Push 6th Anniversary featuring Marcel Fengler

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Dec 4
 

Six years strong and arguably atop of the city’s techno tree, Push are inviting famed DJ Marcel Fengler to bring the sounds of the German underground to their latest anniversary celebration. Anderson Muth speaks to the event organisers about past, present and future

Blending passion and humility with a sense of cheeky anonymity, Push are a three man crew consisting of DJs (and-then-some) AKW, Lukas and Frankie Lam. Known for bringing in tastemaking international guests and their own spirited sets at top venues and events, if you enjoy a 4/4 beat it’s almost a cert that you’ve appreciated their efforts somewhere in Hong Kong. 

Yet it’s not just the relentless beat that matters, since the crew believe ‘a great club night comes from a confluence of top tunes, great sound and the right lighting and visuals, so we always aim to create a well-rounded experience’. Speaking of the group’s preferred sound, AKW states ‘underground techno is completely non-commercial, uncompromising and a bit dark’. He elaborates that ‘whether something is underground techno or not is 100 percent about the sound of the music, and nothing to do with the venue where it’s played’. 

Viable venues, or rather the lack thereof, are a top challenge for event promoters here in Hong Kong. So, while PUSH are enamored with Berlin’s Berghain sound – this is their fifth gig featuring a resident of the infamous party lodestone – it’s doubtful the experience that can be fully replicated here. “The world would be a better place,” AKW explains, with a wry grin, “if everyone was able to go to Berghain and lose their minds for 24 hours once in their lives. But local licensing regulations would make it impossible to recreate the club in Hong Kong.”

That said, Push are proud to acknowledge that ‘it’s genius that we’ve been able to present freaky, experimental types like Redshape, and dark, industrial types like Marcel Fengler right in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong’. Which leads into a central issue of many an HK hipster debate. “Does the fact that Steve Aoki has played there before invalidate the credibility of an industrial-techno event with Boris from Berghain?” muses AKW. “No, that’s just being childish and snobby.”

Back to the sixth anniversary and the music – the real priority from dusk till dawn – and the Push crew are unsurprisingly confident of the night in store. “Marcel [plays a] brand of tough, almost industrial techno… You can definitely feel the vibe at a club change when a truly experienced and battle-hardened DJ takes over and is able to channel and direct the energy of the crowd in a particular way. Marcel has been a resident in Berghain since it opened more than 10 years ago and honed his skills playing six-hour sets to some of the most musically educated electronic music followers in the world. You could say he knows what he’s doing.”

Citing their shared experiences as crucial to the Push success story, AKW breaks down the crew’s dynamics. His own time spent working as a journalist for 25 years helps the group maximise promotion, while Lukas’ ‘strong background in event production for huge festivals in Australia’ provides experience on the ground. Then there’s Frankie, ‘perhaps the best-known DJ in Hong Kong… who really helps raise our visibility and enables us to connect with the hardcore local crowd’. Working together allows the trio to divide the overall workload and operate with a complimentary synthesis of knowledge and skills.

Always seeking to drive things forward, AKW sees their current work as just beginning. Although they’ve started to bring Push to other regional cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen, Taipei and Ho Chih Minh City, their aim is to expand throughout Asia while remaining firmly atop the Hong Kong techno scene. Why such fervent dedication? Simple. “We love to see a big group of people being brought together by the energy of techno and with huge smiles on their faces. Our events aren’t for everyone, but for us they’re a big part of the reason we get up each morning.”

Push 6th Anniversary featuring Marcel Fengler Volar, Central, Fri Dec 4, 10pm. Tickets: $250-$350; ticketflap.com.

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