Hello, is anyone there? Where the heck is everybody? Did I just wake up in a Twilight Zone episode? Yes, just like Cinderella, at the stroke of August everyone in Shanghai either heads out of town or just plain stays inside. Since this article is going to fall on deaf ears I’m gonna get weird this week. Let’s hope none of the big Smart Shanghai bosses have a wi-fi signal on their backpacking trip across the Swiss Alps.
Before getting into this weeks main feature I’d like to give a very quiet shout out URVC bar, who have their one–year anniversary this Friday. URVC is a vinyl-themed micro club that has built a solid crowd over the past year, proving that yes, it’s possible to party in Jing’an. However, just recently a new neighbor moved in upstairs from the bar and isn’t all about the party. While many clubs would throw in the hat or hire some Triad friends, instead URVC decided to think outside the box and start throwing silent disco nights. Basically, silent disco is an event concept that has been growing for the past decade that involves everyone in the club listening to the music via wireless headphones. Many times there are two DJs going at once and you can choose which channel to listen to via headphones.
This Friday will be URVC’s big entry into the silent disco world as the vinyl bar figures out their issues with the neighbors. The main act comes in form of Canadian producer Pomo who just dropped a new album last November. His stuff is a little all over the board, from indie electro to jazzy hip hop, and I’m pleasantly surprised by the choice. Check out this track from Pomo now and make sure to visit URVC on Friday to wish them a happy
Pomo - Cherry Funk feat. Kaytranada
Every town has a man. This man is everything to everyone and only true to himself. In Shanghai this man is known as ADO8. Juggling between being a DJ and a tastemaker this street team legend is celebrating his birthday on Saturday, August 8 (8/8). There is a lineup of eight DJs and it starts at 10pm. Wait, shouldn’t it start at 8pm as well? Wait to go Arkham. Let’s preview that Lofai & Friends event then a dive into a section I like to call “Stalking with Sacco”. After this article, hopefully you’ll be an ADO8er just like me!
Headlining Saturday’s Lofai & Friends is Japanese DJ Kiri, who is representing the culture brand Phire Wire. Having been shrouded in mystery for the past year, it’s hard to pin down what Phire Wire exactly is. They had a fashion show in Paris and host various events in Tokyo. It’s one of those brands where you act like you get it but secretly have no idea what they are really selling. I couldn’t find a Soundcloud mix but to get an idea of what Kiri is going to play you can check out this blog [http://blog.honeyee.com/kiri/] featuring album picks. Instead of a music track, I’m going to share a Phire Wire teaser video made by Shanghai-based artist Kim Laughton. This video is amazing and Kim has been constantly been creating work that leaves me breathless. However I still have no idea what they are selling and this video isn’t helping me narrow that down. I’m guessing they are selling the future?
Kim Laughton - Phire Wire
Boom. This a huge one. Local promoter and STD founding member R3 just dropped a new track over the weekend. It’s been a minute since this Australian heartthrob has put out any original material and looks like he is not messing around. R3 is playing Saturday’s Lofai & Friends gig and we might just get to hear more of his new original material being dropped "in da club" for the first time. The new track titled "Victories" is a collaboration piece with Brooklyn based artist Melo-X, who has over 16,000 followers on Soundcloud and is known for various art and music installations.
If this is just a sample of the planned EP coming out from R3, let’s jus say we can expect big things from this Shanghai rags to riches story who went from dive bars to large–scale clubs with only 20rmb in his pocket and a smile that would melt your moms tits off. While R3’s previous productions leaned towards the trip hop or minimal side, this piece feels like it’s hungry to be heard in VIP and champagne rooms around the world. Get a taste of the new R3 track here and see it live in action on Saturday at Lofai & Friends.
R3 – "Victories (feat. Melo-X)"
Even though I’ve never actually met ADO8, we are Facebook friends and I have been going to his Shanghai DJ gigs for years. His birthday has been on my calendar with hearts drawn around it for months now and I've pondered deeply how to honor the occasion properly. At first, I thought maybe an interview was in order, but that would be too easy (and I could barely form words around him). To show my respect I put together a mini fanzine that includes the places around town I’ve seen ADO8, a fantasy meal we would share, and a mixtape designed just for him. Oh yes we are doing this and for proper lubrication of the journey you’ll need to press play on this 30 minute ADO8 mix which will be the sound track of my pretend life.
ADO8 – Kill Em All (Mixtape)
For copyright purposes and dramatic effect I’m using this 1860 map of Shanghai to display the top five places in town I’ve seen ADO8 at. Even though we never talked at the locations, I felt each encounter was an experience that connected us both on a larger cosmic plane.
Little Catch: ADO8 was in front of me in line at the fanciest fish monger in town ‘Little Catch’. Turns out he was ordering the same spicy tuna bowl as me! As I watched him walk out the door, the cashier informed me that he had just purchased the last bowl. I told the cashier that a better man than I had received the day’s last tuna bowl and thanked him for his service.
Arcade: Arcade is probably the most special place on my list because it’s where ADO8 and I have shared 17 encounters. Most of them were at his DJ gigs but if I had to pick one that stands out it was Thursday, March 27 2014. I positioned myself right across the DJ booth for his entire set and at one point in the night we locked eyes and he gave me a head nod. It was at that moment I knew he understood me and a mutual respect was born.
YunCai Café: Last April was the release of JuZhen magazine at YunCai cafe. ADO8 helped get the magazine funded so I figured he would be there. While he didn't edit the magazine, it wouldn’t exist without him, so I feel his heart is deeply rooted in those pages. Also, even though he wasn't on the release party lineup, I waited patiently hoping he would be the surprise guest DJ. After having to sit through the sets of Gooooose, Faded Ghost, Santo Chino, and Sleepless, alas ADO8 never took the decks. I still keep the magazine by my bedside table and study the pages whenever I need inspiration.
Mr Pancake. One of my earliest ADO8 sightings was at Mr. Pancake on February 4, 2012. If I remember correctly, he had pancakes with eggs sunny side up, two sausages, and home fries. Since that faithless Saturday I’ve re-visited Mr. Pancake every weekend for the past three years. The breakfast gets better each week just like his mixes.
Arkham: While I do love the intimacy of the Arcade ADO8 sets, you just can’t beat an ADO8 DJ set on the big Arkham stage and soundsystem. If I had to pick one bigger gig I would say the SCNTST show at Arkham back in December of 2014. SCNTST is on Boys Noize records so it’s not like he is an amateur. But that poor boy didn’t stand a chance and ADO8 just blew him out of the water. Next time I suggest Arkham put their touring act on before ADO8 because really, what man could follow him?
I feel that if ADO8 and I ever shared a meal, it should be cooked by me. Not that I’m an amazing cook, but this would be the best way to show my appreciation for his dedication to making Shanghai a better place. We would start with a Singaporean style chicken noodle soup to give him a taste of his youth. Then we would move on to black sesame ahi tuna with wasabi citrus aioli, as I know he likes the tuna (a la Little Catch of course). For the main course, I would prepare a full roasted turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce. All that tryptophan from the Turkey might make ADO8 sleepy, so a nap before dessert might be in order. To finish things off, I’d serve my handmade Tutu Kueh which is a delicate pastry made by steaming rice flour and powdered sugar in special molds. The cakes are filled with sweetened peanut or coconut, and I’d serve some milk tea along with that.
If there's one thing ADO8 loves, it’s '90s hip hop, so I’m going to share my top five songs that I feel he would enjoy (possibly over a nice turkey meal). This one goes out to you ADO8!
Ice Cube – "It Was A Good Day"
A Tribe Called Quest – "Electric Relaxation"
Wu-Tang Clan – "C.R.E.A.M."
Snoopy Doggy Dog – "Gin & Juice"
The Notorious B.I.G. – "Big Poppa"
If you want to be a ADO8er like me, then make sure to head down to Arkham club on Saturday, August 8 for his birthday party. I’ll be the 35 year–old white dude in the front wearing a “I HEART ADO8” t-shirt.