It’s the season for clubs closing in Shanghai – who’s next??? Could it be all of Yongkang Lu? Arkham? Your apartment party? Better save some trap dollars for a rainy day.
KTV was a house/disco club in a renovated karaoke parlor that stayed open for about a year. Their strict sound was European disco and house, with some impressive bookings like Mike Simonetti from Italians Do It Better and Chez Damier. Cool concept that may have worked in Spain or something, but in Shanghai this unfortunately was not enough to pay the rent, and the club just announced its closure. Perhaps this was, as some have offered, a consequence of an supersaturated market – too many clubs and promoters and not enough patrons. Or perhaps KTV fucked up by just not enough promoting to different crowds or working with other promoters…I believe the problem lies in the latter.
Personally, I can’t say I feel terrible for Club KTV, considering this convo I had with someone working at the club back in April, when I asked if we could do a Love Bang party there:
“…everything imported. sorry to sound arrogant but not interested in djs who play everywhere in sh. thats my partners opinion im just a messanger. (sic)”
These are nice people who grossly erred in judgement, assuming that a small crowd of Europeans could support a club in a city with some of the most expensive rents in the world, and with loads of clubbing options. At least that’s what i assume they did, as they wouldn’t bring in outside promoters or promote to locals. I never once saw anything about KTV on Weibo, even in the heyday before Weixin eclipsed Weibo. I mean, look at their flyers – this is absolutely meaningless to a local who isn’t in touch with the small disco and house scene. No Chinese, not even an address.
So…there’s gonna be some kind of razor at a KTV? It’s a shaving party? A cutting party? Goth-night? Is this at Mao Livehouse? I’m a foreigner and without context I don’t even know what this means.
Whereas Arkham struggles to draw a crowd to local nights w/no headliner, they at least got their shit together to draw an impressive local crowd to e.g. their Thursday night hip hop party. I heard KTV tried to reach out to some other promoters at the end, but by then it was too late. Here’s what we can learn by this:
1) Chinese promo is essential. How can you ignore over 95% of the market??? Dada and STD do well because they promote to local crowds.
2) In a world where Perry’s offers free beer and an always-packed bar full of international peeps, bars must do something to stand apart. A renovated KTV is cool, but that alone won’t draw enough customers to keep the doors open. Club owners should always ask themselves “why would anyone want to come to my bar instead of one of the hundreds of other places in town??”
3) It’s cool to have an artistic vision, like pure disco and house in a quirky setting, but in an often tacky city like Shanghai, you have to make compromises sometimes if you wanna stay afloat. That means sometimes working with people you don’t necessarily think are doing the coolest shit on the planet. You can learn a lot by working with peeps doing something different.
4) [most important] If you run a club, FFS don’t shut out all the other promoters in town and think that importing some vinyl nerds from Europe is somehow gonna matter more than working with local promoters. Fucking dumb. I wanted to do a party at KTV but they were like “naw we’re good.” Welp, guess not bruv!
People make mistakes. I didn’t consider the wrong impression some may get when they see a party called “Love Bang” at a gay-ish bar. And I thought like 500 people would just turn up to the first pool party. This has been the summer of “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Lessons for the youth.
Ramon & The Crystalites – Golden Chickens
RIP KTV – here’s some of my favorite disco edits to remember ya’ll.
Duff Disco – A Tribute To Barry
6th Borough Project - McLovin
Mayer Hawthorne – Her Favorite Song (Oliver Remix)
Duff Disco – Return Of The Duff
Linkwood Family – Piece of Mind
Blood Orange – Sutphin Boulevard (Bicep remix)
Perseus – Running Back
Suzanne Kraft – Morning Come
Bumbleebee Unlimited – Lady Bug (Larry Levan Mix)