Fri, Jun 09, 2006 - Page 14 News List

The Vinyl Word

By Steve Price  /  STAFF REPORTER

It's summer, so it must be beach party time. Get wet in the sea or the rain.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CUBE PRODUCTION

Opened in September 2003 to plenty of oohs and aahs as Taipei's, if not Taiwan's, premiere nightlife complex, Luxy has brought the biggest and best international DJs to town and nurtured local talent.

The club raised the bar for the local dance music scene; with it's opulent interior, dedicated staff, progressive programming and license (a rarity for clubs in Taiwan), rave music came out of the closet.

But staying fresh is a constant challenge as the shine of a new club quickly turns dull, no matter how groundbreaking it is.

Owned by the Hsia family, and managed by Alan Hsia who runs The Loop promotions, Luxy was once playboy Johnny Hwang's vice palace before it was redesigned by Scala Wu (吳昭立) in the present form.

And another transformation is underway.

"The first three years were getting people used to hip hop in one room and house in the other, now it's gotten to the point where I think we can mix it up. I've been warming up for this," Hsia told the Vinyl Word "We're moving into a more complex way of programming, like Japanese clubs. The same three-room layout, so we are gonna restyle to... stay different."

The Lotus Room has already been remodeled. Now called the Onyx Room, the first stage in Hsia's plan to shake up the dance music industry is complete.

Of greater significance is the club's monthly Sabbatical residencies, which began last week with Johnny Fiasco.

"We are gonna have monthly residencies for the summer, we have a studio now, and they [international artists] will stay and make tracks with local artists. We have so many international acts coming in, they've often been here before, and they can leave a mark, instead of just coming in for one day," Hsia said.

Sabbatical residents are scheduled to spin every week at Luxy, go back to back with local DJs, and produce tracks drawing inspiration from Taiwan.

"Our goal is to collect six songs, and have a Sabbatical Web site, and the DJ has a blog about their time in Taiwan," said Hsia. "Maybe he's sampling from the MRT or the guys on the street who fix your windows. The sounds of Taipei. That's what I'm gonna suggest, although I am not gonna limit them."

Given the huge overheads of operations such as Luxy and The Loop -- high entertainment taxes, underworld expenses and artist fees, to name just a few -- Hsia's move is a bold gamble.

"We have a club under construction down in Taichung, planned to open July 14th. It's in Tiger city. It's gonna be a commercial club, hip hop and R&B, to begin with, because of gangster issues. Taichung is like the early stages of Las Vegas I think, because it's unstable crime wise, but people somehow find their justice," Hsia said.

Although Taichung City may have lost its crown as Taiwan's good-time town, it does have a high ratio of young single people, exactly the profile of people that go out and party. And when Taiwan's High Speed Rail line comes online, the journey time from Taipei to Taichung will be 40 minutes instead of two hours on the bus.

Plans are also afoot for a smaller venue in Taipei, an altogether more exclusive affair.

"It's gonna be more of a nightclub. Not members only but there will be some sort of filter process, it won't be just walk in. There will be a VIP service, but it won't be pretentious. Between a lounge and a members only club," Hsia said. "It'll be for creative people. For that kind of clique. The location has to be fabulous, very unique."

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