Opening Tag Club in Chengdu: The Interview
In Chengdu we’ve seen the nightlife landscape change completely over the last few years. There’s the dramatic rise and fall of Chengdu’s infamous Xiong Mao Club were highlights, but there’s so much more.
The latest news is that a group of four (including local DJ Marco Duits and the local proprietor of Hakka Homes) are collaborating to open a new venue in the city called Tag. Here’s all the info on this promising new venue, which is located in the same building and on the same floor of the already-popular bar Here We Go.
Chengdu Living: Who are you and what is Tag?
My name is Twan (the best way to pronounce that name is to say 2 and 1 in one breath very fast), and I’m one of the co-founders of TAG, an electronic music club and platform in Chengdu opening very soon. I’m a Dutch guy, 29 years old, and have been working as a consultant in China for a few years now. Coming from Amsterdam (one of the house and techno capitals of the world), I almost feel obliged to bring this specific music scene I grew up with to China.
CL: Why open a club in Chengdu? What was the inspiration for Tag?
We feel that Chengdu needs a place like TAG, now. In China, the pressure and speed in daily life and work is sometimes overwhelming. People seem to be stuck in their mission to earn money. TAG is a place for people to find new energy and creativity they can use to face the pressure and challenges in their life and think again about what they are doing. Electronic music is popular in many places around the world, but not so much yet in China, where we feel the people need it the most. Finally, in Chengdu we can not find the place we are looking for, and that is why we create it ourselves.
CL: What does Tag mean? Your flyers frequently feature galactic space scenes. Is there a meaning behind all the celestial imagery?
TAG stands for To Another Galaxy. The space scenes of the flyers characterize the space we need in our mind to relax, and feel free and confident. There are many ways for people to do that – like running, reading a book, or playing a game of mahjong on the streets. We at TAG have the resources to give the people some space with good music, a place to talk, have a drink, and of course to dance. Next to that, being located on the 21st floor TAG is pretty close to the galaxy.
CL: Recently the “Here We Go” bar has suddenly become an important fixture in Chengdu’s nightlife scene – how’s it feel opening Tag virtually right next door?
I love Here We Go and the specific style they were able to create in just a matter of weeks. Although TAG will be a different kind of venue, we think it’s key to work together and build a diverse and inspiring nightlife scene in Chengdu. I think we should cooperate to keep the Poly Center building safe and sound, and make it a cool place for people to go to.
CL: I understand that Tag is partly influenced by Trouw in Amsterdam. For those who haven’t been, can you describe Trouw and the influence that it has had on the concept, design, and operation of Tag?
It must be a coincidence, but I am writing the answers to this interview while I’m in Amsterdam, just after I got home from Trouw last night. Trouw is Amsterdams’ top underground house and techno venue and has been creating mind blowing events for 4 years now. Trouw is a very special place, an amazing inspiration for many other clubs and artists. The club has been able to consistently recreate the right mix of people, DJs, sound, light, and atmosphere. That is what we are aiming for as well. Moreover, Trouw is a temporary (physical) venue (the concept will outlive the venue this time), probably just like TAG will be. Before Trouw there was club 11, a great place as well, and after Trouw there will be something new. This organic development of the music scene is good and embraces innovation and recreation.
CL: Are there any regular events which are planned at Tag? For example, a certain style of music on one night, a different style on another night, etc.
For now, we plan to open only on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (once in a while we’ll extend the weekend with a chilled Sunday afternoon event). Thursday night will be the variable night on which we will introduce new concepts, talents, themed parties or events. Friday night is planned to become the so called “TAG invites” night, on which we invite a different talented national or international DJ. Last but not least, Saturday night will be the “TAG residents” night where we will present to you our own resident DJ’s, occasionally supported by other artists.
CL: Are there any design details in Tag which are specifically catered to meet your unique goals? For example, I’ve heard that in Amsterdam tradition, Tag will have turntables. Any other unique qualities like that?
The first and foremost quality we have is our international team of amazing people. We learned a lot from international clubs, but the local market is definitely different. The unique goals we have can not be reached instantly. We understand we need to introduce these new concepts in China with a step-by-step approach. For example, we also planned to invite people to documentary nights on which we watch and enjoy films about the electronic music scene around the world. The fact that we use turntables is indeed a Dutch influence.
CL: Will Tag be mostly free, or be hosting events with an entry fee? Will you specialize in European beers, mixed drinks, or anything else similar?
As supporters of the music scene in China we can not always host free events. We will ask everyone to contribute to the DJs, the club and the platform. That means we will regularly charge a (small) entrance fee. We recommend anyone looking for special beers to cross the street and visit the Beer Nest! Dieter is actually an inspiring person that also motivated us to follow our hearts and do this.
CL: Will Tag be involved in anything music-related outside of the club? Street Parties in 2014, perhaps?
CL: Anything else you’d like to add about Tag, or a message for party people in Chengdu?
Thank you Charlie for giving us the opportunity to tell something about TAG on your blog by answering your cool questions. Finally: TAG is the dream of a group of young friends which is becoming reality. We are going for it, and of course we can’t do it without you all! So join us… from 21 & 22 March… To Another Galaxy!