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After a recent tour to Asia, Digital Traffik Founder AudioHell decided to take on a bright endeavor utilizing his expertise and resources to create an imprint focused on artists in the region. We had a chat with the dance music purveyor about the project and couple of Digital Traffik Asia’s first artists, Max Shen & Nuli Manguli.
Hi Jimi, great to sit down and talk with you. How are you?
AudioHell: I’m fine, my friend! Maybe too busy in these months, but also very excited for the new upcoming projects. I follow your great website and I’m very glad you’ve contacted me for this exclusive interview… So let’s go! I’m here for you,
We are keen followers of your Italian label Digital Traffik, so we were very excited to learn of your latest exploit, Digital Traffik Asia. What’s the inspiration behind this?
AH: Honestly is an idea that came to me in recent months, exactly after going on tour in China, Indonesia and Malaysia in September of the last year. I do not know how to explain but I feel I’m doing a revolutionary thing : my team will be the first European company that works in the world of club culture to invest in a country so vast. And “invest” for me does not mean: selling our European DJs to China. Investing means creating new local asian artists and bring them into our market with fresh new music. Believe me: this will be a really amazing project.
Why Asia? What do you see in that Market to create such an extension of your label?
AH: Asia is a new and booming market, especially China. I’ve seen with my own eyes the potential and the public’s curiosity about electronic music. This feeling reminds me the boom of electronic music in Europe in the mid-nineties or Brazil in the early 2000s. I lived these situations personally as an artist, business man and as lover of club culture … and I can assure you that in a few years Asia will be the new market for underground music.
I understand you were touring in China recently for a 4 date schedule. How would you say the clubbing scene differs over there to that of it over here on the European scene?
AH: Obviously in Asia things are still evolving. Remember in Europe our business in electronic music has existed for 30 years. Definitely the way to go to get to a business concept like that of Europe is long. But believe me, especially in China the “”techno affair” is taking a very definite direction, and especially things are happening very quickly. Wait two or three years and then we’ll talk another time about this thing … and you’ll see I was right.
Being Italian, do you have any connection to Asia that made you want to branch out in this way?
AH: My partner Alex Henning (booking management) is many years selling our artists in Asia. He has always believed in this market and he insisted for my AudioHell Dj tour in Asia (not scheduled because I’ll be ready for the official tour starting on this summer with a new live project). But it was only by living and playing in Asia that I could understand the potential of this land. Now we work with a very professional local promoter… In China, the most extensive and important country, our booking is exclusively assigned to Max Shen.
Will it be sourcing new and upcoming talent and known producers, or mainly fresh talent?
AH: The policy of the new record company will be: only Asian artists. For the famous European names we have already the main label : Digital Traffik Recordings. Obviously in the future also in the “Asia” label department we’ll insert some European big names as a remixer. But now what I really want is only to give space to young talents.
What artists should we expect to feature on Digital Traffik Asia?
AH: These the first two artists on which we will work : Max Shen and Nuli Manguli.
Max Shen (Shanghai), besides being our chinese point of reference for booking & events, is also a historical and highly respected DJ in his homeland. Now he is working on the completion of its first EP which will be ready for this summer. The sounds will be very different and will mix Deep & Dub Techno. Max has prepared for this meeting also its exclusive podcast for Change Underground… I’m sure you will love!
Nuli Manguli (Xingjiang) is an amazing woman-DJ I discovered personally during my last tour in China. Her homeland Dj-name is Kadryie, but we chose for her to start the new producer career with her real name: Nulimanguli. I had the pleasure to listen to her DJ set in HWG Club (Cheng Du) after me and I went crazy for the music energy. I also listened her first productions in studio and I can say that she’s really a talent. We have already fixed in June her first presentation gig in Italy at the famous club “Alter Ego” in Verona.
How did you first come into contact and listen to Jimi’s music?
Max Shen: I like all house music as Italian and Spanish deep groove house.. of course is from many years I follow AudioHell! I listened and used on my turntables his first track “Forget” with Tania Vulcano & Jose De Divina… I played many times until today. Of course I love also other tracks like “Acid Weeks” and “The Hole” by AudioHell & Bimas. All this music is in my style.
Have you always been into electronic music from any early age in China?
MS: I was a street kid at 14 years with a great passion as a skateboarder & old school hiphop. But when I find on the Cd-Shop near my home lots of albums by Chemical Brothers, Aphex Twin : this music has changed my life. I always tell myself “I want to be a DJ… and that’s the sound I like!” But this is not only me: a lots of Chinese people love this music nowadays… We are on the right way!
How excited are you to now be venturing out to a new target audience in the industry and having the opportunity for your music to reach people that may have felt for so long out of reach?
MS: I’m DJ and promoter of parties from long time in my homeland so I’m ready for any new sound adventure. Europe and China are very different cultures and life styles, but nobody can prevent communication and music collaboration between these two great realities.
How did you first get involved with electronic music?
Nuli Manguli: I was involved in electronic music exactly 2 years ago. I went in Shanghai city for the first time and I entered on the club “Mansion”… 100% underground place… and from that moment I fell in love with Techno. After this experience I went to Guangzhou and I started to attend DiscoBars with Tech & Deep House music… and I never stopped to listen that kind of electronic music. Then I started to learn to DJ. Nowadays I really feel my soul married with Techno : more and more powerful sounds inside me… I just want to live with this amazing feeling…
Was it a natural and easy progress for you to go from DJ’ing to into the studio? What is the situation in china about the production of electronic music?
NM: Yes, it is! The situation in china about the production of electronic music is this : we have a lot djs that believe in club culture now ready to be really good music producers! An example? Max Shen and other my dj-friends from China already hosting a lot foreign djs to play there… and of course we discuss a lot about music production…
As it has been your first meeting with the historical DJ AudioHell? What you think about his idea to invest on you as artist and on the asian market?
NM: When I listened to his dj-set in Chengdu at HWG Club, I was shocked! His music was really perfect full of italian style…. very soft and deep inside. A different feeling of techno, tech house & deep house… I really want to know more about the european techno. I’m the lucky one… Jimi really supported me and helped me to be a really good dj and music producer. I’m ready for this! The idea to invest on the Asian market is really good… we really want to share our music taste on all the worlds dancefloors!
What countries across Asia will your label be covering and featuring talent from?
NM: The land I’ve felt more interested about the artistic profiles is China (for this reason we chose to write the new label logo in Chinese character). But Asia is big … we are waiting for new works from Indonesia, from Malaysia and many other countries. We want to be the first window on the European market for Asia and a new reference point for producers who have not yet found a serious record company that supports their music. Very soon we will communicate even the email for sending demo and we will create a dedicated section on our website.
Will this mean parties and showcases from the label across Asia?
AudioHell: Of course. We have already our european artists on tour in Asia in these months. Our goal will be create showcases with more artists, where the european Dj guest will be combined also with our asian label-Dj.
Will it still be a techno imprint, or will it explore new and different sounds?
AH: The chinese market is very marked on techno and its nuances… but our policy will be to produce “quality” and “vanguard”. The music genre is not so important.
Will you be managing the label from Italy or from Asia?
AH: Of course all things (distribution, publishing, promotion) will depart from Italy to Europe and the Americas … but the music will come exclusively from the East.
Are there difficulties in managing two different labels based in two different countries?
AH: I want to teach to Max Shen and Nuli Manguli what it is manage a label, step by step. I’m sure these guys in few months will be ready to walk alone and I’m sure all my company agree with me. In Asia the Djs and the producers don’t know very well the mechanism of the discography. Think only this : the chinese artists don’t have the access on Beatport, Soundcloud and many other of our portals! They take the music on local websites more times in free download, so not very legal. So the better way is teaching here what they must do in their land. I’m sure will be only a question of time. I trust in these guys 100%.
Have you got a date set for Digital Traffik’s Asia’s first release?
AH: Sure… will be between May and June of this year… Get ready, my friend!