South America might still be a what some DJs insist on calling an ‘emerging territory’, but the fact that Sirenna has been serving up electronic music for 23 years shows that Brazil has deeper roots than most.
A few hours drive from Sao Paulo in the small beach town of Maresia, Sirena feels like clubbing paradise, far removed from the hustle and bustle of the country's business capital. While the still impressive main room is enclosed, the club's second stage is the undoubted draw and takes full advantage of the warm all-year round Brazilian climate, its outdoor dancefloor boasting trees around its peripheries, while the entire club is shrouded by surrounding jungle adding to the feeling of escapism as the sun rises.
Residents Presskit give a hint at the club’s main sound, rubbery bass-led electro house filled with squeaks and bleeps, so unsurprisingly one of last year’s biggest booking was Afrojack, while Spinnin’s Vinai were another hit. But it’s not all main room bluster. The Martinez Brothers and Kolombo proved that there’s taste for more groove-orientated adventures too, while the club’s carnival celebrations and annual White Party keep its popularity and attendence high throughout the year.
Now into its six year, Ibiza hotspot Ushuaïa is a fully fledged super club with mega star line-ups to match. The club, which is attached to a super-lux, 417 room hotel and boasts a breath taking view over the Mediterranean, went all out EDM last year, with 5000 people cramming themselves in and around the famous pool on a regular basis. For their efforts they were rewarded with sets from the likes of Axwell & Ingrosso, David Guetta, Hardwell, Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix and Avicii, which gives you some idea of the scale and sound of the headliners.
Though the sounds are often maximalist, the decor at Ushuaïa is actually the opposite — it is rather minimalist and paired back, classy and plush. The main stage is a vast wooden dome more akin to a festival arena than a pool side DJ booth, and often parties are bathed in cooling blue and warming red lights.
The club boasts a crisp sound system and plenty of LED screens, all of which are being “constantly refreshed” according to the club itself. Add into that a wealth of pyrotechnics and the fact there aren't many places you can party under the Balearic sun doing the day, and you have the reason for Ushuaïa’s continued success.
When Hakkasan Group first took up shop at Las Vegas' offshoot of Studio 54 inside the MGM Grand in April 2013, the hospitality conglomerate did more than dust off old disco balls and install a few LEDs.
Three years later, Hakkasan ranks toward the tippy top of DJ Mag’s Top 100 Clubs poll — for the third time. You do the math. Sin City’s super club to be reckoned with, the behemoth Hakkasan is open Thursday through Sunday where repeat residents such as Tiësto, Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Hardwell, DVBBS, Showtek, The Chainsmokers, Dada Life, Above & Beyond, among others grace the main stage and reverberate throughout the five-story Fort Knox club-equivalent.
Hakkasan boasts a plethora of atmospheric backdrops, including the restaurant, private dining room, Ling Ling level, main nightclub, pavilion and mezzanine. Every inch is craftily designed for an evening out that builds as the ambience gradually transforms, energized by a force that lures patrons upstairs as if by siren songs, until a fresh new nightlife experience makes itself present.
On the third floor is where you’ll find the 10,000-square-foot Ling Ling Lounge and fancy folks sipping bottles of bubbly, chilling to open format kingpins such as Questlove, Rev Run and Ruckus.
One flight up to the fourth floor and shit gets real, not to mention loud. Don’t bother trying to walk. Push, claw, bop around like no one’s watching to find your way, or throw down a wad of cash for a bouncer escort to your ballers’ table.
Celebrities, business tycoons, bros with big wallets and pretty young thangs donning more weight in their stilettos than their perfunctorily crop tops lace every inch of the VIP banquettes, booth, dancefloor, even the stairs. Depending on the particular night, the Garden Bar — an Oriental themed pavilion equipped with its own DJ booth
— is an extension of the main nightclub. The amphitheatre-style setting boasts a story water feature and lush, life-like foliage. The mezzanine is where you party above the commoners VIP-style while still tapping energy from the dancefloor below. If you can get to the the fifth level where it’s nestled, congrats you are an official P.I.M.P.!
When its doors first opened in 1991 inside three derelict warehouses, Zouk was the first club in Singapore to introduce dance music to its nation with a central aim of propelling the Asian dance scene forward, and boy did they put Singapore firmly on the map.
Over the last 25 years, they’ve operated not only as a super club but also as a host to an annual dance music festival called ZoukOut to showcase their cutting edge musical vision by inviting highly acclaimed artists such as Paul Van Dyk, Richie Hawtin and Sven Väth onto their world stage. It’s no surprise then that the institute has gone on to win several awards from the Singapore Tourism Board.
Yet despite being bestowed the highest honour of ‘Nightspot of the Year’ by the Board an astonishing nine times and a high profile campaign to #SaveZouk supported by over 40,000 people, the government still deemed it necessary to move the operators out of their beloved home. It’s sad to see yet another iconic institute being forced to relocate due to authorities caving into external pressures from property developers.
A new location taking over 30,000 sq ft has been secured in the Clarke Quay area with a healthy cash injection of $10 million pumped in to further innovate and develop the space.
With its many design features, the allure of Zouk is generated by five distinctly different zones all within the space. Zones like the intimate, jet black, velvet room where the likes of John Digweed & Riccardo Villalobos have played, showcasing time and time again the best of the underground.
This sits nicely alongside the main, more commercially focused, Zouk room which is heavily inspired by the chic architectural designs of Gaudi and complemented by futuristic video mapping technologies. It will be interesting to see how Zouk recreates its vision in a new space.
Even with all the re-structural changes, Zouk has managed to climb the top 10 this year and is getting even closer to the top 3. Just like DJ Mag, they celebrate their 25th anniversary this year and will celebrate their final year at Jiak Kim Street in style before moving into the new site by the winter season.
As one of the White Isle’s longest-standing nightlife institutions, you’d be hard pressed to find an Ibiza clubber who wouldn’t recognise Pacha’s famous cherry logo. Traditionally associated with more commercial sounds than that of its rivals (think fellow super-clubs like Amnesia or DC-10), it’s still bringing partygoers in in their droves with last month's cover star Steve Aoki’s club-night, titled Aoki’s Playhouse, a popular recent addition. Aoki has welcomed guests like Nervo, Chuckie, R3hab, Boys Noize and Benny Benassi to Pacha's booth over the seasons, alongside established nights Pure Pacha, My House and legendary Ibiza party brand, F**K Me I’m Famous.
Conceived by longtime Ibiza resident David Guetta (and his now ex-wife Cathy) back in the ‘90s, Guetta has played to a packed main room week in week out for close to two decades. “Pacha Ibiza is my favourite club in the world,” says Guetta. “It's at the same time sexy and musically credible. It just feels like home.”
German DJ Solomun’s Solomun + 1 residency will also be back for another in 2016, following sell-out runs thanks to the much-loved DIYnamic boss’ new underground bookings for the venue. Sven Vath, Âme, DJ Tennis, DJ Koze, Michael Mayer, Ida Engberg, Pachanga Boys and many more have joined Solomun in the booth, whilst Solomun has taken the reigns solo for the Solomon + 1 closing each year.
Clocking in in the top five (once again) in our Top 100 Clubs poll, Pacha has long held a place in clubbers hearts and will remain there for some time to come.
Seoul’s Gangnam district is probably familiar to a few — well, over two and a half billion if Psy’s YouTube watches are anything to go by. In the last few years though its premier club, Octagon, has been gaining its own international reputation too, bringing big-room thrills to its subterranean lair underneath the New Hilltop Hotel.
Once a three-story basement karaoke lounge bar, probably plying its trade to drunken business men staying in the rooms above, these days it’s a Funktion-One fitted rave cave that plays host to the area’s young, well-heeled clientele. Taking its musical lead from the US mainstream, the polished, industrial minimalism of the main room, based on its founders' experiences of rave-era warehouse parties, though now surrounded by a VIP balcony and private rooms, mainly plays host to EDM.
So expect big builds, drops and bass lines presided over by everyone from Dadda Life and Andrew Rayel to Fedde Le Grand and DVBBS, who have all visited in the last year. It’s not just about the big name guests though, the club nurturing an ever-growing roster of residents, their family of talent including AK, Beejay, Daishi Dance, Pascal and many more.
In a sign of how tastes may be changing, the UK’s Nic Fanciulli was another recent visitor, and the club’s smaller, more intimate second room, which like much of the furniture and fitting is octagon shaped, serves up deeper house styles. If you need anything else serving up, the club restaurant can whip up anything from lobsters to the finest steak. And once you've washed that down with a bottle of champagne, you can strip off and dive into the club's indoor pool. Now that really is Gangnam style.
There's few clubbing experiences more fabled than watching the sunrise over the Amnesia terrace. Once open-air, the club's famous terrace was covered over in recent years (thanks to sound complaints from the neighbours, snore!), but the historic club hasn't lost any of its magic.
As one of the island's great grandparents, Amnesia was founded on the site of an old rural farm back in the '70s. The original discotheque played everything from rock and pop to funk and soul, before morphing in to a full-scale nightclub with the boom of Balearic Beat in the '80s.
It's hosted a load of world famous club-nights over the years, cue: Sven Väth's Cocoon and famed house party La Troya, plus new school classics like Marco Carola's Music On, plus Tuesday night party, Together. The first of the night's to announce their 2016 line-ups, Together is set to welcome Claptone, Andy C, Amine Edge & Dance, Netsky and more this season.\
Amnesia is also home to Paris Hilton's Foam and Diamonds party, a controversial booking that's seen the club attract a younger and more EDM-orientated crowd than ever before. Meanwhile, Carola and Vath's nights continue to book exclusively underground acts, think: Paco Osuna, Jamie Jones, tINI, Bill Patrick and Stacey Pullen for Carola, whilst Josh Wink, Mano Le Tough, Adam Beyer and Ida Engberg, Solomun, Seth Troxler, Ricardo Villalobos regularly prop up Cocoon's booth in the summer.
Despite the club's age, the brains behind Amnesia shows no signs of slowing down. And with this season's line-ups set to be as impressive as ever, it looks we'll be spending yet another season dancing on the terrace 'til the early hours. Get your sunglasses ready, let's go!
Green Valley is the Brazilian clubbing Mecca that needs no introduction. The winner of last year’s Top 100 Clubs poll, the South American mega-venue has lived up to its title of the World’s No.1 club over the last 12-months, drafting in a slew of top-notch bookings throughout 2015. Think: crowd-pleasing EDM selectors Hardwell, Axwell and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, house heroes Noir, Sharam Jay and Sirus Hood, plus dance music legends like Fatboy Slim and David Guetta.
Born from humble beginnings back in '07, Green Valley started its life as nothing more than a makeshift teepee in the middle of an airfield, set up to host a local rave. Since then, Green Valley has expanded so much that it’s now touted as more of a festival than a nightclub — a visit to its epic 6,000 person capacity main room should be on every committed clubbers bucket list.
Despite starting its life as a rave tent, there’s no short of mod-cons inside Green Valley’s walls: there’s three rooms in total, complete with impressive laser shows, CO2 cannons and several whopping Funktion 1 soundsystems, plus an elevated VIP mezzanine, a massive man-made lake and a GV merch store — there’s even a hair-dressing salon for ladies looking for a rave-ready ‘do.
Technical improvements and international DJ bookings aside, it’s undoubtedly the people who party within its walls that brings Green Valley to life. And with Brazilian ravers some of the friendliest and hard-partying in the world, Green Valley is set to keep delighting clubbers for many years to come!
After just 12 months away from the top spot, the clubbing world has spoken and has decided to right their collective wrong by voting the now 27 year old Space back into the number one position in its final year.
And you will hear no complaints from anyone at DJ Mag, because once again the club that has weathered a thousand musical trends, millions of fashion fads and ever stronger claims on its crown from clubs across both North and South America has had a landmark year.
Explaining why is not a simple job, because there are many things that make Space what it is: the breadth and depth of its musical programming, the friendly feel of its always cosmopolitain dancefloor and its refusal to bow to anything other than pure musical expression.
Back in 1989, Playa d’en Bossa was a place for families looking for a quiet get away, but over the years, owner Pepe Roselle has reacted to changing tides, to evolving laws and increased visitor numbers to make it the epicentre of the White Isle’s activities.
As such, in 2016, Space leaves behind it a great legacy: it is responsible for making daytime partying so popular, is— having first shown a blueprint for it back in the 1990s — responsible for every club in Ibiza throwing extra-large opening and closing parties, and is also responsible for the ever-booming ‘Terrace Party’ scene that has infected events all over the world, not just Ibiza.
Technically, too, the details about Space are astounding, even if no major changes have been made in the last 12 months. The vast club boasts more than 600,000 visitors per summer, more than 650 DJs and live acts play each season, tens of dancers in haute couture costumes add colour to each party, more than 500 staff work at the club, it has five different arenas, five bathroom areas, three VIP spaces, ten dressing rooms, its own infirmary, a custom-designed Funktion One soundsystem, acoustics on the Terrace designed by the esteemed Dr.
Higini Arau and a vast sponsorship programme that finds the club invest in local youth teams and collaborate with many NGOs, and the Red Cross, each and every season.
“Summer in Ibiza has become synonymous with Space,” says Pepe, correctly and matter of factly. Legendary events like the festival-sized shenanigans of We Love… (which left in 2015 and will be replaced in 2016 by a totally different team of promoters who initially hoped to use the same name but, after public outcry, are calling themselves Sundays At Space) Carl Cox’s Revolution, Glitterbox, underground night Kehakuma and crazy carnival crew Elrow all make it so, as does a dizzying list DJ superstars both old and new who play the place each night of the season.
“This is the 27th year and it marks the end of an era, of a unique and incredible story and the end of our amazing adventure,” says Pepe. “Winning this award is the highest recognition of years of hard work by all those responsible for the club, the music and our artistic standards.
Artists such as Carl Cox found their natural home at Space, we gave them room to express and build their new talents and that’s not to mention the hundreds of thousands of young people who recognise Space as their home, not just as somewhere to hear and enjoy new music.
This will be our 27th and defining year, it will be a collective celebration of shared emotions with all of you to remember the beauty of the past, and with music as our companion, we will walk into the future.”