China Social Club Talks About Their NTS Radio Associations and Cultural Interests
A conversation on their varied influences in making music and their vision about culture .
Words by Whiteboard Journal
Text: Kevina Graciela
Originated from Australia, PCJ and Frau are the people behind China Social Club. They are known for bringing influences from the 80s as well as local Chinese sounds, combining them with other musical styles they found along the way. Their love for cultures is shown by how they put their creativity into every set they have played. Following their NTS Live set in Jakarta, we had the opportunity to get an insight into their cultural interests and their calling in music.
How did you find your calling in music?
We both grew up in Australia. Downunder, every Saturday morning we’d tune into “Rage”, a music video program. “Rage” was always slightly alternative – even the commercial music had an alternative influence. This coupled with radio and our musical peers really led the charge in the early days.
Where did the name “China Social Club” and also, why China?
We liked the idea of a club. China Social Club quite literally because it’s in China that we started DJing together.
We still like to have that hands in the air disco moment and some more abstract and heavy moments through a set. That way we can take the crowd on a journey.
Your selection is quite varied. How do you mix your selection and offer it as an experience to the audience?
I think as our sets have developed there is more consistency in style. Though one day that can be 80s freestyle and the next deep house. We still like to have that hands in the air disco moment and some more abstract and heavy moments through a set. That way we can take the crowd on a journey.
You stated that you’re working on curating an exhibition, a wine business, agency to present the unit on cultural platform. How is that vision going?
We find that making those creative limitations gives us a great avenue of musical expression.
Themes are also fun for the crowd and challenging for us as DJs. We have a side hustle wine business called Wine Lips. PCJ is a winemaker and Matt is a certified drinker. Later in 2019 we’re gonna make our first collective wine in Yunnan, China.
Last year we made a cookbook zine, and basically, when we throw parties in China, we’re always working within a theme. We find that making those creative limitations gives us a great avenue of musical expression. Themes are also fun for the crowd and challenging for us as DJs.
China Social Club also works as an agency with many great brands. We love the challenge and opportunity that comes with that.
What is your biggest challenge in making mixes?
Having such a wide variety of tastes, it’s about getting on the same wavelength. Some days maybe Frau wants to play Drum n Bass, but PCJ is feeling more AOR. Before each time we play, we ask each other, “What are we gonna play today?”
Indonesia has a great scene and we’re very excited to hear more from the local talent.
You’ve been to several countries, each country has different gigs cultures. Did you do some research and adapt it to your performance?
We’ve done some research about dangdut, but not sure it quite fits in our sets. Or maybe we just haven’t found the right tracks? Indonesia has a great scene and we’re very excited to hear more from the local talent. For us, we will play our style and pack a few surprises that the audience might not have heard.
For your NTS set from Jakarta, what have you prepared for us?
There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes leading up. When we arrive on site its action stations as we make sure everything is set up for a seamless broadcast.
It’s nice to have that constant broadcast of unfamiliar and amazing club/non-club music.
Being one of the hosts for NTS, what do you think about the concept of online radio as the hub to share great music these days?
There is so much music that doesn’t quite fit into a club setting and it’s that music that we love unwinding to
NTS is an amazing community to be a part of. There is so much music that doesn’t quite fit into a club setting and it’s that music that we love unwinding to. Ambient soundscapes, new age, new wave not-pop, and contemporary RnB and beat sounds are mostly what we listen to on weekdays. It’s nice to have that constant broadcast of unfamiliar and amazing club/non-club music.
What’s next for China Social Club?
NTS is expanding throughout Asia and we’re very lucky to be working on these projects. In a few weeks, we’re back to Seoul for another broadcast then Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and more are on the cards for the next short while.
Right now though, we’re really excited to come back to Indonesia for our second time in 6 months (having performed a residency in Bali in December) and looking forward to seeing everyone on the dancefloor.