Premium sofa Club: Second Anniversary

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Jan 8

On the eve of Premium Sofa Club’s second anniversary weekend celebration, Anderson Muth speaks to owner Lucas Luraka and music programmer Johnny Hiller to learn what they’ve got planned

The years and clubs come and go all too quickly in Hong Kong, so the fact that bring-your-own-booze dance spot Premium Sofa Club has hit the two-year mark is nothing to scoff at. Piloted by Lucas Luraka, following the closure of his Dandy club in Central and then his more furtive Paradisco venture in Ap Lei Chau, Premium is in a sense both an evolution and de-evolution of a Hong Kong venue.

Relying on little beyond a Facebook page listing events and some infrequent public postering, Premium has successfully carved its own niche within the late-night scene. Located in the Sheung Wan basement space once inhabited by XXX, Luraka explains that the venue is, simply, ‘all about music and fun’. Preferring to eschew an edgy, underground nom de guerre, Luraka readily admits to giving ‘the club a cheesy name that sounds like a local Chinese restaurant, like Premium Palace or the Emperor’s Kitchen’. As for the music, ‘the base is disco, with all the genres directly associated with it, including house, techno, Italo disco, etc’. Not missing a beat, it’s at this point music programmer Johnny Hiller steps in to clarify that, “Generally speaking, disco is also an attitude rather than just a certain genre of dance music. You are allowed to have fun and be outward, and that is what a good party together with a mixed crowd is all about.” Hiller does concede the club’s style of disco ‘is also an acquired taste, [as] it takes time to collect and connect genres of ‘good music’ and play them in the right context, which is very different from playing a downloadable DJ chart from, say, Beatport’.

So what about the infamous sofas? More than just a name and a respite for weary feet, they have helped to create Premium’s comfortable house party vibe. Says Luraka, “We actually use recycled sofas and furniture that I have mostly found near where I live. On other occasions we get offered sofas from the 1980s from a friend’s grandma, which suits the club’s style.”

While a BYOB party is certainly nothing new, the format is on the rise in Hong Kong, no doubt due to the continued economic pressures facing almost all music venues in the city. Luraka views any similarly-minded club as ‘kind of a compliment [as] it can only be a good thing for the non-commercially-driven music scene’. Developing the scene is key, and explains Hiller’s presence. He spent years successfully DJing and promoting disco in London and claims, “Going forward into 2016, there will be more international guests who fit into what we do, which also means going a little bit outside so-called big name international DJ bookings.”

As DJs first and foremost, both Luraka and Hiller bring a clear passion to Premium as well as a music-focused event policy. Luraka jokes that ‘the main advantage is not having the club owner telling you what to play’. Perhaps a bit more serious with his perspective, Hilller adds, “Of course, having an understanding of music, its history, the producers, labels and sounds helps to create a music culture. If music is seen as just a tool for more bottle sales, then commerce comes before art and creativity. An international city like Hong Kong deserves much more than that.”

Premium Sofa Club: Second Anniversary Premium Sofa Club, Sheung Wan, Fri Jan 8, 11pm. Free.


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