Artist and co-founder of the Idlebeats screen print studio unveils her latest solo show at the Identity Art Gallery
August 15, 2011
Introducing our celebrated musical guest columnists from Shanghai
- Text by Terence Teh
Gaz Williams is the Manchester-born, Shanghai-based music promoter behind some of the most innovative new electronic bass music to come out of China. Founding Sub-Culture as an event that straddles music, art and film, a blog of the same name as well as the reggae collective Uprooted Sunshine and PAUSE - a collective group of Shanghai’s independent promoters, musicians and artists, Sub-Culture will be our invaluable insight into the bass heavy sonics of the city.
Satellite Voices: Did Sub-Culture start as a party? Who's involved?
Gaz Williams: Sub-Culture started at the same time The Shelter opened in 2007. Sub-Culture is basically the non-reggae side of Uprooted Sunshine. As Uprooted Sunshine we play mainly reggae, dancehall and ska, but all the members are also into different styles of music and so Sub-Culture was set up as our outlet for other styles. We have our monthly residency at Shelter where we bring over international DJs/artists that we love as well as local and Asia-based crews, we work closely with Idle Beats screen-printers and local artists to produce screen printed posters every month, we run a small weekly cinema night at Dada bar and we also run our blog.
SV: How would you describe the electronic music scene in shanghai?
Gaz Williams: The scene has really picked up over the last few years and its now a lot more diverse than it was. There is certainly a great deal more variety in the genres of electronic music being played here than there is in a lot of other Chinese or even Asian cities. Recently a lot more young Chinese people are creating there own groups/brands and promoting electronic music events, and are proving very successful. There is also a good number of very talented producers coming up at the moment and in the past few years there has been some really good quality electronic music come out of the city. Things are definitely growing and getting better year-by-year.
SV: Who should we be looking out for musically?
Gaz Williams: As for local stuff, the two launch parties we had for the first two release on PAUSE:MUSIC were fantastic. The first release was for AM444’s "Eye Wonder" album. There had been a lot of hype for this one before hand as vocalist ChaCha is getting quite a name for herself over the last few years and this was her first proper full release. The second release was for Sig’s "Sad Mirror" album. The crowd we’re really receptive to his stuff and it really felt like a proper performance of his own material. For both the events the turnouts were great, in fact they had more people than the majority of the recent international guest events.
SV: What does your city mean to you?
Gaz Williams: Too many late nights, not enough sun light getting through, bad weather, good food, bad air, some very nice people, some incredibly frustrating people, strange smells, a lot of opportunities.
SV: Can you talk about the best creative youth cultures in your town? What artists in Shanghai are doing it big for you right now?
Gaz Williams: I really like what Idle Beats is doing these days. They have a great attitude towards what they do and they are really supporting local artists and getting involved in the local music scene. Artists like Nini from Idle Beats, Cheeri Wang and Xiao Long Hua are really refining their styles at the moment and I find it very exciting and inspiring.
Check back for the Sub-Culture Guest Column next month for Satellite Voices
Photo by Charles Perez
Sub-Culture poster art by Gregor Koerting & JP Cuison.
Photographer Benoit Florencon goes behind the beat of Shanghai’s underground electronic music scene
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