Boiler Room: ‘we believe in good music only’

Time Out Beijing talks to Boiler Room founder Blaise Bellville about its Beijing debut

As previously reported, underground music platform Boiler Room is set to make its China debut this month, with events scheduled for Saturday 30 in Beijing and May 1 in Shanghai. Boiler Room has broadcast their signature invite-only, underground parties from 65 cities to date, mostly in Europe, the United States and Latin America. In China, the increasingly global brand has partnered with Miao Wong, a veteran of Beijing’s clubbing scene who co-founded underground techno label Acupuncture in 2007 and the INTRO electronic music festival in 2009.

Wong’s latest venture is dART Festival, which aims to curate projects at the intersection between music, visual art and tech. To take on the production for Boiler Room China – Boiler Room shows are always live-streamed, no small technical feat with a subscriber base of over six million – dART has partnered with Le Music, one branch of Chinese internet streaming giant LeEco (formerly Letv). In addition to the live parties, Boiler Room, dART and Le Music will also produce a series of ‘daytime radio sessions’: video broadcasts hosted by China-based artists and promoters such as Soulspeak, Do Hits and ChaCha.

Boiler Room China officially launches on Saturday 30 with a deep lineup of Beijing’s best underground producers and DJs: Kai Luen (aka Soulspeak, playing live), Howie Lee, Shao (formerly Dead J), Mickey Zhang and Elvis.T are all slated to play, and will be joined by an as yet unannounced international guest. Keep an eye on dART’s website for updates and follow us on WeChat – @TimeOutBeijingEN – for a chance to snag two invites to the debut.

Time Out caught up with Boiler Room founder Blaise Bellville, who was pushing the brand in Cape Town, South Africa at the time, for a quick chat about Boiler’s Rooms designs on the Beijing scene.

Blaise Bellvillec

We've heard whispers about Boiler Room trying to get a foothold in China for over a year now. How did you decide on Miao Wong as your official partner here?

Miao has a great understanding of what Boiler Room is and has provided us with an invaluable local point of view. Her interest in a long-term approach to Boiler Room in China, celebrating Chinese underground culture and bringing Boiler Room's specialist coverage into China fell perfectly in line with what we want. There are a lot of music industry corporates looking to exploit the Chinese market in the worst way. We took our time to find the right people with the right values.

What is your goal in expanding Boiler Room to China? Are you more interested in presenting international artists in China, or Chinese artists internationally? A bit of both?

Boiler Room democratises underground music. We make it a culture that anyone can be part of. A kid in Poland can be part of a music scene in Russia. This sharing of experiences and understanding allows what happens in London, for example, to help influence and develop the scene in Barcelona and so on. For China we cannot wait to put Chinese underground culture in front of a global audience. We are equally excited for China to be able to access our coverage all around the world. We hope our global coverage will influence and inspire a Chinese audience, and similarly we hope to be inspired and influenced by accessing Chinese underground culture. The combined effect of importing and exporting this culture we believe will grow underground culture in China into a mass movement. There's a frenzy of huge corporations moving into China trying to exploit only the most commercial end of music with endless TV talent shows and mainstream festivals. We're going to do the opposite of that, because we believe in good music and good music only, and we know that the appetite for that is vast.

Boiler Room is known for using alternative, non-traditional venues for your events. What kinds of venues do you anticipate working with in China?

We will follow what we do in the rest of the world. We'll celebrate access, and yeah, that means untraditional! We'll broadcast from private homes, recording studios, record collectors’ storage units, warehouses, galleries, bars, clubs, anywhere we feel we can capture a genuine ‘moment’.

Follow the dART Festival website for more info on Boiler Room’s Beijing debut.

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