In Taipei, small clubs come and go faster than foreigners. But tonight, Korner celebrates survival with a one-year anniversary party featuring German underground techno house phenomenon Steve Bug. Resident Advisor casts a dazzling limelight on him, calling him Berlin’s best tastemaker, trendsetter and mover-shaker extraordinaire. With three ongoing record labels, a mile-long production catalog and a DJ career dating back two decades, the description is fitting.
This is a party for underground music heads, as Korner’s dark and dingy vibe might scare off your typical club goer. This is a good thing; it only attracts the cool cats. Over the last year, Korner has come to define itself as the one place capable of generating an eclectic and eccentric atmosphere that cannot be found in a 1000+ capacity club. It’s worth every penny of the taxi ride.
“I think what defines Korner is the vibe,” said James Ho (賀捷明), booking manager for Korner and The Wall, on why he thinks the place does well.
“The consistency of good underground music and the absolute freedom for DJs to play what they want. It is a good gathering spot for DJs, musicians and artists. I remember Brian Eno wrote about the key to keeping a good scene is to create a common ground for musician and artist, and to make sure they get a free drink to keep them happy. After all, these are the people that make the underground scene vibrant. So I would say it is the community of creatives that keeps Korner going.”
■ Steve Bug plays tonight at Korner inside The Wall (這牆) from 11:30pm to 5am, B1, 200, Roosevelt Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路四段200號B1). Tickets are NT$900 at the door.
It was a chance encounter that put John Digweed in the same club as Sasha (real-name Alexander Coe) in 1993, but 20 years later it’s more about sheer talent than any sort of lucky break. It’s only lucky for us in Taipei, as we get to experience what had sparked the New York City underground rave scene, and what is responsible for the plethora of electronic music movements thriving today.
Digweed’s set tomorrow night at Neo Studio may be reminiscent of the energy and the passion that went into 10-hour sets at New York City’s legendary club Twilo, but it won’t be a throwback set of old-school house music. Digweed says that even since those days, his sets have been 80 to 90 percent new music.
“It’s so much more rewarding to get amazing reactions from the crowd when you are playing tracks that they have not heard before rather than playing the same 20 tracks that everybody else is,” said Digweed in an interview with the Taipei Times.
“I very rarely play the same tracks after a month or so,” he continued. “I don`t really fit into that group of DJs playing all the big hits to get a reaction. I find it very lazy to just churn out the same set week after week, for me each gig is different and you should be presenting each crowd a set that you are performing just for them. Not something you worked out a month ago.”
In a small world oversaturated with too many DJs and only one sound, this is why Digweed stands out even after two decades. Deejaying is not just about going through the motions, he says, but it’s more like a two-way street where the crowd should also see a DJ passionately get behind every track he plays.
Following this formula is how Digweed stays current and far away from the EDM scene, which other DJs have felt pressure to join. He doesn’t have hard feelings for the scene, however. He’s just happy that people have so much choice within the electronic dance music scene, and thinks that EDM has a place within it, just like techno, house and dubstep.
“EDM has managed to get a lot of new people into electronic music. [Those people’s] tastes might change over time and [they may start searching for] different styles of music.”
Fans can look forward to a lengthy set from Digweed tomorrow night. Maybe not 10 hours like he’s done in the past, but definitely something extended if the crowd is up for it.
“For me playing long sets is no problem if you have the right crowd that wants to party. I get my energy from the crowd’s reactions.”
■ John Digweed plays Saturday night from 9pm to 4am at Neo Studio, 5F, 22 Songshou Rd, Taipei (台北市松壽路22號5樓). Tickets are NT$1,300 at the door; advance tickets are sold out.