By Marlina Azmi (Pulse Radio)
Asia’s got talent – and these days that talent is successfully branching out across countries and continents, showcasing the individual abilities of its artists to rock the crowd right. As part of our focus on the growth of the Asian electronic scene in the lead up to this year’s IMS Asia Pacific, we wanted to throw a spotlight on some of the talented individuals leading the charge. Coming from various locations within the Asian region, we’ve listed out some of the most exceptional artists that have been making an impact in the scene both at home and abroad. If you don’t know these names already, it’s time you paid attention…
It is hard to believe that Thailand’s most prominent underground female DJ, Nakadia, grew up in an environment that didn’t have running water; she has come a long way since then. Not yet in pursuit of a music career, Nakadia first made her way to the west of Europe in 2002, but after experiencing her first taste of techno in a nightclub in Frankfurt, she soon abandoned all other missions to focus intently on learning the craft of dance music. “It was German producer Marusha’s party. It made such an impression on me to see a famous female DJ. The very next day, I went to the record shop and bought two vinyl,” she said in an interview with Thump. Her musical mission clear, Nakadia soon gained success behind the booth on the island of Koh Samui. This was the foundation of a healthy international career which has seen Nakadia spin her tech mastery in over 80 countries, including gigs at iconic underground havens like Berlin’s Watergate, London’s The Egg and D Edge in Sao Paulo. While she did release tracks in 2005 and 2008, it wasn’t until 2012 when she took to the studio to produce more consistently, one of the most recent highlights of her studio efforts her 2015 EP, ‘The Dark Side of Tomorrow’. Fresh from a career defining set alongside Richie Hawtin and Sven Väth at Amsterdam’s Loveland festival, Nakadia is one of the strongest underground forces on the Asian scene and beyond.
Xhin is one of the priveleged few DJs from Asia who has had the privilege to play in Europe’s most celebrated clubbing venues: Berghain and Tresor in Berlin. He is undoubtedly one of the most respectable underground artists that has emerged from Singapore’s scene. He’s been creating cutting edge production since 1997 and released his first EP, ‘Xycle’, in 2003, shortly followed by his debut album, ‘Supersonicstate’ in 2004. He got his big break in 2006 when independent record label, Meerestief, discovered his talent. Xhin’s remix for Dublin’s Five Green Circle’s track entitled ‘Ronan’s BBQ’ created a storm over in Europe. He eventually found a new home – Berlin’s Stroboscopic Artefacts – to showcase his dark, and experimental persona. An artist full of surprises, Xhin released an eponymous, full-length prog-metal album in 2015, a departure from the genre he’s most famous for. His recent release is an EP that contains beautiful remixes of ‘Silent Dawn Departure’ taken off his 2015 album. The piano driven track has been bestowed with perfect remixes from legendary Singaporean musician Case Woo and Berlin ambient producer, Køldd.
Japanese DJ and producer, Hito, quickly became an integral part of Richie Hawtin’s ENTER Experience and resident at his iconic nights at Space Ibiza since 2012, after connecting with the techno legend. While the series has left the white isle, Hito is still actively part of the brand touring it from city, to city all over the globe. Hito’s love for minimal and emotional music presented in vinyl records developed when she moved to Berlin in 1999. Her forward thinking vinyl sets and energetic presence (while dressed in stunning kimono outfits) are what drives the crowd in droves. Her sense of individual style in music has turned her into one of the most successful Japanese exports in the international techno scene.
Hayze remains to be one of Malaysia’s most celebrated house music heroes. His early achievements in the noughties came from the success of ‘Changes’, a track he did with Kings of Tomorrow that topped the UK dance charts. His classic Ibiza anthem, ‘Freak’ with Sandy Rivera managed to hit the sixth spot in the Dutch charts. ‘Around’ released with Noir made its round all over the internet and successfully sealed his status as an established artist in the international music scene. The remix by Solomun has more than 30 million YouTube views, and it seems like there is just no stopping this legit legend. ‘Brighter Days’ released on Noir Music earlier this year was met with nods of approval from both fans and his electronic music friends and colleagues.
Born in Brazil, half Brazilian, and half Japanese, Gaby Endo has been calling Hong Kong home since she moved there 13 years ago to pursue a modelling career. Today, armed with a tech and deep house running through her veins, Endo has been taking Hong Kong by storm with her DJing career and carefully curated events, also appearing as a guest speaker at last year’s IMS China. She is co-founder of the monthly Love & Beats held at famous Volar in the city’s Lang Kwai Fong district, and one of the heads behind Rewind, a Sunday daytime party series. Endo continuously plays an important role in growing the local electronic scene with her innovative ideas and endless passion for electronic music.
You cannot talk about India’s techno scene without mentioning Arjun Vagale’s name. He has close to two decades of experience that kicked off in Bangalore and resulted in his becoming India’s most celebrated techno exports, representing his country and craft as a speaker at IMS Asia Pacific in 2014. He has graced the decks of prolific venues like Womb in Tokyo and has released tunes on some of the world’s biggest techno labels, including SCI+TEC, Bedrock, Tronic, Suara and Octopus Recordings.The release of ‘Kill the String’ on ALiVE Recordings in 2010 propelled his production solo career followed by stellar releases on Fergie’s Excentric Muzik. Vagale’s production work has received strong support from the likes Dubfire, Carl Cox, Karotte and Kaserdisco, his track ‘Kempai’ was even licensed to Digweed’s Live in Argentina compilation. Vagale owns global record label, MakTub Music, together with Uruguayan producer Nicolas Silvano promoting fresh talent from across the world, and also co-owns UnMute Agency, which manages underground talent in India. Despite being currently based in New York, one of his missions is to further develop the I Love Music (ILM) Academy, an electronic music school in Gurgaon founded by his brother Nakul in 2009.