Bad Times Records Opens Physical Pop Up Store in Hong Kong

Bad Times Disco, which has served as a pop-up record store and party series for the past three years, has launched a temporary physical shop in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.

Opened on 11th January 2023, the physical store named, Bad Times Records, will sell a selection of second-hand records – focussing on rare Asian grooves and electronic music ranging from the 90s to the 2010s. 

Situated on Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, adjacent to the renowned Chung King Mansions, the 648-square-foot store aims to draw in a fresh demographic of creatives and music professionals to the shopping complex. 

The main objective of the five-month pop-up is to establish a stable and grounding physical space in Hong Kong for music lovers and DJs to connect, providing an alternative to the transient nature of parties and events.

Along with a selection of secondhand and vintage clothing, curated by No ThrillSS, Bad Times Records will offer locally sourced beverages and serve as a venue for workshops, events, and gatherings catering to the local DJ, producer, and music enthusiast community. 

The store will operate as a pop-up for five months, primarily due to founder Ani Phoebe’s touring commitments and the financial uncertainties associated with opening the business. 


Speaking on the launch, Bad Times Disco said: “The essence of the 5-month pop-up is to provide a physical space for music lovers and DJs in Hong Kong to meet each other that is not a party or an event – but rather a more stable and grounding, calming space. 

“Hong Kong is a hectic city where many people do not have time, let alone space, to meet each other. Party promoters and DJs are often isolated by their busy schedules and the city’s frenetic rhythm. Bad Times Disco will create a temporary music community space where people can come together to plot out new ideas, learn from each other, launch new music, exchange new ideas, and strengthen the city’s small underground music scene that has a lot of potential to grow.”

BEAMCUBE, Bangkok’s Newest Club is Now Open

Bangkok, Thailand—infamous for its ruggedly vibrant nightlife—introduces a groundbreaking addition to the scene. Having carved its own dynamic niche in the luxury clubbing space, Thonglor’s BEAM Club expands to the energetic Sathorn neighborhood with its latest venture, BEAMCUBE. The recently opened venue is set to redefine the city’s nocturnal landscape, offering a multifaceted destination for music enthusiasts and partygoers alike.

Situated on the 6th floor of the Mahanakorn Cube in Sathorn district, BEAMCUBE is more than just a nightclub. Bringing together an intimate cocktail bar, a sophisticated listening lounge fitted with top-of-the-line equipment for cutting-edge sound quality, and the promise of an unparalleled dance floor experience all under one roof, it’s a sanctuary for audiophiles as well as a new go-to spot for discerning guests. It is a natural evolution for the BEAM brand, already renowned and beloved for its lively dance floors, inventive cocktails, and infectious party energy.

Several features make BEAMCUBE stand out from Bangkok’s saturated clubbing landscape, namely:

Exceptional music curation. The programming at BEAMCUBE is curated by none other than Brent Burns (Transport) and Sebastian De La Cruz (Mumsfilibaba, Tropic City). This duo is guaranteed to deliver a diverse and electrifying musical journey for patrons.

A refined bar setting. Further elevating the experience is a dedicated selection of craft cocktails led by Beverage Manager Sebestian, formerly of Teens of Thailand. Expect expertly formulated libations to complement the music.

The focus on a holistic auditory experience. BEAMCUBE’s listening lounge concept provides the perfect space to connect with music on a deeper, more personal, and immersive level. Music aficionados will revel in the state-of-the-art sound design featuring a handmade TPI sound system.

BEAMCUBE’s soft launch, ongoing until January, sets the stage for another extraordinary achievement for Thailand’s restless capital city. This early phase allows guests to witness the gradual evolution of this new musical haven. Last weekend (November 17-18), the club kicked off with two inaugural international acts: Manchester-based DJ and producer Hidden Spheres as well as Parisian maestro Hugo LX, an encouraging suggestion of what’s to come.

As BEAM continues to grow, the company stays true to its commitment of providing remarkable experiences that celebrate the joy of music and dance. Bangkok’s nightlife already offers a symphony of experiences to explore. The addition of BEAMCUBE takes it to the next level, pushing its development in new directions.

GROOVE ON THE GRASS TAIPEI 2023

Get into the groove, Taipei, because the next big music festival is about to take your city by storm. Groove On The Grass, a world-renowned music and arts festival, makes its Asian debut on December 1st and 2nd, 2023. Soon, Taipei will pulsate to the beats of international techno icons like Ben Klock, Ellen Allien, and Dewalta, along with an impressive lineup of artists that will have you dancing from dusk to dawn.

The festival’s first Asian edition will unfold within an eminent commercial building in Ximending District, known for its cultural richness, artistry, gaming, and bustling entertainment industry. Three expertly curated stages will host the two-day festival across the Westar venue complex, from the renowned Studio 9 club to its intimate backroom known as The Kitchen.

Bona fide techno titan Ben Klock, the Berghain resident and Klockworks label owner headlines the festival. Joining him on the bill is Ellen Allien, the founder of the iconic BPitch Control label, gracing the stage with her distinctive style and rhythmic flair. Dewalta, a trained jazz musician and Meander label boss will weave his hypnotic minimal house sound to enchant the crowd.

But the star power doesn’t stop there. DEIAN, acclaimed artist and founder of Groove On The Grass, will bring his worldly experience from Ibiza, Burning Man, and beyond to the Taipei dancefloor. Marlie, the Australian-born, London-based force of the micro-house scene, will deliver her bristling combination of punchy percussive flows and exciting hooks.

Taiwan’s very own Code Wu, a Beatport Top 50 artist and Golden Indie Music Awards winner is sure to steal the show with his eclectic mix of techno and electronica. Meanwhile, Seoul’s rising star, Afrodite, will captivate the audience with her eclectic selections.

Deian Markov, Groove On The Grass General Manager, expressed his enthusiasm about launching Groove in Taipei, saying, “We are very excited to launch Groove in Taipei and bring its vibes to the electrifying Taiwan. We continue our ‘timeless journey’ within our 11th year and we are happy to expand in Asia. We will always be driven by pure quality and the best atmosphere, and fully committed to bringing the biggest DJ heavyweights while showcasing the greatest local talents. We would like to invite all party heads, thrill-seekers, and travelers to join us on this new sonic adventure.”

Over its 11-year history, Groove On The Grass evolved from a mere electronic music festival into an immersive cultural experience emphasizing freedom of expression. The festival is dedicated to bringing creative and fun-loving people together under the banner of good vibes and irresistible moments.

Prepare yourselves for an unforgettable musical journey as Groove On The Grass makes its Asian debut in Taipei. Let the music, art, and electrifying atmosphere carry you away on December 1-2, 2023. You won’t want to miss this!

HUM STUDIOS 2-YEAR ANNIVERSARY

Settled on an unassuming lakefront road in Hanoi, amidst chaotic streets and the buzz of life, there’s a place where music, creativity, and community converge. As their name suggests, Hanoi Underground Movement has been quietly making waves in the scene for the past years. On November 25, come along as we celebrate the remarkable journey of HUM Studios as they commemorate their 2nd anniversary at their location on 116 Vu Mien, Tay Ho, Hanoi—a four-level multi-purpose space gathering local creatives and recognized members of the local scene.

When HUM Studios first opened its doors, it set out on a mission to unite the diverse and dynamic Hanoi music community. The goal was simple: bring musicians, producers, and enthusiasts under one roof. In two short but incredibly eventful years, they’ve not only achieved this goal but exceeded it in remarkable ways. HUM Studios has become a haven for local artists and musicians, a melting pot of creativity, and a catalyst for groundbreaking collaborations in the Hanoi music scene.

HUM Studios’ journey has been punctuated by dynamic collaborations that have left an indelible mark on the Hanoi music culture. One of the standout events was the Sound Exhibition, a partnership with UNESCO and RMIT University, in conjunction with Officine Gặp Saigon, titled “Crafting A Sonic City.” This interdisciplinary project explored the role of noise and sound in city development, intangible heritage, and identity creation. It’s a mesmerizing journey through the soul of two cities, Hanoi and Saigon, told through the language of sound. Listen here and explore more.

But that was only the beginning. HUM Studios continued to venture into various exciting projects, from supporting documentary endeavors like Studio Adventure Collective’s “Shun Odyssey” to crafting soundtracks for the captivating Dalient project and Tobes’ enlightening documentary, “Hanoi Awakenings.”

Their commitment to pushing the envelope in music production and event organization is exemplified through hosting international labels and artists. “Landscape,” a workshop by Field Recording Label featuring Artefakt, a luminary in the techno music industry, showcased the global appeal of HUM Studios.

As HUM Studios embarks on the next phase of its journey, the horizon is brimming with excitement. They’re on the cusp of introducing HUM Records, a record label with a mission to elevate Vietnamese artists and music to new heights. HUM Studios is also poised to establish a booking agency dedicated to managing and organizing artists, forming connections across Asia and beyond.

Hanoi’s music scene is a treasure trove of potential, and HUM Studios is unwavering in its commitment to nurture and foster it. Central to their philosophy is imparting knowledge and vision to the local community, ensuring that budding artists receive the right guidance and understand the significance of music in their lives.

At the core of HUM Studios’ ethos is a resounding message: “Stay true.” They tirelessly work behind the scenes to create awareness about the nuances of the music industry, play a crucial role in shaping the music scene, empower emerging talents, and instill the values of respect and hard work.

The anniversary event, which will be held on Saturday, starts from 4PM at the studio terrace with sets by Koolkiz, George Adore, and Deirbhile, then continues on from 9PM at Mirage with a live performance by special guest Kim Khan as well as music from HUM regulars AiLien, ANJI, Howskii, Mishouju, Steve Obi, Useph, Marco Yanes, Isabella Mavleeva, and HIP.


As HUM Studios marks its 2-year anniversary, they invite everyone to join in commemorating not just their journey but the collective progress of the Hanoi music community. With their sights set on the future, HUM Studios promises to continue their invaluable work, supporting those who dare to dream and creating an environment where music can thrive.

While the world might focus on big personalities behind the decks, HUM Studios continues to champion the Hanoi music scene’s emerging heroes, quietly but powerfully shaping the rhythm of the city. This is a celebration you won’t want to miss.

THE OBSERVATORY 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY

To immortalize an entire decade of its sterling legacy, Saigon night club The Observatory offers a whole month’s worth of celebratory programming this November. OBS, as it is fondly called by its regulars, emerged in Ho Chi Minh City ten years ago as a beacon of underground electronic and club music. Since then, the club has evolved side-by-side with the cultural and musical identity of its locale, from providing a platform for novel musical expression to building a community committed to providing the best possible experience for its loyal party-going guests, staff, and invited artists.

The club has both witnessed and been an integral part of the dynamic growth of the Saigonese and Vietnamese music scene. After several location changes and an extensive summer renovation, its current site, on the rooftop of a commercial building in central District 1, The Observatory is poised to further build upon its musical journey and legacy of top-notch quality and experience.

Much of this foray started off a decade ago with Hibiya Line, The Observatory’s co-owner and first resident DJ, who shaped and brought forward his musical vision supported by Nic Ford and Dan Lo in the initial years. This vision expanded to include an ever-growing roster of local and international resident DJs, fostering a haven for a spectrum of musical styles. Today, the club boasts a strong lineup of 18 residents, including local Saigonese, Vietnamese, regional, and international acts—what began as a bootstrapped ad hoc operation has morphed into an extended musical family, one that takes care of its members and illustrates social impact and understanding. The club now employs over 30 people, providing more than adequate salaries and healthcare, showing the long-term potential for a sustainable livelihood in the music business. The Observatory now emphasizes free expression through musical and social explorations, inviting everyone from DJs, residents, guests, and staff to develop their own vision and pursue their own unique voyage.

A MONTH-LONG CELEBRATION

Commemorating these milestones, The Observatory is throwing a string of packed weekend benders for its 10th anniversary. With a focus on the relationships and commitments built with artists, affiliates, clubs, and record labels, Obs is throwing five weekend programs throughout November, with a bonus finale weekend in December.

Starting with a family affair on Friday, November 3, The Observatory opens the month-long celebrations with a resident night. Followed on Saturday, November 4 by a party hosted by local Saigon collective Lien Hoan, which brings the soulful disco of prior generations to a modern audience. Run by OBS residents Anh Vy, Park:ING, Khoi Mai, and Viet Anh; Lien Hoan has generated a cult following among younger Vietnamese.

For the second weekend, OBS looks to neighboring regional clubs and notable powerhouses in their own cities, each hosting a one-night takeover. On Friday, November 10, famed Taipei club Pawnshop hosts a night with their residents, 8228, Toumingren, L-CC, Avalalava, and Y3KDJ. While on Saturday, November 11, fellow Vietnamese club and long-standing supporter from Hanoi, Savage, brings their talented residents, Di Linh, TaoFu, Ouissam, Manikk, Cong, and Zwi.

For the third week, the collaborations continue with two respected record labels. On Friday, November 17, Sunju Hargun’s Bangkok-based label Siamese Twins take over along with s.o.n.s, Tommy Hanson, and Nic Ford. On Saturday, November 18, German label Giegling (also co-collaborators for The Observatory’s lighting design in the club room) are bringing DJ Dustin, Konstantin, and Leafar Legov to join local selectors Yokosun, Hibiya Line, and Dusan.

The fourth Friday, November 24 will be enlightened by Powder and 5ive’s record label, Thinner Groove, adding Sonic Weapon and KOOLMFL to their musical arsenal. The month comes to a flourishing finish on Saturday, November 25 with international residents SHHHHH and Alex From Tokyo playing out the night with homegrown OBS residents Dan Lo, Nic Ford, and Khoi Mai.

Unable to contain all the revelry to a single month, the anniversary celebrations spill over to the first weekend of December, featuring two bonus nights on December 1 and 2. On Friday, a world premiere collaboration between Peter Van Hoesen and Wata Igarashi performing an all-night hybrid set. And on Saturday, AliA, Dee Diggs, Savile, and San Soda take the decks for a showstopping finale.

In addition, every Sunday of November as well as the first weekend of December will feature an ambient showcase by the Nurture X Liminal Dreams collectives, extending their monthly sessions into a weekly affair, providing atmospheric wind-downs to cap off each weekend.

THE JOURNEY SO FAR

We spoke with Hibiya Line, co-founder of The Observatory, about the club’s history and journey so far. Read on to learn more about this hallowed venue, what they’ve accomplished, and what’s in store for the years to come.

What makes this anniversary celebration different from previous years?

10 years is a milestone, of course, so we wanted to organize something special for this occasion by creating takeovers with people we’ve been close to for a long time and also more recently. We’ve built close relationships with all these collectives and we are more than happy for them to take full control of each night to celebrate our anniversary together.

What are some of the biggest changes and milestones you’ve observed in the past 10 years?

10 years ago, there was no venue dedicated to the music we program; not only in Saigon but in all of Vietnam. In these terms, OBS has been the pioneer as a club. There were already some promoters, DJs, and events happening, but they were organized in different venues like bars, restaurants, some clubs, or whatever place could fit a one-night event. Everything was pretty much DIY and every event felt like a house party as you would know 99% of the crowd. Going out felt like hanging out with family. There were only a few DJs in the city and having international guests was something like a precious treat. We were very delighted and honored when touring DJs found interest in performing here even when Vietnam was not yet on the map for electronic music.

Once OBS opened its doors in September 2013, what changed is that the music we cherish, which actually is difficult to define as we love a very wide range of genres, found a home. People started to gravitate around that and could finally meet at a regular home base. It was fundamental to strengthening that community and creating new connections between people, not only on a local level but also internationally.

Another game-changer is the fact that before OBS opened, there was no permanent place with decent DJ equipment. In 10 years, what is today mainly called “the underground music scene,” which I think embodies more a certain network of artists rather than a music style, has developed drastically. It is very beautiful and encouraging to see the emerging Vietnamese local scene after all these years.

Could you talk about some of the personal highlights, most memorable moments, or

unforgettable experiences you’ve had throughout the club’s history?

This will sound maybe a bit cliché, but all moments were memorable even if I forgot a lot of them over the years! To me, they are all highlights. I think I would have a similar answer if you asked me which DJ or which music style I prefer. I love various types of music for the different emotions that they can bring in different contexts. From the moment you embrace music as an art form, it would feel wrong to say that there is a music style that I prefer over another one. In that sense, all the experiences we have shared at OBS have been meaningful to me, whether it was during a full-house eccentric party or a more intimate event.

Having run Observatory for a decade now, what are some of the most significant insights you’ve gained?

To be honest, there is so many we could talk about. We’ve learned so much over a decade that I don’t know where to start. But something central I realized over the years of running a nightclub that provides the best experience possible is the importance for the entire team to understand each other’s scope of work and realize that to create a good party, every part of the job is equally important if we want to create a unique experience.

Moving forward, what are the club’s next big goals and objectives for the coming years?

Reaching sustainability in order for The Observatory to pursue its mission and eventually pass over management to new generations. Remaining free and independent in our artistic choices and working to provide a quality space for music with the best experience possible for our audience, staff, and invited artists; and pushing creativity as far as we can.

Lastly, why is it so important to cultivate an enduring space for the clubbing community in Vietnam?

I think it’s important to cultivate an enduring space not only in Vietnam but everywhere. It is fundamental in order to ensure good articulation between generations and to offer a platform where knowledge, skills, and experience can be shared and exchanged. In the case of Vietnam, it is important because the scene here is still at its beginning stage and it would be a shame if, over the next years, this link would break.

AGAITIDA 2023

As temperatures drop and the winter months approach, Japan sets forth to bask once more in the glory of the rising sun, to a soundtrack of rhythmic beats and techno groove for Agaitida Festival. Celebrating its ninth edition in the picturesque Kunigami Village, a quaint, sparsely populated and densely forested site nestled at the northern tip of the subtropical island of Okinawa—Agaitida remains true to its name, which means “rising sun” in the Okinawan dialect.

With a lineup of four international artists along with local pioneers from Okinawa, Tokyo, Kansai, and Hokkaido, Agaitida delivers an unforgettable experience for music enthusiasts. More than just an outdoor music festival, Agaitida’s theme is that of a bridge connecting Southeast Asia and Japan.

Among the lineup set to grace the stage is Osaka-born AOKI Takamasa, renowned for his cutting-edge audiovisual productions and performances that push the boundaries of electronic sound. DJ Nobu, a stalwart of Japan’s underground and techno sound, brings his highly sought-after genre-defying selections to the festival. DJ Yazi, meanwhile, brings his distinct avant-garde hip-hop style from Tokyo to the outdoor environment. Hokkaido-based producer and sound designer Kuniyuki Takahashi plays a live set drawn from his prolific background. Okinawa-born, internationally-raised IORI brings multicultural influences to his set. Finding harmony in house rhythm, techno basslines, and melodic acid riffs, Gonno’s richly unique style is sure to electrify the dance floor. Wata Igarashi needs no introduction as a revered figure in the techno scene, whose hypnotic euphoric blends are a highlight of any program. Festival founder YUTA, on the other hand, offers his signature psychedelic sound culled from his diverse experience performing on global stages and international festivals.

Hailing from Argentina, Barrio Lindo explores traditional South American folk elements and melds them with electronic music. Ouissam, founder of Savage club in Hanoi, Vietnam, takes the stage with a flair for gripping melodies that move your body. Blurring the boundaries between rhythmic euphoria and thumping sonic beats, Marco Shuttle is sure to mesmerize festival-goers.

A standout feature of Agaitida is their commitment to audio quality. The organizers have partnered with high-caliber German provider d&b audiotechnik to ensure a high-resolution, delicate sound expression that promises to captivate every attendee. With a curated lineup emphasizing techno and house, expect an immersive and resonating auditory experience.

The event venue at Pension Yonahadake is a rustic encampment located atop a hill in a national park, offering breathtaking panoramic vistas of sun, sky, sea, distant islands, and rolling greenery, adding a natural atmosphere of visual enchantment to the soundscape spectacle.

Moreover, Agaitida has spared no expense when it comes to visual aesthetics and environmental design. The festival boasts a team of scenographers from both eastern and western Japan who will be crafting a kaleidoscope of video projections, laser displays, decorations, and even soap bubbles.

Japanese hospitality is evident in Agaitida’s accessibility and affordability. The organizers have lowered ticket prices, making the festival experience more accessible to a broader audience. Tent rentals are available in various sizes, making it convenient for attendees to find accommodation on-site. Transportation to the festival site is also hassle-free, just a convenient cab ride away from the nearest bus stop, ensuring participants can focus on enjoying the music and surroundings without logistical worries.

This year’s edition promises to be a milestone in the festival’s history. As the beats echo out into the sunrise, Agaitida Festival continues to break down barriers and celebrate the universal language of music.

DIAGE FESTIVAL 2023

For the very first time in Thailand’s boisterous capital, experimental electronic sound and avant-garde visual arts converge, taking center stage at DIAGE Festival to be held at Show DC, Bangkok throughout a weekend from November 11 to November 12.

The synergistic collaboration is helmed by a team of organizers from Zubscribe, design agency Choux Lab, motion graphics studio SquareDots., as well as Bangkok night club DECOMMUNE. Featuring over 60 Thai and international artists, the event is not only the first of its kind but one of the largest, most impressive showcases of high-caliber talent making waves and pushing the boundaries of dance music and digital art.

To shed more light on this groundbreaking effort, we spoke with Chaiyapat Plubsiri (Natt), DIAGE Founder and Creative Director, as well as Pathompol Chanin (New), Co-Founder and Music Director.

“Our passion for digital arts and electronic music led us to create DIAGE,” began Natt. With a founding team consisting of musicians and visual artists, the opportunity to combine forces was a natural compulsion. After traveling to various music and arts festivals across Asia and Europe, “We were impressed by the atmosphere and variety… and wanted to bring a similar experience to Thailand,” he concluded.

The concept had been floating around since the days of DECOMMUNE’s former location at Thonglor. Advocating for an artist and music-forward philosophy, the idea continued to grow. “Now, in 2023, it has come back with renewed enthusiasm and greater experience. We feel that now is the perfect time to pursue this endeavor and thus, we present DIAGE,” New explained.

DIAGE invites people from all walks of life to experience novel forms of entertainment. “Our festival aims to create diverse cultural experiences, promoting music and art while encouraging the exchange of ideas,” said Natt. “We offer another option for music festivals. One that presents new directions and diversity. Attending a music festival doesn’t have to be just about entertainment. You can come to learn, meet new people, and engage in conversations to exchange ideas and experiences. This could lead you to create something new in the future,” he emphasized.

Aside from riveting audiovisual performances by genre-crossing artists in the field, the DIAGE program includes talks and master classes, a coding workshop, immersive lighting and production design, as well as multimedia installations by regional artists. “We also want to provide a space for artists to find opportunities and a platform for them to shine,” said Natt.

He continued, “In addition to watching performances by various artists, we also invite them to join us for conversations, to share their behind-the-scenes experiences, thought processes, and deep-seated inspirations.” Unlike typical music festivals that mostly cater to party veterans and dance enthusiasts, DIAGE aspires to welcome a broader range of attendees. “Whether you’re in the audio/visual field, passionate about concert production, into coding, technology, and much more, delving into these discussions might just spark the creative force for you to showcase with us in the coming years. Who knows?” Natt implored.

“Our goal is to create a strong bond with our audience by highlighting the beauty of digital art and electronic music in our region,” stated New. “Our focus for this year is on visual technology. In the following year, we plan to expand to music production and performance art,” he added.

Among the festival highlights are performances and collaborative presentations by Nonotak, Doon Kanda & Jesse Kanda, Nosaj Thing & Daito Manabe, Amnesia Scanner & Freeka Tet, Peter Van Hoesen, Batu, Wanton Witch, 404.zero, Marmosets, Ocean Lam, object blue, and more. Lighting and installations are provided by SquareDots., Human Spectrum, Footprints on Mars, Nawin Nuthong, Panlert, Sidehouse Sunshine, Trystand, Tara Emsavana, Kittikarn Amprot, and roma.

With such a progressive concept and eclectic roster of featured artists, DIAGE is sure to attract a mixed crowd including many first-time festival-goers and people unfamiliar with such experimental ideas. Bangkok is already known as a champion of inclusive, holistic events and festivals. The city celebrates cultural and gender diversity through art, music, and accessibility. The venue, at the 6th Floor Hall of Show DC, will be divided into five zones, with three distinct stages. Plenty of nearby hotels and accommodations along Rama 9 Road conveniently invite guests from around the world.

Trailblazing events like DIAGE that cultivate original experiences built on strong community spirit deserve the support of anyone and everyone seeking fresh perspectives on contemporary and alternative music, art, technology, and entertainment.

Finally, New urged, “Don’t be afraid to venture into the unknown. Keep an open mind and stay curious. The world is going furiously fast, man.”

And so are tickets to DIAGE, so make your reservations today!

UNAHARN FESTIVAL 2023

From October 21 to 23, 2023, Unaharn Festival returns for two days and two nights of jungle revelry happening at Rabiangprai Valley Resort in Nakhon Nayok, a mere 2.5-hour journey from the bustling heart of Bangkok and one of Thailand’s pristine hidden gems. Nestled on the border of the Khao Yai National Park, this idyllic venue is enveloped by lush greenery and picturesque mountain vistas. The 6-hectare resort offers a variety of accommodations, from cozy cabins to private rooms, dormitories, and even tent areas. The enchanting location provides the perfect canvas for an outdoor festival surrounded by emerald greenery, majestic mountainscapes, refreshing pools and ponds. More than just a music festival, Unaharn promotes an experience grounded in nature, wellness, growth, and self-discovery, promising auditory delight as well as visual and spiritual immersion. Find harmony and balance between nature’s symphony and the diversity of underground club music.

Some of the featured artists include international maestros that have since found a home in Thailand such as Alex Zaldua (UK), Boris Rubin (Germany), Brent Burns (Transport, UK), Mumsfilibaba (Sweden), Luke July (Groovy Tunes, UK), and Vell (Boiled Wonderland Records, UK). Joining them from neighboring Hanoi, Vietnam are Savage club residents Di Linh and Ouissam. Rounding out the roster are champions and leaders of Thailand’s underground scene: Chalo (More Rice), DOTT (More Rice), Jirus (Never Normal), DJ Sweed (Decommune), DJ Tada (Kleaning Service), Bestrip, and Mac Rattana. Of course, along with Unaharn founder Gaspray (Belgium).

Each of these talented DJs brings their own unique style and energy to Unaharn 2023, providing tunes throughout the weekend and promising an unforgettable weekend of extraordinary music, dance, and camaraderie. Don’t miss out on the fun, grab your tickets for Unaharn Festival today!

KAPUT 4: TOGETHER AT VARGAS MUSEUM

For the fourth installment of its hit party series, KAPUT takes underground dance culture to the UP Vargas Museum, a veritable institution of Manila’s local art scene.

The Jorge B. Vargas Museum, located in the historic University of the Philippines campus, has long been a sanctuary for art enthusiasts and cultural aficionados. The gallery hosts an ever-evolving collection of contemporary art as well as a permanent display of Filipino masterpieces from Vargas’ personal collection. Exhibits by modern practitioners and exceptional student work come together under one roof along with paintings and sculptures by National Artists such as Felix Hidalgo, Fernando Amorsolo, and Napoleon Abueva. The revered establishment carries a legacy of earnest joy and inclusivity for the arts. In celebration of its namesake founder’s 133rd birthday, the museum inaugurates the Vargas After-Hours program, drawing from the history of the Kawilihan compound, Mr. Vargas’ former residence which became a setting for various social events in the evenings.

The upcoming collaboration with KAPUT and post-rock band Monochrome sets the stage for this novel project bridging the art world and Manila’s nocturnal denizens.

We met multidisciplinary artist and KAPUT founder Derek Tumala to talk about the upcoming event and the story behind his unique art and rave collective. Derek shared, “I first encountered the name Kaput as a club in Bogota, Colombia when I was there for a show in November 2021… and I thought ‘KAPUT’ has a nice twang to it plus the meaning is so relevant to me.”

“Kaput,” which means “broken” in German, encapsulates a profound sentiment aligned with the founder’s vision. Derek explained, “I thought everything was broken—our systems, society, and our collective thinking. So I thought it was fitting to call it KAPUT since it feels like everything seemed hopeless and grim. Ironic, I know, but I thought it was a way of coping for me, an escape through mounting raves and building this micro-utopia.”

“The very essence of rave is to reach some form of utopia,” Derek elaborates. “And you won’t achieve that if the collective atmosphere is geared towards competition, bad quality, or capitalist aspirations.”

From its inception to the present, KAPUT’s transformative journey echoes the subversive potential of rave culture’s do-it-yourself attitude and pleasure-seeking ethos. Like many endeavors borne of the pandemic, KAPUT came about as a reaction to isolation. Before the lockdowns happened, Derek found inspiration during his travels to New York, attending New Year’s Eve parties and raves like Large Marge, Merge, and Locked Groove. “So I thought maybe I can start and copy how they do things,” he concedes.

This led to clandestine gatherings with friends during the dreariest days of the pandemic, sneaking out of Manila to nearby provinces to find solace with friends and fellow artists, fueled by music and the desire for connection. “Small parties, Bluetooth speakers, lights, projectors. We just hung out the whole night and listened to techno and everything else,” Derek shared. This intimate experience sparked the momentum for these gatherings to grow to a larger scale, starting with private test runs at a heritage building in Escolta, Manila where Derek formerly held his studio space, KAPUT eventually launched its first major public event at an abandoned commercial space, recommended by yet another close confidant. Central to KAPUT’s vitality is the supportive network of friends met through years of attending other local parties and underground events.

This further translates to Derek’s process for featuring artists. He emphasized, “Number one I look for is the curation. Taste and sensibilities over technique. I always consult with my friends, and ask them what they think of this or that DJ. For me, it’s a consensus among friends too.” So far, KAPUT has championed emerging DJs together with industry veterans and lesser-known, often overlooked talents alongside video and light installations by visual artist colleagues.

Vargas Museum curator Tessa Maria Guazon attended the second installment of KAPUT, and that became the launchpad for this upcoming fourth chapter. “I feel that rave and museum are worlds apart but finally have a chance to converge.” Derek is enthusiastic about the opportunity to bring underground subculture to a different audience and celebrate the friendships he’s built around mounting raves. In Derek’s vision, KAPUT serves as a bridge between art and rave culture. “Blurring boundaries is an impulse that is recurring in my art practice and I think this resonates with that as well,” he affirmed.

Part of the Vargas After-Hours showcase is a panel discussion with Kiko Escora, Christina Bartges, Wesley Valenzuela, Tessa Guazon, and Derek Tumala himself, talking about the alternative music scene, rave culture, and nightlife. Derek continued, “For the rave to be put on a pedestal is a chance to explore its sensibilities.”

Our conversation shed some light on these sensibilities. “Rave is like a microcosm of society,” Derek pondered. “To congregate people towards an idea of having fun—that’s collective action. I always imagine raves as utopias, in the sense that for a short amount of time, all our egos, dilemmas, and expectations dissipate. If you think about it, what does a world with no aspiration for power look like? What if we give in to the music and be put in a trance?”

Besides challenging stereotypes associated with partying and creating immersive experiences that go beyond the ordinary, KAPUT is motivated by a return to the core of raving. “My main motivation was always and always will be: fun,” Derek asserted. “At its core, people forget to have fun… For me, I just want to share the things that I love… KAPUT is an imagining of a better world. I just want KAPUT to exist,” he concluded, comparing it to his creative compulsion as an artist. “Like in art, it just needs to be out there.”

Experience firsthand this utopic vision come to life and join the transcendent pursuit of fun at Vargas Museum on September 30, beginning with the talks at 5:00 PM followed by all-night revelry to the buzz and groove of Monochrome along with back-to-back DJ sets by James Clar and Manila Animal, Badkiss and Nomoclassiq, and DQMX and Christal. On display will be artworks by Micaela Benedicto, Jao San Pedro, Jellyfish Kisses, and ThirdworldBB.

Photo Credit : Gio Dionisio @giocities

UNMUTE SOFT LAUNCH

Set to amplify Hanoi’s nightlife, Unmute is the newest electronic music club to hit the scene. Opening its doors for the first time on September 1 and 2, Unmute aspires to be a sonic haven that brings together established artists and fosters emerging talents.

In recent years, Hanoi has made its reputation as a destination attracting crowds of music aficionados, clubbers, and curious newcomers. The ancient capital’s historic streets, once synonymous with traditional culture, now resonate with the buzz of electronic beats, house music, techno, and experimentation in sound. As Vietnam’s economic development continues to flourish, the city has witnessed a remarkable transformation that mirrors its own urban growth. From humble beginnings to a burgeoning nightlife hub, a newfound openness to global influences paves the way for resurgent subcultures.

Situated on the edge of Hoan Kiem district, amid bustling local markets and the swell and swerve of honking traffic, Unmute takes over another former club space in an unassuming commercial building complex, The Warehouse. Resilience, adaptation, transformation, and evolution are themes that echo through the night club’s vision, born of Hanoi’s characteristic fusion of time-honored tradition with forward-looking novelty.

More than just a venue, Unmute is a movement that embodies the spirit of change and renewal happening in the region. A relatively fresh addition to the local landscape himself, local DJ and Unmute founder Lam Dao has proven to be a key player in the scene. Exemplifying the club’s ethos, he rallies a roster of DJ residents who demonstrate this blend of legacy and innovation. Anh Vy, one of the youngest DJs in the country, made his mark as a resident of Saigon clubbing mecca The Observatory and as a member of the Atipik Collective. Meanwhile, Viet Anh has gained admiration for his diligence and dedication to cultivating the local scene over many years, with pivotal roles in collectives like Studio Adventure and Liên Hoan; he is a cornerstone of the Unmute team. Joining them is Quan, an adept veteran who has been in Hanoi’s music industry for over a decade.

For the Soft Launch happening on September 1 and 2, Unmute gathers a veritable who’s who of Vietnam’s DJ talent from across the nation as well as the recognized movers and shakers who have contributed to the growth of Hanoi’s nightlife—a lineup that highlights the city’s collaborative essence.

The weekend starts off with notable selector Cong and continues with Manikk, Khoi Mai, Park:ING, Zwi, Dusan, and Marco Yanes. On Saturday, the club’s residents Anh Vy, Viet Anh, and Lam Dao are joined by TaoFu, Teodora Van Context, and ToK.

At the helm of this immersive club environment is trained architect, director, designer, and representative of SOIHOUSE Inc., Jiro Endo. The cutting-edge space spans two distinct spaces, the Cuốn Club Room and the rooftop Tan Bar. Endo, whose brilliant work has graced massive outdoor festivals such as WonderFruit, intimate gallery spaces, fashion events, as well as Tokyo clubs, meticulously merges modernity with the city’s distinct character.

The club room boasts a custom locally crafted 4-way sound system, developed together with Mark Own Audio and purpose-built for Unmute. Utilizing horn-loaded design paired with advanced crossover technology, the speakers deliver a balanced, articulated sound throughout the room, with a versatility that accommodates the wide spectrum of music and genres that the club espouses. Atmospheric lighting offers a dynamic visual experience. The dance floor, with its spring-loaded surface, becomes an extension of movement and rhythm, making each step a seamless part of the music.

The Tan Bar, on the 5th and 6th floors, provides meticulously crafted cocktails and drinks alongside panoramic vistas overlooking the Red River. With its intimate nooks and sweeping city views, this is the place to catch your breath, cozy up, and engage in conversations away from the heavy thump and hum of the club room.  

Welcoming guests for the first time this weekend, Unmute’s curated club experience aims to push boundaries by providing a platform to showcase seasoned artists, develop upcoming talents, and deliver an authentic, new understanding of what nightlife could be.