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5 Hong Kong DJs defining the city's clubbing scene

Hong Kong's true clubbing identity is propagated by pockets of very committed people. Here's five of them

Written by
Graham Turner
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It's no secret that Hong Kong's major clubs use big-name foreign DJs as a means to get people through the door. That's a shame because our city has cultivated a growing base of excellent local talent. Members of this scene operate contrary to an often exclusionary, elitist and increasingly homogenised mainstream club culture that's more interested in your money than your love. Here are five of the best DJs that you should go see as soon as possible.

5 Hong Kong DJs defining the city's underground scene

Ocean Lam

Ocean Lam

Techno, deep house, minimal, acid, dub, electronic
Lam, a Chai Wan native, started out listening to pop, indie, dub, reggae, trip hop and electronic. She recalls: "My first big party experience was seeing John Digweed playing and from then on, I was addicted to electronic dance. I finally got a CDJ and mixer at home and went from there." Lam is now one of the best-known DJs in the city, and she certainly keeps herself busy, having founded Hypnotic – a regular podcast and club night that champions some of the best techno, house and assorted sub-genres featuring local and international talent – as well as serving as resident and musical director at Social Room.

Favourite artists: Efdemin, Patrick Zigon, Eduardo De La Calle and Margret Dygas
Favourite tune: Trevino – Mosiac
Check her out: soundcloud.com/ocean-1

Jeremy Cheung

Jeremy Cheung

Soul, funk, disco house, minimal techno, ambient
Although he was born in Singapore, Cheung spent chunks of his childhood here in Hong Kong and relocated to the 852 permanently in 2003. That's good enough for us to claim him as our own. His impact behind the decks is easily felt, making him one of the most respected DJs in the city. Although Cheung regularly plays to packed dancefloors, he has plenty to say about how the scene here can grow: "The main problem is we're lacking good venues due to high rent and government restrictions. If these problems disappeared, the sky's the limit for clubbing in Hong Kong."

Favourite artists: Teng Boon, DJ Christian, Tony Tay, Brendon P and Aldrin
Favourite tune: A Guy Called Gerald – Voodoo Ray
Check him out: mixcloud.com/jeremy-cheung

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Jodi Chik (aka, Jo.D)

Jodi Chik (aka, Jo.D)

Techno
You can catch Jodi regularly belting out absolute bangers at Oma, Social Room or on Fauve Radio. Her start in music was adorably wholesome. "My dad was the vocalist for a band, playing cover songs at hotel ballrooms," she recalls, "this gave me a chance to play around with drums and keyboards. He loved western music like Pink Floyd and Duran Duran – whenever dad was home, music was on. I started the same way, doing vocals for a band named 811. After a few years, I quit the band. Soon after, my husband and I and some friends started DJing at our place, which became a 'checkpoint' before heading to LKF for clubbing."

Favourite artist: Or:la
Favourite tune: Bicep – Glue
Check her out: soundcloud.com/jodi-chik

Basil Tam

Basil Tam

Techno, minimal
One of the old guard, having previously held residencies at Yumla and Midnight & Co, Tam is in as good a position as anyone to comment on clubbing in the city: "The scene in Hong Kong is getting worse due to crazy rent escalations. Most of the clubs located in Central from the golden era like Key Club and Yumla have closed down. I think a good way to improve is for clubbers to make sure they buy a drink and support the venue and DJs. This may sound very business-oriented, but we're now talking about a city with the highest rents in the world." 

Favourite artist: Jeff Mills, Roger Sanchez, Sasha
Favourite tune: Carlo Dall'Anese & Gui Boratto – Beautiful Song
Check him out: soundcloud.com/basil-tam

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Cocoonics

Cocoonics

Funk and disco, jazz-hip-hop, boombap, lo-fi hip-hop
One of the exciting up-and-comers in the city, Cocoonics' fresh sound has taken her from bedroom selector to a slot at this year's Sónar at an unprecedented pace. And it's easy to see why. Her Soundcloud page is a burgeoning treasure trove of mixes that belie her relative inexperience with a maturity in sample selection and music arc that's a joy to listen to. If you fancy being decks at Sónar yourself one day, maybe follow in Cocoonics' footsteps: "I purchased an SP-404 workstation for the purpose of beat-making but ended up using it to make a live DJ set for a gig I organised. It was just a casual, experimental idea but the result was pretty encouraging. Then I was invited to play on HKCR, in Shanghai, then Sónar. It's been totally unexpected!"

Favourite artists: Nujabes, A Tribe Called Quest
Favourite tune: Nujabes – Luv (sic.) Part 1
Check her out: soundcloud.com/athena_chan

 

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