Mainland China has been one of the places on earth where psychedelic trance culture has not taken root. The gradual loosening of cultural restrictions over the past 10 years, including the re-absorption of Hong Kong into the country, has perhaps increased tolerance to the point where the first psytrance club in Beijing is now running; the Party has no idea what kind of fun awaits it!
Pete Donaldson describes the state of psytrance in China in an interview with Colleen Gargan for cityweekend.com.cn.
The 604productions crew is determined to help psytrance, that high-speed, digital hippie music scene so known and loved in places like Israel, India and Thailand [and New York! –ed.], get big in Beijing. Featuring former China Doll resident and native Beijinger DJ Michael 董, Belgian DJ Gotama and Pete Donaldson, who also works for pioneering psytrance label TipWorld, the 604 crew — the name comes from the numeric version of the world Goa — furthers their cause every month at Club Obiwan.
- 604’s Chinese DJ Michael 董 has a track on which features traditional ethnic Chinese singing!
What are your thoughts on psytrance and China? Does if have a big following here or in other cities?
Psytrance is still very small in China; the 604 parties we’re throwing in Beijing are the only place you can hear psytrance at the moment. However from promoting the night and talking to people, there is definitely a following here they have just had nowhere to go up till now.
As for the rest of China i only know of two places where there are regular parties happening. One is in Shanghai. there is a psytrance crew there called Magic Garden. I think one of their recent parties had about 2000 people. The other place is Hong Kong. One of the biggest psytrance distributors is located there, and Saikosounds and psyonicboom throw regular parties.
But when compared to the rest of the world its is very small. Psytrance festivals in Europe, Brazil, and Japan have tens of thousands of people attending them. The largest I have heard of is sixty thousand!
How do you think a regular psytrance party helps contribute to the Beijing nightlife scene?
I think it helps diversify the Beijing nightlife, gives people more choice … after all variety is the spice of life. I think it also opens people up to another type of dance music.
What are you hoping to accomplish with the parties at Club Obiwan?
What were trying to do at Obiwan is establish a scene here. We’ve only just started but ideally what we want to do is to bring to Beijing the music, art and vibrancy that makes a psytrance night unique from other dance music. Every time we throw a party in Obiwan, we want to transform it in to a party that you would find in any country where Psytrance is already well established. For example, the backdrop artists in the Psytrance scene are just as important as DJs. They are even flown in for parties and spend a great deal of time getting the lighting and decorations just right to create a Psy vibe.
Also, eventually we’d like to bring over well-known artists from the international psytrance scene, and also inspire other DJs to start playing psytrance and start throwing their own Psy nights. Really get a scene going here.
Psytrance obviously has a big following in Thailand thanks to places like Ko Phangan. Do you think it can catch on here?
I think it can catch on here. Its already caught on in practically every other country on the planet so why not, right? I think the thing is that if people can identify with the vibe and culture that goes beyond the music then it will take off for sure, and in a big way.