Wooozy Offline: The Radar Talks with DJ Sleepless

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This week Wooozy.cn gets grounded via a new series of shows they’ve tagged “Wooozy Offline”. For the first instalment the team have lined up a solid bunch of local talent, and Bristol sound boy New York Transit Authority (formerly Mensah, who was big in the Bristol dubstep scene). The idea is to build the profile of local artists through coordinated collisions with internationally renowned talent. In a bid to discover more, we shot a couple of questions over to dj sleepless  (intentional lower case) who also acts as the Managing Editor of Wooozy.cn.


Before we get into Wooozy Offline, can you give us a bit of history on Wooozy.cn and how the platform has helped to expose Chinese talent?

Wooozy.cn started in 2009. The aim was to introduce the freshest music from China and all over the world. We used to have Wooozy Sessions, a series of events that invited Chinese bands outside of Shanghai to play in Shanghai, thus giving them a platform to showcase their talent. Bands like Skip Ben Ben and Mr. Graceless played at previous Wooozy sessions.

Can you tell us a bit about how the Wooozy Offline Series came about, and why you’re focusing on electronic music?

Wooozy Offline came about from the team’s love and passion for electronic music. We love the Bass and Grime sounds coming out of the UK right now. At the same time, we found lots of talent in China and other places in Asia like Japan and Korea, and can’t help but feel they deserve a chance to play out in clubs and venues, and not just in their bedrooms. Since wooozy.cn is a web magazine too, we can not only give them a platform to play, but also a public voice through interviews and reviews. Since there are not that many promotors in Shanghai doing this kind of “online + offline” event, we just thought we might have a go at it.

As for the focus of electronic music, I think it’s just because bands nowadays get more chances to cut their teeth in local venues, but for local DJs and producers it really is a much under-explored area. This is what we wanted to do via Wooozy Offline; to give them a platform, a voice.

Are there any unique strains of electronic music coming out of China, or any unique terms found in the Chinese language you think might get picked up outside China?

The dance music scene in China is still in its early developing stage. Most of the critically acclaimed producers and DJs are very “western sounding” if you like, which I don’t think is a problem because electronic music is a universal language. You don’t really need to sound Chinese to impress, you just need to do good and original music. These are the kinds of people we are looking for at Wooozy, not the MC Stones and Legends of Phoenixes

For this first show you’re bringing in UK’s New York Transit Authority (formerly Mensah). Looking at the relationship between the foreign headliner and supports (including members of Beijing’s ShadowPlay crew who are doing great things with music/art) do you see the series as a way of encouraging upcoming local artists to raise the bar, or a way to break international artists in China, or both? What are the gains for local/international artists?

We want to give local artists a confidence boost by giving them a chance to play out at the best clubs in town, alongside established international artists. They’ll get the chance to talk to them and maybe even do some workshops together. We want to make them believe they can play at Sonar one day, release records via Hyperdub, or even set-up their own label one day. That’s why we want to do Wooozy Offline in the first place.

What genres are you going to be focusing on for upcoming shows? Is there an agenda?

We are always looking at the freshest sound but don’t focus just on sound. We will switch up the styles just to give more local DJs and producers a chance to play. After the more bass/house style of New York Transit Authority, we have the Night Slug Boss Bok Bok to play our second event. As for future plans, we’ve got all sorts up our sleeves, so keep an eye on wooozy.cn !

Following the last question, how far is the series going towards leading audiences to experience new genres vs. giving the crowds what they want? There’s got to be an element of taste-making here right? How far is Wooozy.cn pushing this? Where’s the breaking point? Schranz? Hanggai DJ set?

Wooozy.cn has been around for 5 years, and already has a reputation for representing good music in China, so I don’t think we need to do Hanggai DJ set to impress people. In my experience, young Chinese music lovers are very very open to all kinds of music; Wooozy.cn will love to share with them some of the music and artists that we like, and help them to discover new sounds.

What can audiences expect from your own sets? Are you developing a career or just having some fun with the series, say, looking for an opportunity to keep your feet on the dance floor whilst writing about the scene via Wooozy.cn?

Even since I was very young, sharing music with friends has been one of my main passions, so Djing is kind of a natural thing for me. With the help of Traktor and Serato, the technique is not that much of an issue any more. I’ll play some funky/soulful tunes mixed with techno/house that never fails to make me dance during my own sets – hopefully the music will make you dance too!

To celebrate the first in the series, dj sleepless has put together a mix, which gives a tease of what to expect on the night. Check out the show information here:

Wooozy flyer front

[Disclaimer: we’re pals with the Wooozy.cn team who are of course working with Split Works to put on these shows. We’ve kept our editorial as impartial as possible and hope others get on board to support the growing electronic scene here in China.]

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