Secret soirees

Secret soirees

SINGAPORE - Pop-up underground parties are making their mark on Singapore's party scene.

Held in improbable locations ranging from carparks to industrial warehouses, these events are where you are likely to find geek frames-wearing hipsters and move to cult music acts.

As home-grown electronica artists and indie bands jam, or DJ collectives spin, artfully dishevelled creative types mingle or simply cluster in venerating silence near the bar and podium.

Never mind the wonky temporary air-conditioning or deliberately inaccessible venues. Between 150 and 800 revellers turn up each time for these underthe- radar parties and at least three such events have been held in the past month. Partygoers learn of the parties through word of mouth or via social media.

Last month, local art and music collective Syndicate held its seventh and latest instalment of Syndicate Subsessions at the Substation theatre. The twohour party featured local electronic dance music producer Darren Dubwise and electronic act Intriguant, the brainchild of hip-hop and funk DJ Louis Quek, and drew a crowd of under 100.

Two weeks ago, fashion label Fred Perry held one of its Sub-Sonic Live parties under a flyover along Thomson Road. The line-up included home-grown rock experimentalists Anechois and American chamber-rock act Ra Ra Riot, who performed to a crowd of 1,200.

And last weekend, the popular Super 0 Season pop-up festival returned for a second edition at converted industrial space The Mill in Jalan Kilang. The season, to be held over four Saturdays until Nov 30, features emerging local DJs, music workshops and art installations merging sound, design and multimedia.

The first Super 0 Season was held in April in a converted space among the art galleries at Gillman Barracks. It attracted 3,600 people over four weekends.

Last weekend's Super 0 Season party drew 900.

Ms Alyssa Kokilah, 32, co-founder and director of Super 0, says that by choosing "lesser-known venues and completely transforming them", the organiser gets a chance to "breathe new life into" and "showcase the creative potential" of these spaces. She points out that the trend has caught on in cities such as New York, London, Berlin and Paris.

Inspiration for Super 0 Season came from The Warehouse Project in the Greater Manchester area of Britain, which features a series of club nights over six to eight weekends, drawing up to 30,000 people each week.

With alternative parties more common in Singapore compared to five years ago, says Ms Kokilah, she hopes to use Super 0 Season as a platform to introduce local and international acts to local audiences. She also wants it to marry art, design, music, dining and social scenes "to create a dynamic subculture".

Similarly, other organisers emphasise the interdisciplinary aspects of such gigs-cum-parties.

Mr Safuan Johari, 32, co-founder of Syndicate, says his collective started the Syndicate Subsession series at the Substation theatre three years ago to "push and challenge" themselves to focus on the performance.

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