I know what you’re thinking. ‘Singapore’ and ‘Underground Music Scene’ don’t exactly seem like the most synonymous of terms but you’d be surprised.
There may come a point in every seasoned Singaporean clubber’s life when popping bottles and pretence just doesn’t cut it on a night out anymore. Don’t get me wrong – I love a classic messy Attica night, belting along to my favourite mainstream bangers, but it’s nice to know that alternatives pop up every now and again.
Before the purists chide me completely, I mean underground in the broadest sense of the word (not literally).
Here are 10 upcoming underground music events in Singapore that you should know about for anything from house to dirty, dirty bass:
Aliwal Arts Center is set to come alive with a block party that puts hip hop center stage. Homegrown Ant-Men NAztyKeys, Aaron James Lee and Timothy De Cotta aren’t giving you the usual DJ set, using live instruments instead to pay homage to some of the best hip-hop, jazz and soul minds.
When? 19 October 2016, 7pm onwards
Where? Aliwal Arts Centre: 28 Aliwal Street, Singapore 199918
Lars Vegas is one half Detroit Swindle, other half awesome. We all love a bit of house music and the Dutch DJ is bringing his special brand of the genre to The Council’s new Headquarters at Boat Quay.
Having started his career spinning and mixing hip hop in the 90s, it’ll be interesting to see what he does on the decks this time. Supported by our very own Daryl C, get ready to dance your midweek blues away.
First drink charge applies: $15 before midnight, $25 after. Join the event for updates here.
When? 19 October 2016, 9pm to 3am
Where? Headquarters by The Council: 66 Boat Quay, Level 2, Singapore 049854
The mention of Heiko Laux is usually followed by some form of talk of techno. The German record producer started out in 1994 when techno was on the rise and has definitely made waves with his techno record label Kanzleramt.
If a range of techno is what you’re after, Laux’s in-the-moment electronic beats will more than deliver and maybe even feature a cheeky bit of trance and minimal. Singapore’s very own techno underdog Haan and French DJ 3hm will be joining Laux for a Friday night that’s going to more than get you through the weekend.
When? 21 October 2016, 10pm to 3am
Where? CATO: 237, South Bridge Road, Singapore 058786
Disko Kosmik is back with its second edition and this time with special guest MyHero. You should brace yourself for a funky night of Space Disco, Italo, Synth Pop, No Wave & random balearic vibes.
I’m talking eclectic, progressive dance music unlike anywhere else in Singapore, with beats that go way back to the 1970s and 1980s. There’s no better time like the present to dig up those disco pants and shiny shoes!
Get your groove on here and don’t be late. Disco waits for no man.
When? 22 October 2016, 8pm onwards
Where? Koi Izakaya: 9 Haji Lane, Singapore
Together, Nicholas Wood and Kat Day form UK and Berlin based duo, The KVB. A combination of shoegaze guitars, minimal synth and hypnotic beats add to reverb-heavy vocals and create a haunting sound that will echo in the very depths of your soul.
Team that with backing abstract imagery and you’re ready for a mellow, chilled out night. As part of their first Asian tour, The KVB will be stopping in Singapore (yay us!) so make sure you get your tickets.
Student and NS tickets are still available at $30, and advance tickets at $35. More information available here.
When? 25 October 2016, 8pm to midnight
Where? Headquarters by The Council: 66 Boat Quay, Level 2, Singapore 049854
Day to night parties are far and few between in Singapore so I’ll take what I can get when they come around. It doesn’t hurt that this one is set in a spectacular venue with even better music.
AKA AKA and Thalstroem have come all the way from musical-haven Berlin with their mix of tech house and minimal melodies that will make you get up and dance, and keep dancing the whole day through. With an impressive repertoire of releases and remixes, you’ll definitely want to get there early to make the most of it.
When? 22 October 2016, 12pm to 10pm
Where? CÉ LA VI Singapore: 1 Bayfront Ave, SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands, Tower 3, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore 018971
If you’d like to continue the party that Saturday night, Canvas x Bitrates: Modulate is featuring a triple threat techno line up of Dan Buri, Victor G and Haan.
Bangkok-based Dan Buri seamlessly toggles between deep techno and tech house and has gained quite a reputation in the house music community. Buri feeds off the energy from the crowd and cultivates an atmosphere so reminiscent of some of the best European clubs.
Victor G keeps the house and techno scene very much alive in his hometown of Malaysia and regularly spins at underground music events. A veteran in his field, G believes it’s about entertaining as well as educating his audience, and I think a lot of us could use a bit more of that.
Previously introduced Haan describes his music as dark yet melodic and most of you (hopefully) already recognise his presence in the local nightlife scene. While techno may be his forte, he’s definitely cultivated a style that’s transcendent of musical boundaries.
Three great acts in one space, it’d be silly not to RSVP for FREE entry before midnight.
When? 22 October 2016, 10pm to 4am
Where? Canvas: 20 Upper Circular Road, The Riverwalk, #B1-01/06, Singapore 058416
Finally, for all you jungalists out there! Subvert Sessions is killing it with an intimate setting for some sweaty jungle and drum and bass.
Get your comfy dance shoes on and expect a funky set with beats from local favourite A/K/A Sounds, KL based KAIN and PRESHA. Blu Jaz Cafe always seems to guarantee a good time and it’s pretty much a given with such an infectious genre.
At only $5 a ticket, there’s no excuse not to be reunited with your jungle family. Tickets available at the door.
When? 29 October 2016, 9pm to 3am
Where? Blu Jaz Cafe: 11 Bali Lane, Singapore 189848
I know I’m cheating a little bit with this entry (4 November is kinda still October right?) but this, my fellow party seekers, is a treat not to be missed. AME spinning in Singapore?? Music to my ears. Currently one of electronic music’s most in demand acts, German duo Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann meld the best of the past and the future of electro beats into sets that stay with you long after they’re over.
Even more good news is that Escape 56 has made sure that they perform in the most suitable venue – A warehouse party ya’ll. If there’s one underground music event that you have to go to, this would be it.
Get your tickets before they sell out on the WAAVE app. Tickets are currently on second release at $45 but with only 250 tickets available online, they’re going pretty quickly.
When? 4 November 2016, 7pm to 4am
Where? Henderson Project: 203 Henderson project, Bukit Merah Estate, Singapore
This list would not be complete without a local favourite recurring underground party that needs the recognition it deserves. Good Times is a party series held at Blu Jaz Cafe on the first Friday of every month and it draws a steady following of individuals who practically identify as family by now.
Determined to establish a party culture of “anything goes”, you’re allowed to come dressed whatever way you like, bring whoever you like, and participate in the curation of the eclectic music policy. Past events have seen DJs and acts from the likes of ATTAGIRL, Tropical Temple, Revision Music… the list is endless.
Whether you’re game for a night of grime, drum and bass or hip hop, Good Times probably has you covered. They hear the people! Plus tickets are only $5 on the door guys.
When? First Friday of every month (Check this space to find out what’s happening on 4 November)
Where? (Usually) 2nd Floor of Blu Jaz Cafe: 11 Bali Lane, Singapore 189848
The next time you find yourself fretting about the nightlife in Singapore, just remember that when there’s a will, there’s a way. Just keep an eye (or a ear out) as chances are, there’re countless others in the same boat as you, searching for the next music event to unearth.
Keep digging my friends.
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