Walking into any popular dance club at 1am on a weekend night in Taiwan, one expects the sweaty masses to be bumping and grinding to the latest hip-pop hits from Pitbull, the newest electro bangers from David Guetta, or the bass wobbles of hair fashionista Skrillex.
There was a time not too long ago, though, when pop music was ruled by a different clique. Women would tie their hair back with scrunchies and scream and shout to Madonna’s newest songs. Men in mullets used to headbang to the hardcore offerings of hair metal bands, as well as show off their pleather jackets with tons of zippers while doing the moonwalk. This Saturday night, those feelings of nostalgia will be in the air for the Retro Party at Micasa with DJs Dark Lo (羅大可), Steven Wong (翁維邦) and friends.
Wong got his feet wet in the business more than 30 years ago. “The reason that I started to deejay is because I liked Western music and had a wonderful experience as a DJ at a high school graduation party. That experience has kept me going until now.”
Lo, a Tainan native, is proud of the fact that he learned how to mix records by himself back in the early days.
“My first DJ job was in 1979 at the Superstar Music House,” he said. “There were more than 8,000 vinyl records there, and I wanted to hear all of them.”
Rock and Roll was what tickled Dark’s fancy at first. “There are almost too many artists to name. My favorites were Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix,” Lo said.
Like most talented DJs, Lo’s tastes evolved with the times. “In 1998, I changed my style to electronic music,” he said. “Now I play house, tech house, and techno.”
Wong was always a fan of the most popular sounds of the day. “I started out by playing all major pop dance music and what was on the Billboard top 100 charts,” he said. “Now I play any kind of music, from hip-hop to electronic to lounge, depending on what kind of party it is. I just follow the wave to fit in as a DJ, that’s all.”
This Saturday, Wong said he is sure to play a lot of his favorite old school songs, including Kool and the Gang’s Get Down on It, Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, and Soul II Soul’s Keep on Moving.
Lo will be doing a mostly Italo-disco set, but look out for Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen and Dreaming, by OMD, his favorite 1980s’ band.
With over 60 years of combined experience, Wong and Lo have some solid advice for the younger generation. Wong said, “For all I’ve being through, I understand that by being a DJ, you must have an open mind, an open heart and always want to learn new things.”
Lo believes that new DJs should understand the PLUR mantra of the rave community, which is peace, love, unity, and respect. And remember: “Music is the safe kind of high.”
■ Retro Party with Dark Lo, Steven Wong, Charles Liu, and Kelvin Hsieh on Saturday night from 10pm to 4am at Micasa, B1, 277, Dunhua S Rd Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市敦化南路二段277號B1), tel: (02) 2378-9955. Admission is free for ladies and NT$200 for men (includes one drink).