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More often than not, vivid memories of all-night raves in Under9 would flash across my mind. Who could forget the excitement we would all feel when walking down to the basement of Bangunan Ming Annexe all while listening to faint thumps of the bass lines that would eventually greet us raw. I’ve had so many great memories there, on both Techno & Psytrance underground nights. What made them great were hangout sessions with strangers and friends alike at the carpark above ground — moments when I’d get the chance to talk to the people who loved the scene as much as I did.
The venue has hosted many proper international acts like Shin Nishimura (Plus Records,JP), Jamie Bissmire aka Space DJz (50Hz,UK), Truncate (50 Weapons,US), Ben Long aka Space DJz (Intacto,UK), Marco Lenzi (Molecular Recordings, UK), Answer Code Request (Ostgut Ton,DE), REKA (Bite,DE), Lady Starlight (US) and many more. What united them was the fact that they had all helped to put Under9 on the map for recognition in Kuala Lumpur’s techno scene.
Then COVID-19 happened, though Under9 had well been closed before then. What made the MCO especially memorable was my chance to chat with Amjad aka Notion A & Jason Voon, the brains behind Technologue, about how the new normal impacts the local techno scene as well as their future endervours.
Jason: I’m in Singapore and it’s not as strict as it is like in Malaysia yet. Staying and working from home has given me a lot of time such as working on my music, get reacquainted with my passion for cooking, catching up on reading, sleep and
planning some side projects.
Amjad: Well tough times for everyone. I’ve been spending time juggling between spending more time with my family, work and also my music and record label. New release just got out on SoulMatters Recordings!
Jason: Since I have some free time now, I have started a livestream series hosted by Beta Project inviting DJs from around Asia to contribute. There are plans to revive the night when the whole Covid situation subsides but we’ll see the overall sentiment when we get there.
Jason: It would be interesting to see what would the new norm be but I doubt that it’ll strictly be exclusive to streaming parties cos you know dancing alone at home can be pretty boring.
Amjad: Tricky, but yeah I think Virtual Clubbing would be the new norm. Maybe. I’ve seen a few Virtual Clubbing going on with a “door cover” to join. Would love to see what’s next.
Jason: Not right now but maybe in the near future. There are plans but I’m just going to leave it at that for now.
Amjad: We all love the venue. I still spend time in the basement jamming to tunes by myself. So many memories. I miss all the faces there. I hope we can be back. For now, nothing yet 🙂
Jason: We have the potential but it’s rather a question of community, sustainability, affordability and diversity. There’s so much talent to nurture but we need to cut the bullshit and start supporting one another. I think it’s not about half assing it – from venues to parties. If we were to be a hub we need to collectively put everything we’ve got to make it happen, not for the sake of getting on the roster – you know where everyone wants to be the DJ but no one wants to come and just dance. In essence, to really build KL into an electronic music hub – everyone plays a part to make it happen.
Amjad: Yeap surely. We just need to keep supporting the local electronic music scene.
Jason: To me it’s a way of life. It is punk at its essence – a statement of non-conformity and never selling out.
Amjad: Music for the future.
Of course, this feature would not be complete without Jason Voon‘s well crafty and deeply examined techno tracks, each with relentlessly pounding warlike kick drums to slingshot you into another realm altogether.