An Asian Odyssey
In which peripatetic mixmasterjourneys to the East, where he introduces local revellers to the aural delights of mash-ups, electro bombs and funky house
MY VISITS TO asia are invariably action-packed, but I have to say that my last trip will certainly take some beating. The highlight of this adventure was without doubt the spectacular wedding of local legend Bruce Rockowitz to his bride, pop star and legend in her own right, the beautiful CoCo Lee.
The host and hostess had made enormous efforts to plan a memorable night for their guests, many of whom had flown in from around the world in anticipation of what promised to be the wedding of the decade.
Rockowitz is known for throwing terrific parties so expectations were high, but the couple managed to hit the ball right out of the park by transforming the legendary Shaw Studios into a magnificent party venue. And with a surprise line-up that included Alicia Keys and Ne-Yo, then Bruno Mars and the Black Eyed Peas the following night, guests were guaranteed an experience they’d never forget.
Of course, I had to pull all the rabbits out of my hat to follow a line-up like that, but as soon as the Black Eyed Peas finished their performance at 1am, I launched straight into my set with a series of back-to-back mash-ups and chart anthems old and new, which found immediate favour with the guests and ensured that the dance floor kept rocking until 5am.
I had a few days to recover before jumping on the plane to Japan for my next gig, the opening of Roberto Cavalli’s flagship store in Tokyo. Naturally the event attracted all the buzz and excitement that one would expect from the arrival of such a prestigious fashion house.
The evening began with a champagne reception for local VIPs and celebrities who came to show their support and welcome Cavalli himself, who had flown in for the occasion. In keeping with the atmosphere, I teased the guests with a blend of cocktail-sipping gems, ensuring that I didn’t give too much too soon as the evening was only just beginning.
Once the VIP reception was over, everyone moved from the boutique to the after-party, which took place at the newly opened super-club, Sound Museum Vision, where the 1,500 attendees were wowed with a surprise performance by guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei.
Renowned for his Battle Royal Mixes as well as his presence on the soundtrack of cult film Kill Bill, Hotei-san is also known for his reclusive nature and rarely performs in public. However, the call of Cavalli lured him onto the stage, where he blew the crowd away with a mind-bending collaboration he had prepared just for the occasion with DJ Tomoyuki Tanaka of Fantastic Plastic Machine fame.
As he strummed his final chord, it was over to me and I kicked in with my own thumping set of dance-floor dynamite, mixing up pop, rock and electro bombs, much to the crowd’s delight. There was no denying the night was an enormous success as the next day the Japanese press were unanimous in their praise, reporting that it had been one of the best parties the city had seen in years.
I staggered back to Hong Kong the following day just in time for my next gig, which took place at my favourite haunt, dragon-i. I played a three-hour set of upbeat tracks, all with a pumping funk and commercial house influence. As it happens, the majority of my gigs these days are at private events and I rarely play in clubs, so it was wonderful to give my local friends and fans the chance to hear me play live.
From Hong Kong my next stop was Beijing, where I’d been booked to play at a huge Hogan event to celebrate its new Karl Lagerfeld-designed line.
I arrived at the Park Hyatt Beijing with just enough time to shower and change before heading to the event venue in the city’s fashionable arts district. Hogan had constructed an elegant, chic exhibition of Lagerfeld’s line, dressing the hall in simple back and white with huge posters illuminating the designer’s creations.
As guests walked through the doors, they were ushered into the exhibition hall, while I gently piped music through from the adjacent concealed party room as we awaited the guest of honour, Andrea Della Valle, vice-president and co-CEO of Tod’s Group, which owns the Hogan brand.
Once Della Valle arrived the curtains to my area came down, which was my cue to get the party started. The guests flocked into the room as I cranked up the volume and got stuck into my set. To my delight, my brief had been to keep the music very hip and cutting-edge, so I had full licence to bang out some of my more underground sounds – nu-disco, indie dance and minimal electro beats. I’m happy to report that the set was extremely well received by the crowd, who kept grooving well into the early hours.
The next morning I rose with just enough time to give a hasty interview to Chinese GQ before hopping on a plane back to Hong Kong to play at my final engagement, a private garden party for some friends in Stanley. Everyone was set for a wild night – everyone, that is, except the local constabulary, who it seemed were none too pleased about the volume levels.
Much to the guests’ chagrin I cut the sound, since I was due to fly home to LA the following day and after all the month’s escapades I was uncertain as to whether or not my girlfriend would be willing to bail me out of jail.
Fortunately I made it back home as planned, where my collapse upon arrival was the start of a recovery process in preparation for the next adventure…stay tuned for more.