Location: Guangzhou, China
While much of the world had just gone into lockdown in May of last year, Space Plus Guangzhou was just opening its doors in the newly built Tiande Square, part of the Chinese city’s Financial District.
With over 5,000 square metres of space and 14-metre-high ceilings, Space Plus employs cutting-edge technology for an immersive experience. There’s Funktion-One sound, but it’s the club’s wider aesthetic — futuristic tech versus steampunk — that leads you into a world of stunning visuals, moving machinery and shifting scenery.
The Chinese government's track-and-trace efforts meant the club, which is otherwise open 365 days a year, was only out of action for one month — dancers just needing to show a '’green pass'’ for entry. The lack of international travel has shone a spotlight on local talent, including Pink Panda and Carta, and the club’s own residents, Felipe Zona, Dekova, Unicorn, Tea, 杨熙金 (Yang Xijin), Eco and Ada, plus MC Lee, their main MC. But clubbers have also been treated to virtual sets from Timmy Trumpet and Vini Vici.
If Space Plus is impressive enough, it's just part of a larger complex, Spaceland, which has continued construction throughout the last year. Promising to ultimately incorporate eight different dancefloors, as well as other businesses, it’s set to ultimately become the biggest club complex in Asia.
Location: New York City, NY, USA
The gentrified neighbourhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn, is defined by its hip-yet-gritty appearance. On one block, visitors encounter posh eateries and colourful murals, and on the next, barbed-wire-lined fences and abandoned factories tell a different story about the borough’s industrial past.
This clashy aesthetic is embodied by the two juxtaposing faces of a nightlife haunt that thrives there within a retired 80,000-square-foot steel manufacturing mill.
Enter: the dimly lit Avant Gardner and its adjacent outdoor oasis, The Brooklyn Mirage, which has recently welcomed names like Black Coffee, Aphex Twin, Dixon, Rezz, Disclosure, Kaskade and Rufus Du Sol. In addition to massive bookings, the ever-changing venue remains a sanctuary for its flagship brand, Cityfox — a New York-based label that brings emerging house and techno to Brooklyn’s most discerning audiophiles.
Avant Gardner’s indoor arena boasts three different-sized rooms, each with unique accoutrements that range from oversized chandeliers to stained glass and motorised rigs.
“This is a key element to the concept because it allows us to create a path for artists to grow in the market as their careers thrive and their fanbases expand,” says head of programming, Kenny Schachter. “Artists that play the Kings Hall often come back the following year and play the Great Hall, and continue growing toward our largest stage, The Brooklyn Mirage.”
The latter boasts immersive 360-degree visuals, which are cast against winding staircases and balconies. Thus the exteriors of Avant Gardner bear the visage of a palace — a stark contrast to the structure’s blue-collar beginnings.
With releases on Dutch imprint Spinin’ Records, remixes for the likes of Avicii, and a huge collaboration alongside Tiesto, American EDM producer and DJ KSHMR has had quite a productive 2015 to say the least.
His ascension to the top is even more impressive considering Niles Hollowell-Dhar has only been releasing music under his KSHMR alias since 2014. Before then he was one half of hip-hop production duo The Cataracs alongside David 'Campa' Benjamin Singer-Vine.
2015 finally saw the LA-based producer breakout from his hip-hop roots and into the world of EDM, and it was his collaboration, ‘Secrets’, alongside Dutch heavyweight Tiesto that was the catalyst to putting his new alias on the map. That success then saw the LA-based producer play his first live show at the Fonda Theatre in LA alongside Bassjackers and newcomer Yogi.
“This year has gone better than I ever hoped for,” KSHMR tells DJ Mag. “'Burn' with DallasK really opened the door for me, and from there I had the honour of collaborating with Tiesto on 'Secrets', which became the biggest release of my career so far.”
“Music aside, Tiesto introducing me for the first time at Ultra 2015 in Miami was one of the most surreal experiences of my life,” he continues.
As well as high-flying collaborations and remixes, KSHMR also found time to release 'Jammu' — his most personal track to date. It pulled in a host of influences, including those from his Indian heritage, into a giant EDM melting pot.
With support from the scene's biggest names, KSHMR is showing all the signs of becoming one of the US’s biggest EDM stars to date.