Too cool to limit his vibe to just one place, Mr. Ho hops between Hong Kong and Europe spinning hedonistic tracks. He’s both a record collector and record label owner that likes to keep things authentic and DIY when it comes to his shows and the biz. We caught up with him to chat about music scenes in different cities, how his label, Klasse Wrecks, came to be, and what we can expect from him in 2020.
Electric Soul is giving away 2 tickets for 3 winners to his upcoming show on March 21st! Keep checking back into our Instagram to win!
Electric Soul: You’ve been around the block in terms of DJing. With 15+ years under your belt, tell us about your musical career up until this point.
Mr. Ho: I’ve travelled around quite a bit for djing. I’ve released some records. I’ve met many like-minded and inspiring individuals, some of whom I can call my friends. There have been times I’ve gotten bored with what I do, but then something happens that brings back the excitement.
ES: You’re currently based in Hong Kong. What other cities would you call home and how do their music scenes differ from Hong Kong’s?
MH: Right now, I would only call Hong Kong my home. I used to live in Berlin, and electronic music brings about 50,000 people to the city to party every weekend, and around 1.5 billion EUR to the city a year. There is an electronic music industry in Berlin, and it is a significant part of the city’s economy. That’s just not the case in Hong Kong.
ES: You’re a bit of a record collector. Tell us what got you started and how many records you’ve collected to date. What is your most prized record?
MH: I started buying records because a significant portion of the music I liked was only available in that format and I also liked how the artwork was presented on the record sleeve. Currently, there are probably 2000+ records in my collection and I’m attached to about 1500 of them.
ES: Who is Mr. Ho as a DJ? How would you describe your sound?
MH: I’ve been called a “physical DJ” by my Japanese DJ friends. I like that. I would describe my sound as physical, sleazy, fun, and hedonistic.
ES: What is your favourite kind of crowd to play to?
MH: A good openminded crowd that likes what I play.
ES: What is your favourite show you’ve played? Where and why?
MH: Too many to mention! I’ve been lucky enough to have had more good gigs than bad. I do enjoy my residencies at Mihn in Hong Kong and Ohm in Berlin. I feel familiar there and it allows me to try new things out and develop my sound.
ES: You also are co-founder of Klasse Wrecks. Tell us about your record label and how it all began?
MH: Klasse Wrecks is an electronic music label that predominantly releases music aimed for the dancefloor. Our approach and aesthetic are somewhat DIY because we both have a background in the pre-big industry skateboarding and hip hop culture. The label started with my friend and partner Lucas Hunter a.k.a. Luca Lozano. We were both doing different music projects in a different scene which we no longer enjoyed. Luca had the idea to do a label (we used to be called Klasse Recordings) which could be home to our current projects. He asked me to come on board in the beginning and here we are- almost ten years later.
ES: What do you look for in a Klasse Wrecks artist?
MH: It’s difficult to answer specifically, we just have to like the tracks, the person who made it, and feel that we can be the best home to their music.
ES: What has owning a record label taught you about the music industry?
MH: It taught me that basic good business practices apply to the music business too. It’s important to do your accounting, chase up on your invoices, pay your people – just like any other business.
ES: What does Mr. Ho have planned for 2020?
MH: More time in the studio, so more original music released. Also developing more products for Klasse Wrecks. A bit less travelling for DJ gigs.
Think Singapore is all suits and skyscrapers? Think again. This metropolis has a buzzing nightlife with an emerging underground electronic scene. In recent years, it has made its name as an absolute must-stop destination on every big DJ or producers’ Asia tour. Grandiose establishments, state-of-the-art sound systems, and enthusiastic patrons looking to blow off steam and dance ‘til the sun comes up all contribute to Singapore being a nightlife destination. Whether you are Singaporean, an ex-pat, or just passing through, add these clubs to your must-visit list and thank us later.
Zouk has been long regarded as one of the best nightclubs in Singapore. Operating for over 23 years now, they’ve got how to throw an epic party down to an exact science. An absolute pioneer in the Singapore nightlife scene, they were the first to bring house music to the city-state, refusing the typical top 40 hits you’d hear at every other bar. Zouk has a regular lineup of 6 incredibly talented resident DJs, who bring the party to Clark Quay every night. They are also known for hosting the biggest names in the business including Tiesto, Carl Cox, Paul Oakenfold, and Afrojack. Spanning across two floors, the club has won awards for its innovative designs featuring multiple stages, lounges, and chill hangout spots. It is also heavily decorated with multiple awards including ranking in the top 10 of DJ Mags Top 100 Clubs in the World for nine years now. It’s a Singapore institution that’s a must-visit for anyone looking for the real-deal nightlife experience.
Tuff Club is making Singapore fit again, one dance party at a time. Operating with a ‘dancing is exercise’ principal, they recommend their patrons visit twice a week to achieve optimal results. The brainchild of The Council, the talented party starters who brought us Headquarters (see below), Tuff Club was meant to be a pop-up club operating as a “Chinese restaurant by day, nightclub by night”. What was supposed to be a three-month activation will celebrate its 2-year anniversary later this year. Located in Oxley Tower on the 19th floor, the temp club turned Singapore favourite has played host to the likes of Peggy Gou, Perc, and B.Traits. At Tuff Club, the dance floor is the heart and soul, known for its ravey vibes and welcoming atmosphere. If you’re looking for a night of good music where no one will be judging your questionable dance moves, strap on some sneakers and hit up Tuff Club.
f.Club × Attica
Another Clarke Quay staple, f.Club × Attica is the place to go if you’re looking for a little glitz and glam. Two levels with two different sounds, Attica is a crowd-pleaser for groups who range in musical tastes. R&B and top 40 hits play on Level I, while house, trance, and electro dominate Level II. Their 6 resident DJs keep the dancefloors full and party bumping. Honourable guest DJs, local and international, regularly make appearances, switching things up. Connecting the two levels is The Courtyard, an alfresco area where you can grab a drink with friends during dance breaks. Grab a glass of champagne at Bar Rose and enjoy while looking out over the Singapore River. It’s definitely the perfect place for a celebration like a birthday or a girl’s night. Lipstick Mafia, a.k.a. Ladies Night is every Wednesday night and the ladies can sip on complimentary champagne and cocktails all night long.
CÉ LA VI
CÉ LA VI is the place where the location is as high as the BPMs. Located on level 57 at the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, the restaurant, bar, and lounge boast some of the best views in the area. With regular appearances by top DJs and producers in the game, including recent sets by Claptone, Sven Väth, and DJ Jazzy Jeff, CÉ LA VI guarantees a night of great music and a killer atmosphere. It’s a great place to start with after-work drinks, then dinner, followed by a night of non-stop dancing.
The main stomping grounds of The Council (remember Tuff Club?!), Headquarters is THE place for underground sounds. No frills, just really good music, Headquarters is easily one of the coolest places in Singapore to spend your night. From Wednesday to Sunday, expect red-lit dance parties with local and international DJs spinning house, disco, and techno. Known for its red laser lighting and DJ cage, everyone from Peggy Gou to Kaiser Souzai has taken over the decks. Founders Eileen Chan (DJ Cats on Crack) and Clement Chin (KOI Izakaya) have boiled down the essentials of what it takes to throw a killer party. No sparklers in champagne bottles, no fancy chandeliers, at Headquarters it’s about the music in its purest form.
A little slice of Las Vegas right in Marina Bay Sands, MARQUEE is as big and spectacular as nightclubs get. A complete sensory overload, describing MARQUEE as grandiose would be an understatement. 20-meter screens, a Function One sound system, three floors, and 2300 square meters of dancefloors and cozy lounges, this spot is for those looking for a big night out. Take a ride on the Ferris wheel or a trip down the slide, it’s essentially an adult playground, ready to amuse. Known for its constant lineups of the world’s biggest names, you’re getting concert quality performances that you’ll not soon forget. Perhaps not ideal for a quiet night among friends, but if you’re in the mood to go big or go home, go to MARQUEE.
Electric soul is giving away 2 tickets for 3 winners! Keep checking back into our Instagram to win!
The party will throw down at Duddel’s in Central. The eclectic Salon opens up to the stunning 2000+ square foot lush terrace. The alfresco garden doubles as the dance floor so you can party under the night sky.
Mr. Ho, known for his smooth transitions from house to techno, disco to electronica, will headline the event. His set will be sandwiched by FuFu resident DJs that will surely keep you dancing.
Dutch duo, Zonderling, is in its own category of electronic music. Comprised of producer Martijn van Sonderen and DJ Jaap de Vries, the two have produced countless tracks full of eccentric beats and otherworldly sounds. With a radio show and impressive collaborations under their belts, Zonderling shows no signs of slowing down now. We caught up with them to talk shop and see what the future hold for them.
Electric Soul: Tell us about your musical beginnings? How did you come together as a duo?
Zonderling: We met in our hometown Groningen, the Netherlands. Jaap was already DJing for some years and worked in the music industry. Martijn was active as a producer for many years.
ES: Your music is described as being its own kind of dance music. If you were to describe the music you make, without referring to other genres, what would you say?
Z: Electronic music with a lot of (unnecessary) detail.
ES: Are there artists or musicians you look to for inspiration?
Z: Not really. We do like a lot of artists of course, but for us, anything can spark an idea.
ES: Zone Radio is a new endeavour you guys embarked upon last year and you just released the first episode of season 2. What are your reasons behind creating this show and what is it you want to achieve with it?
Z: It’s a nice way for us to play music we normally don’t get to present during shows. Plus, it feels good to give artists we like, big or small, a platform.
ES: When it comes to music selection, what are you looking for? Is the show in tune with your particular likes?
Z: Absolutely, we do the selection ourselves without any restrictions and put in there whatever we feel like, just as long as it fits the Zonderling spectrum.
ES: 2019 was full of new releases and festival appearances. What are your highlights from last year?
Z: Probably our releases “I Do” and “Spotlight”. But, our song “Imaginary” is perhaps our personal favourite. We’re very happy with how that song turned out and the vibe it has.
ES: Already in 2020, you’ve released a collaboration with NØ SIGNE. Tell us what it was like working with him and how this creative partnership came to be.
Z: We got in touch online via social media. We liked a song he did and his productions stood out. He sent us an idea and we liked it. The song came together pretty quick and “Clouds” is what you hear today. Make sure to follow his career, talented guy.
ES: What can we expect from Zonderling this year? What are you most excited about?
Z: Lot’s of touring as always but we’re most excited about all the new music we have lined up, there’s more than ever. Keep an eye out.
Playlists in need of a little pick-me-up? Check out our latest interview with Dazzle Drums and add a little upbeat groove to your life.
The gloves are off. Burning Man is tired of waiting for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to justify the nearly $3 million it charges the festival annually. In “an attempt to break the cycle”, an official lawsuit was filed by Black Rock City LLC, the subsidiary that produces the iconic event, in D.C. District Court on December 13th.
The Bureau of Land Management oversees land permits for public land use and allows the organizers to host the 7-day event in Black Rock Desert. For the past 4 years, Black Rock City LLC has been waiting patiently to see if the BLM will justify the substantial charges. With no explanation in sight, they went forward with a lawsuit.
The immense charges are to cover BLM’s services and expenses, including law enforcement and oversight during the event. The organization has also been required to pay a 3% gross recipient fee or a portion of its revenue, which was $44 million in 2018.
Since 2012, these charges have been increasing with no explanation. In the past 3 years, charges inflated by 291% although the Burning Man population only increased by 39%. This past year, the organization paid out $2.9 million in charges, not including the commercial use fee.
There’s been a fair bit of drama between the organization and the BLM for a few years now. In 2015, top officials were reassigned to other roles after the bureau director accused them of trying to extort Burning Man organizers. Apparently, these top-level officials made absurd demands during the 2015 event including requesting 24-hour ice cream access and flushing toilets.
These demands, charges, and conditions, however unjust, they have left the Black Rock City LLC stuck between a rock and a hard place. Its relationship with the BLM can be described as a Hobson’s Choice conundrum, meaning that someone must submit to the undesirable option or nothing at all. With an already scheduled, highly anticipated event that attracts over 80,000 people annually, cancelling the event is out of the question. So the cycle of abuse continues. This lawsuit was set in motion to put an end to it.
Fascinated by all things Burning Man? Us too. Check out our article on what Burning Man is really like.
At the beginning of this year, the beloved internet radio and music and playlist streaming service, 8tracks, shut down. The innovative company, that got its start in 2008 when mp3s and the iPod shuffle reigned supreme, announced via a blog post written by CEO David Porter on December 26th, 2019 that it would wind down as the decade closed out.
Although not alone in the category of music streaming services, 8tracks was certainly unique. It was a platform that not only allowed you to stream music by your favourite artists but also gave you the opportunity to discover new, underground acts via playlists created by people all over the world. And these playlists were organized by tags. You could browse playlists by the mood or vibe you were in, what activity you need a soundtrack for, by genre, artist, decade, the list goes on. Of course, this structure was emulated by other streaming sites in the years to follow.
In its early years, 8tracks showed unwavering promise. A few playlists went viral on StumbleUpon (remember that?!) taking their active users from 30k to 300k in one month. Funding rolled in, full-time employees were brought on, 8tracks was on the right track. Google even reached out in 2013 to explore an acquisition, which 8tracks politely declined. They were passionate about their product and wanted to see where they could take it.
But then, in late 2013, Spotify’s free mobile streaming service launched. Many 8tracks listeners made the jump, investors backed out, and their most recent success landed them in a higher category which meant higher royalty payouts. On the plus side, they had partaken in a Soundcloud integration that allowed DJs (playlist creators) to add Soundcloud music to their 8tracks playlists, however, Soundcloud ended that integration in 2015.
What 8tracks knew they had, though, was a dedicated community. They tried their hand at crowdfunding to save the operation, raising just under $2M. However, it wasn’t enough. They could no longer afford to pay their team, resulting in major layoffs.
8tracks tried a number of strategies to keep the streaming service afloat. From a new subscription model to the introduction of audio ads, they worked to bring in revenue, but unfortunately, the listener count took too much of a hit. They brought in firms to find buyers for the company, however, even a low-balling prospective buyer backed out last minute.
Ultimately, 8tracks couldn’t generate enough revenue to cover royalty costs. Things are changing. People want all of their music needs to be met under one roof and that’s what Spotify is doing.
Those who were active members of the 8tracks community don’t need to worry that the endless hours they put into creating a playlist to accurately capture that mood they were on a fall Monday afternoon in 2011 are all for nothing. If you’ve ever published on 8tracks, you’ll receive an email including the mix name, art, description and tracklist for each. You can also export any playlist to Spotify by hitting the “Save Playlist to Spotify” button. There’s no guarantee that all of the songs are supported by Spotify, but 80-90% should be. 8tracks has warned users that they are unsure of how long the website will stay up and running, so to act fast get a copy of those playlists you worked so hard on.
So sadly, we bid farewell to 8tracks, the streaming site that was the soundtrack to many late-night dance parties, got you amped for the big game, or kept you company during your angsty teen years. You’ll be missed.
Need some inspiration for your next playlist? Check out our interview with Teknoclash. If 8tracks isn’t around to show you new music, we’ll make it our job to.