The globetrotting DJ recounts her recent adventures in Asia and fills us in on the Chinese music scene
Goldierocks is a DJ, broadcaster and journalist. Her show, The Selector, has over 4.3 million listeners in 44 different countries, so we thought we'd ask her to fill us in on some of the local music scenes and party spots she encounters on her travels.
This will be my fourth time to China. For such a vast and rapidly growing country the club scene there is still relatively unreported. Although iconic national music festivals like Strawberry Fields are trying to set up satellite shows in the already saturated European market, they have been as of yet, largely unsuccessful.
We kick proceedings off in glitzy Shanghai. A futuristic, cosmopolitan city that’s skyline has changed so rapidly in the last four years since I was here, the city is barely recognisable, other than the iconic Bund river and Shanghai TV centre.
I’m launching a promo campaign for my globally syndicated new music radio show ‘The Selector’ (funded by the British Council). We’re already broadcast nationally in China with regional presenters translating the show and adding their local new music spin. This is quite the feat, considering even CNN and BBC are banned in China outside of big chain international hotels.
We’re launching a campaign on the side on buses across the country for #UKmusiconthego where people can scan QR codes and get a free download from an up and coming UK artist. The idea being to generate buzz and excitement around the UK new music scene, culminating in one winner being flown to hang out with me at my DJ set at Bestival at the end of the summer.
I play Haven a garish club in a converted church with floor to ceilings visuals and my own swimming pool with a silver horse in my dressing room (?!). It’s an EDM hot spot, although tonight I play deep house and electro-clash. The Shanghaise clubbing scene is like the city- new, flashy and expensive. Partying is more about who you know and being seen- sparklers in champagne bottles, elaboration lighting rigs and rent a crowd dance troupes as standard (to encourage an otherwise shy clientele). I’ll return to Shanghai on Monday for Disco Buffet in Jing’an, a mash up vinyl night broadcast weekly on U-Dance radio. U-Dance itself being an underground internet radio station aimed at the ex-pat community and international graduates with a taste for Europe’s club culture.
To Beijing! I’ve got 20 hours in the capital so I’m going to make the most of it! I stroll round the Forbidden City, go say hey to the embalmed corpse of Chairman Mao and stop for Peking noodles (meat paste with cucumber over cold noodles) by Kunming Lake. I head to Gulou Dong (the Camden of Beijing) to DJ Dada Bar. An infamous vibey alternative spot who’s recently hosted Om Unit, Peter Van Hoesen (of Berghain fame) and Jigsaw. This is my kind of spot- it’s relaxed and effortlessly cool and my warm up DJ Watermelon is slick. Beijing is a gritty, colourful city- old sits next to new, tradition next to experimentation. It has depth and complexity and that’s reflected in it’s clubbing scene.
Go to Babyface, Modo or Tang for Ibizan style big room clubbing with some of the biggest name international DJs in the world.
World of Suzie Wong is one of the longest-running clubs in Beijing, founded in 2002. Named after the protagonist from British novelist Richard Mason's fiction. The space is divided into five areas. The whimsical 1920-style Touch bar is the core of the club where DJs play out or head to the lounge for flamboyant and imperial décor. Lucky Street as the name would suggest (my oh my) is the place for opium den style cabaret with China Doll in particular a good party spot for a boutique, kitsch erotic experience.
To Chongqing and NUTS bar, predominantly a smokey hip hop space in the basement of a shopping mall with kids that really know how to bust some moves with a genuine passion & knowledge of grime and dubstep. Chongqing is a vast city (about the same size as London) but all the clubs on the street level above are pounding out what sounds like dodgy remixes of Chinese boy bands with a Euro-trash club beat. They’re overflowing with shouty, drunk men (female clubbers are completely outnumbered) ogling the scantily clad dancers. It’s all a bit awkward and naive. I can see how NUTS is such a haven and sanctuary for people with genuine taste and an interest in the unconventional.
And finally to Wuhan, the ‘punk rock’ city of China… this place manufactures 3% of the world’s cars. It’s heavily polluted, grey and congested. I play Vox the city's oldest alternative space- their slogan is ‘Voice of Youth, Voice of Freedom’. It’s a dark, sticky-floored charming dive who’s Long Island Iced Tea tastes like rocket fuel. The crowd is a mix of tattooed punk rockers and Hello Kitty pink haired fan girls.
I play a mix of jungle, dub and deep house and although (judging by appearances) I wouldn’t expect this to necessarily go down that well, they seem so enthralled just by the concept of anything ‘new’ (and international). They’re inquisitive, embracing and open minded albeit again a bit shy. The audience seem in equal parts delighted and confused. A bit like me after this tour really!
Find out more about Goldierocks over here.