With the ever-growing popularity of electronic music in Southeast Asia, more and more festivals and nightclubs are emerging in the region’s biggest cities every year. Although the dance music industry is still mainly dominated by EDM nightclubs and commercial festivals brands, a few establishments like Glow in Bangkok, TIME in Manila, Korner in Taipei, Koh in Bali, Oma in Hong Kong, The Observatory in Ho Chi Minh and kyō in Singapore have been able to draw and foster a formidable roster of international and local underground acts for those with more nuanced dance floor tastes. There’s no doubt that nightclubs that push for an underground or alternative electronic music sound in Southeast Asia will always face a tougher challenge, but let’s be honest—those who are in it for the passion more than for the money will always leave the lasting legacy.

We are very happy that we can name five new nightclubs in the region that are pushing house, techno and non-commercial electronic music that have either already opened or are about to open in 2016. Let’s hope these new clubs will help contribute and develop the foundations of a world beating club scene in Southeast Asia.

BEAM, Bangkok

Inspired by London’s iconic Fabric and a handful of Europe’s other seminal clubbing institutions, BEAM opened its doors in January 2016 with the goal of bringing a different electronic music sound to Thailand’s bustling capital. The opening night saw Dutch DJ and producer Tom Trago throw down, and many off-kilter bookings like Konstantin, LOUISAHHH!!!, Detroit Swindle, Ian Pooley, Dense & Pika, M.A.N.D.Y., Trus’me, Eddie Richards and Simon Baker followed shortly after. Although the two floors combined can host up to 750 people, the dark lighting and murky ambiance make it actually feel like a small, intimate black box club, much like the revered European venues it seeks to emulate. BEAM is definitely a great addition for Bangkok’s clubbing scene that offers some vital respite from the touristy hustle and bustle along the infamous Khao San road.

“BEAM aspires to be a creative local hub for lifestyle and music. We represent an alternative sound to the mainstream and try to elevate the status quo with forward thinking programming, drawing inspiration from the London, Berlin and Amsterdam scenes working together with similar platforms in Southeast Asia.” - Maarten Goetheer, Music Director, BEAM Bangkok.

BEAM is located at 72 Courtyard, 1 Fl, 72 Sukhumvit 55 Thonglor, Bangkok.

Check out the official Facebook page for upcoming events.

 

Headquarters by The Council, Singapore

A well-known collective in Singapore’s dance scene, The Council started off throwing small pop-up parties in different locations around the city, and finally opened their own small venue called Headquarters in May 2016. The quirky, narrow club fits about a 100 people in a cozy red-lit space, and even has an old-school Donkey Kong arcade machine if you need a break from dancing. Aside from booking a solid spread of local and regional acts, Headquarters has also hosted a few international acts like Kaiser Souzai, Eric Duncan, Mat.Joe, GoldFFinch, ME & her, Young Marco, Jonathan Kusuma and Akimbo to name a few. Headquarters will definitely make an impact in Singapore’s oh-so-glamorous dance culture, proving that you don’t need a big space, huge acts and a VIP area to run a good nightclub.

Headquarters by The Council is located at 66 Boat Quay, Level 2, Singapore.

Check out the official Facebook page for upcoming events."

 

XX XX, Manila

A creation from the brainchilds of Black Market and B-Side, XX XX (pronounced Twenty-Twenty) marked their official launch in June 2016 with a techno-driven live performance from the Berlin-based 50Weapons trio FJAAK. The 250-capacity venue has since repped a strong calendar of interesting underground acts like Ø [Phase], Maayan Nidam, Somewhen, Milton Bradley, Telephones, and for their recent Halloween party, the legendary Detroit techno innovator Kevin Saunderson made the journey to the Manila underground scene. Their opaque, rustic and minimalist touch invokes feelings of a seedy Berlin club—with the incongruous grandma-styled living room set up on the second floor. XX XX immediately established a new standard for small underground nightclubs in Manila, and we certainly hope it can pave the way for more ventures like it in the future.

“The goal is to help raise Manila’s profile on the electronic music map, by trying to be in line with international standard night clubs, with our bookings, concept, ethos and music quality. We wanted to give the people another quality electronic music club to give more options away from the usual bar or bottle service norm.

We want people to understand that enjoying music and partying is about being in a no-worries environment - nobody judges you, not worrying about looking good in selfies, not having to think about what you’re wearing, it’s all about dancing, being silly and good times with the music you love together with old and new friends, the music and club experience being the facilitator." - Mikhail Schemm, music director and resident DJ, XX XX Manila

XX XX is located at 20a - 20b La Fuerza Plaza 1, 2241 Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati

Check out the official Facebook page for upcoming events."

 

 

Savage, Hanoi

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Two rooms with two different purposes—one for enjoying a fine cocktail and socialising, the other strictly built for dancing, Savage is on a mission to bring great music to a city largely void of proper dance music. The DJ booth is set up in the centre of the room, to encourage people to view one another as opposed to gawping at the selector, and the bookings thus far have been house and techno of the highest order, with Steve Bicknell, Alex From Tokyo, San Soda, Telephones and Antigone, all passing through the Vietnamese capital.

“I think the motivation for Savage was similar to the one in Hong Kong. We basically just wanted to bring an alternative space and quality music to the people of Hanoi. This city needs a new concept, and I just like doing things in new places where the electronic music scene is still a bit underdeveloped. But most importantly we want to bring people together through quality dance music!” - Ouissam Mokretar, co-founder of Savage

Savage is located at 112 Xuan Dieu, Hanoi

Check out the official Facebook page for upcoming events."

 

kyō, Kuala Lumpur

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The iconic Singapore nightclub kyō, that has hosted many top-notch house and techno acts such as Ben Klock, Ben UFO, Bicep, Move D, Mr. G and Midland, is set to expand their brand into Malaysian territory by the end of November 2016. Kyō Kuala Lumpur will host around 700 people in a two-room setup, and will immediately be one of the major destinations on the Asian underground circuit.

"The key to our content programming would be a good balance of featuring new and upcoming talent as we've seen at ADE but also to keep a strong approach to educating on the other quality genres in the scene weather it may be house, deep house, tech house or techno disciplines. We intend to keep a classy and uplifting vibe to our bookings for 2017 and 2018 and with our new outlet that opens in Kuala Lumpur this gives us the versatility to experiment and educate both at the same time." - Godwin Pereira, owner of kyō Singapore and kyō KL

main image via BEAM