INTERVIEW WITH HONG KONG’S FINEST DEEP HOUSE COLLECTIVE
TDJL: What is Humdrum Hongkong all about? How did you start? Who are the members?
Humdrum Hongkong started in August 2011 after realizing the three of us shared a love of deep house. We are OCEAN LAM (HK), CASEY ANDERSON (USA) and MIKO VAN CHONG (HK). In Hong Kong’s house and techno spectrum, our music is probably on the deepest and most dubby side, with the lowest BPMs and lots of room for weird tracks – but always fun!
TDJL: What parties have you done?
We do a monthly party called LOCO at this bar called Bassment. Most of the Hong Kong DJs that play dance music have always played really dark, intense tech house – we support those DJs too, but the Humdrum group came together over house music that’s subtler, deeper, more melodic – we play dark tracks too but we balance it out with pretty songs here and there. Until we started doing our monthlyLOCO night there weren’t many options for that kind of house. Luckily several other organizers started their own parties around the same time – people finally have a few options for house and techno in Hong Kong.
We hear from plenty of Europeans that our music and parties have more in common with little bars in Germany than the glitzy Hong Kong clubs, which has a lot to do with Ocean getting inspiration from touring there a couple times. For example, the room is dark except for a projector showing weird old films on the wall, there’s no bouncer checking out your clothes at the door and entrance to LOCO is free so we can try to bring fresh faces into our scene. We’ve brought DEETRON and I-ROBOTS to Bassment too and have some more international guests on the horizon. And oh, we have SATOSHI FUMI in November.
LOCO is a monthly party featuring some of the best deep house on this side of the planet. This month we welcome special guest Arun R, a veteran DJ of Hong Kong’s finest clubs. Expect unpretentious vibes, a unique visual projection show, a relaxing outdoor terrace, and a party full of music-lovers dancing til sunrise. And it’s FREE.
Our friends at Etui Records in Desden, Germany asked Ocean Lam to do an exclusive mix for their podcast, in addition to an interview. The interview and mix are below, but please visit their site to read the full text with more on Ocean and Hong Kong’s electronic music scene.
1. Dauwd – Acireams – Pictures Music
2. Dub Taylor – Urban Silence III (ETRauh14) – Eintakt
3. Matthias Springer – Feierabend – Eintakt
4. Dapayk & Padberg – Deva (Matthias Tanzmann Remix) – Mo`s Ferry
5. Francesco Bonora & Marcello Arletti – Abstraction – Abstract Theory
6. Yooj – Mademoiselle (Martin Buttrich Remix) – Monique Musique
7. Federico Molinari – La Divina Comedia – Osla
8. Knopf & Seferyn – Blank Tape 1 feat. Polymax – Clap Your Hands
9. Andras Toth – Curious Feeling Of Calling – Alphahouse
10. Skudge – Man On Wire – Skudge Records
11. Elting_Lieb – Roll – Resopal Schallware
12. Autumn Park – Flowing – Space Breaks Records
Many people in China love karaoke. Have you ever tried it?
Not for a long time. Cantonese karaoke is the opposite to music I like – too many predictable melodies and stupid lyrics.
How did you come in contact with electronic music?
I used to listen mainly to trip hop. My friend Wendy Wenn, who’s also a DJ, brought me to my first rave, but it was cheesy trance. Afterwards I found a website from Hamburg called betalounge.com. Through their radio show I heard lots more deep, dubby, dark sounds. After finding some artists like Efdemin, Pantha du Prince, Wighnomy Brothers, I immediately knew this was my music and that I needed to share it with my friends. Most of them didn’t get it though, so I was lucky to find Yumla, where there was already a crowd waiting for it every weekend.
Hong Kong is one of the biggest metropolises in Asia. What about the electronic music scene in Hong Kong?
The number of supporters is low compared to Europe, but since most are really dedicated and all of the clubs here are small we can have good parties with a full house every weekend. More fans have become DJs and promoters in the last couple years, so there’s more variety now. Recently the crowds at our Loco parties have been mostly new faces, and everyone’s just excited to prove it can be done in Hong Kong. This is a stressful city, so we love to see people relaxing and having fun to our favorite music.
It seems to be only a small scene but a lot of international artists such as M.A.N.D.Y., Damian Lazarus or Marko Furstenberg played during the last years.
I think all of the promoters are still friends and don’t really see each other as competition, so when one brings an international DJ everyone else gets behind them. Nobody is trying to get rich, the promoters just want to see the DJs they like and share the experience. And you can tell these huge names love to play in our tiny clubs like Bassment!
And can you compare it to the scene structures of Shanghai or Beijing?
I haven’t played in Shanghai or Beijing… yet!
In 2010 you played in Berlin for the first time. How did you feel and how did you experience the German music scene?
Berlin totally changed my direction. At the time I was playing lots of tech house, just beats and minimal sounds. Afterwards I was into deeper music again like the beginning, tracks with more personality.
With Dan F. and Basil Tam you released two singles in Yumla records. Are there some new releases or remixes planned for the future?
They helped me a lot with the production. Casey is trying to teach me Ableton Live so I can make tracks by myself.
Where do you buy your music? Are there any recordstores in Hong Kong and how do you think about the whole digital vs. vinyl discussion?
Online. I play on CD-Js. I like the sound of vinyl but it’s almost impossible to do here. There are no record stores and apartments are too tiny to keep it. Digital DJ controllers look like a toy but I don’t really care.
What is you all time favourite track or record and why?
My long time favorite track is “Crystal Rain” from Matthias Meyer. It´s good for warm up and cool down the crowd during a peak set. It is also very touching my heart.
What is the idea of your podcast? Is there a certain message behind it and how does it correspond to your deejay sets at a party?
The idea of my mix is to make something to be listened to at home more than the club, more soothing and deep. Also a bit trippy and happy!