Tomorrow at Zoo in Taichung nine local and expat DJs play together at a re:FRESH Digital Phenomenon indoor/outdoor party, solidifying an electronic scene that is thriving without any big names.
The Vinyl Word snatched interviews with four of the DJs regarding their feelings on why the local scene is raising its game while the incoming international talent is on the wane.
"Expat DJs have a different interpretation of music than the local DJs," said Dominik Tyliszczcak, aka Hooker. "They also tend to attract different groups of people... . It's the mix that makes it a fun party."
Matthew Dyson, known as Matty D, says, "when a bunch of talented DJs play together it pushes them to be better. It keeps them on their toes and tightens everyone's set up."
At the business end of the market, parties are all about playing the right tunes in the right order. With the MP3 generation comes a wealth of easily obtainable music.
"The new accessibility to music via MP3s is helping people explore. Being able to go online and spend a couple of thousand dollars on enough new music has helped," says Hooker.
"The music just keeps getting better," says Matty D. "Before I would be shopping for tracks or listening to a DJ play and have to wait for a track I could get down to. Now there are so many kick-ass tracks making it in to clubs these days."
Luxy lass Cookie says that because of the number of DJs, "not too many promoters can make this kind of party without it being a big commercial event."
So then, even though Taiwan has a large pool of talent, is it sustainable without overseas names?
"I believe the scene can support itself," Gareth Jones says. "But sometimes a catalyst to jumpstart it is necessary, and that will probably need to come in the form of an international act now and then."
"Nothing can support it self in an isolation jar nor can it grow," Hooker says. "The international DJs can bring a fresh feel to the scene. Unfortunately, the big names don't seem to deliver... hard-hitting sets as consistently as we would like them to."
However, as Jones says, "whether they are good or not, the fame of an international DJ always draws more attention and brings out more people."
Cookie has noticed a shift in priorities for promoters: more local acts are being booked. "We had a lot of internationals come before, but we need to support our local DJs as well and balance our Taiwanese music quality with the rest of the world."
As a new summer begins, partyland "is starting to get some color back in its cheeks," Hooker says. "Let's hope its recuperation from 'hit-hop'-induced decline continues."
See Ripper, Cookie, Hooker, Freaky Squeaker, Kriz, Matty D, Gareth Jones, J-Six and Victor Yeh at re:FRESH Digital Phenomenon at Zoo, 68 Daguan St, Taichung City (台中市南屯區大觀路68號). Tomorrow from 10pm to 6am. Entrance is NT$400 before midnight and NT$500 afterwards. For more information call (04) 2386-1840.