chin, the second anniversary at 4live, their shows with Adrian Sherwood, Vibronics, Terry T and Tenor Fly, the beat goes on...
Here's a link to a mix Blaise did with Jahtari -- which I'm guessing is a portmanteau of the words "Jah" and "Atari" and ideal for people into those two things: Jahtari X Uprooted Sunshine - Level Up!
Around this time, Blaise was also doing China tours for party platform "Antidote", opening for Badly Drawn Boy. Look how exciting this looks...
...and he was also playing in wildly successful electronic music festivals in Guangzhou...
...as well as working for this live music-slash-dance club concept on Xingfu Lu called
This is the only picture of Pirates I could find:
The man's career is littered with successes, I'm telling you. In 2007, coinciding with the grand opening of The Shelter, Mr. Deville partnered with this floppy haired gentleman right here to start a night called "Sub-Culture", dedicated to playing a new style of music called "Dubstep". It really is all about backing the right horses isn't it?
If this picture could talk it would say, "This dubstep thing's gonna make us millions! Seeya, suckers!"
Of course, Sub-Culture is still a huge force for good in Shanghai's underground music scene today, having evolved from a party night into a full-on proper label with a bunch of respectable releases under their belt. Here's a more recent mix Blaise did for Sub-Culture -- or SVBKVLT rather -- about a year or two ago: Friends & Family: Blaise Deville - SVBKVLT (Shanghai, CHN) #13.
Here's where things get a little jumbled up. Now I guess we're around 2010-ish and Blaise started writing beats and producing his own music for an agit-prop hip hop collective called ROM. How to describe ROM... Hmm. Welp, I attempted this impossible task about five years ago for this very website in an article that's since been gobbled up by the internet, so I'm going to use that:
"Music is future-damaged hip hop, generally speaking, with lyrical content addressing (un)seen persecution, personal futility, and the power structures that bind. Beats come corrupt with dystopia atmospherics, crushed electro pulse work, and deep bass malaise. Paranoia step. A uniquely schizoid, Shanghai-specific, multimedia fustercluck of analogue anxiety and satire. Must be seen to be disbelieved."
Yeah, that about sums it up. Presenting, the Borg MC himself, Mr. Icenine...
...and the two other gentlemen behind the words and worlds of destruction.
Pictured here is Blaise Deville with Jesus Christ, who happens to be wearing his own shirt as well. Nice one, Jesus!
Fear the future.
Here's ROM playing for their typical audience:
ROM was great and mental. And the music still holds up today, in my estimation. You can check it out right here.
Alas, this brings to the end of this chapter in the life and times of Blaise Deville. There's a bunch more I'm missing out on for sure. There were more shows that I can't remember now, because I'm damn old too. There's always another mix somewhere on the internet. Here's a picture of myself and the man having, no doubt, a very insightful conversation on the couch at the closing party of the original LOgO. Feel like I need a tetanus shot just looking at this thing. It looks like they've rubbed AIDS all over the walls.
After LOgO closed, Blaise just vanished into thin air. Or at least that's what it seems like. I guess that happens to everyone at some point. I did some research though. Turns out he used all the money he made off all these music projects to build his very own soundsytem back in his native Switzerland.
Pretty slick, guy!
Without further ado, presenting at the following link, the SMARTSHANGHAI EXCLUSIVE HOLY SHIT mix from DJ Blaise Deville in anticipation of his set at The Shelter Saturday night.
(If that doesn't work out, click this link: Construct #34.)
In all honesty -- not even blowing smoke up your ass here -- the man's an exeptionally talented DJ and pretty much universally respected as such in Shanghai in his time here. If you were around back in the day, you already know. If you weren't, you should go check it out on Saturday because you won't be disappointed.
Well, shyeeeitt, I don't know, maybe you will, I don't know what kind of music you like! Just use your best judgement!
We'll end off with one more matter. Blaise never won one of those magazine awards for Best DJ of the Year. Allow us to correct this grave oversight right now.
Presenting The SmartShanghai DJ of the Year 2008, Mr. Blaise Deville!
Welcome back, dude.
Photo credits: Man... ummm... if it was a really nice photo it's probably Andrew Rochford. The LOgO one is Mache. Everyone else, our attorneys will be in touch with sending you a check.