Raised on jazz, punk and old school hip-hop, Anti Hero (Liam Michael Arthur Briggs) has always been sensitive to the sounds that surround him. “I guess you can say I grew up on music,” he says. “I have memories of my father playing Ray Charles, Miles Davis and the Beatles.”
Tomorrow night, Anti Hero dusts off his Rubik’s Cube and fat gold chain for the 1980s party Dirty Dancing at 89k. He will be joined by Colour Wolf and Veeeky of the Bounce Girlz.
In the mid-1980s, Anti Hero was fixated on skateboarding and began listening to punk rock. “I enjoyed the energy of the music at first, but what I loved the most was the politics and values that were inherent in the movement at that time,” he says.
While not a big fan of rap music in its prepubescent stages, the Beastie Boys and especially Public Enemy showed Anti Hero that punk and hip-hop were very much alike. “Both were about unequal and unfair distributions of wealth and power and were cries for change both socially and politically,” he says. “Although musically dissimilar, ideologically they were very similar. Public Enemy was like my gateway drug into the rest of hip-hop, which at that time as a whole was very politically and socially aware.”
Eight years ago, Anti Hero needed to pay off his student loan so Taiwan seemed like the perfect place for an adventure, to earn money and to continue his kung fu studies. He settled in Taichung for two years, moved to Kaohsiung for four years, and now has made his home in Taipei. “I fully miss the skateboard park in Kaohsiung but I just felt like my life was stagnant after four years of living there,” he says. “A friend of mine mentioned that maybe Taipei would be a good option as I could probably play music more and change things up, so after thinking on it for a while I took his advice. I am totally happy with my decision. I am playing more often and have fortunately met some really great people as well.”
In Taipei, Anti Hero is now a resident at the swanky lounge bar Marquee (16-1 Xinyi Rd, Sec 5 Taipei City, 信義路五段16-1), and plays electro at underground parties across the country. “At Marquee, I play anything from acid jazz to trip hop early on and Top 40 hip-hop later on. It’s a pretty chill place with a good vibe,” Anti Hero says. “As far as playing electro, I usually only get to play that at underground parties like those thrown by the Tranquility Bass crew, Karma or for the Dancing Through Sunday girls.”
Electro is by far the hottest sound in the clubs at the moment because of its infusion of elements of hip-hop as well as all other forms of electronic music. For Anti Hero, it reminds him of the music he listened to growing up. “When I stumbled upon electro, I just truly enjoyed the energy and fullness of the sound. The electro I like playing and hearing the most is as close to playing punk or metal as I think I can get without actually playing punk or metal,” he says. “I think it captures that sort or raw energy and angst, but without the politics.”
Anti Hero released his latest mix, Journey to CP 1919, on his SoundCloud page (soundcloud.com/dj-anti-hero) a week ago. “The newest mix varies a bit more and definitely has moments of lighter happiness,” he says. The page also has some of Anti Hero’s older mixes as well. “If you like happy hard crunchy electro that’s a little bit on the rock ’n’ roll tip — well then download them.”