Cliché Records Fourth Anniversary

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Apr 22
 

Ahead of their fourth anniversary party, Meera Toraskar sits down with DJs Ouissam and Amadei, the talent behind local record label, promoter and booking agency Cliché Records to discover how they’re celebrating four years at the top of Asia’s clubbing scene


Clockwise from top left: DJs Amadei, Ouissam, Rifrain and Miya

Eschewing all clichés, Cliché Records have been responsible for bringing some of the world’s best underground DJs to Hong Kong’s best clubs since 2012. Started by a group of friends who wanted to hear something different in Hong Kong clubs, four years on Cliché Records have entrenched themselves among the most prominent club promoters, recording label and booking agencies in East Asia.

The troupe have solidified their reputation as musical trend setters, taking on artistic director duties at some of Hong Kong’s best venues including The Mira, The Ritz-Carlton and Honi Honi Tiki Lounge, among others. We sit down with two of the label’s leading figures, DJs Ouissam and Amadei, ahead of their fourth anniversary party to talk about Hong Kong’s changing music scene and overseas expansion.

How did you guys start DJing?
Ouissam: I grew up with turntables and was always listening to music and doing music production. That’s how we met seven years ago – I was looking for DJing and production equipment. Also, we agreed on this general feeling of not being happy with what the scene was giving here. I felt that if I wanted to stay in
Asia I should be involved in the music scene.
Amadei: For me it’s different, I just wanted to try it out. First to know how it technically works, then combining my technical and musical knowledge – it’s more like a science to me. I was not happy with the clubs in Taiwan, and Cliché has been created in the spirit of doing it better, or differently, to LKF.

Why did you choose Hong Kong as your base?

Ouissam: We all met here, and I felt like I could do more to help the music scene in Hong Kong. I saw the good in Hong Kong because of the people I met, and I realised that if you are nice and passionate you can use the crazy energy of Hong Kong to really make an impact. If we didn’t start in Hong Kong, our venture would not be happening. We initially called our recording label Fragrant Harbour as a tribute to Hong Kong since we have that sentimentality for the city. We also like inviting local artists to play.

What are the plans for your fourth anniversary party?
Ouissam: We’ve invited DJ Rahaan and nd_baumecker – you might not know the artists, but they are very respected in their own scenes. We have Raahan to keep the groove and nd_baumecker to bring the techno. Honestly, I don’t believe we could have had this lineup in Hong Kong two years ago. It’s quite impressive. I think European people visiting Hong Kong would be impressed.

What’s next for the label?
Ouissam: We always try to think five or six steps ahead, and starting a club is the logical next step. Hanoi has huge potential, it’s a big city with a good mix of locals and expats. Now that our base is established in Hong Kong, we want to further discover the music scene [elsewhere]. It’s an exciting new challenge for us – everything we’ve learned from Hong Kong and the rest of the world, we’ll bring to our club. Our club will be where people go to feel some really special vibes and have a real music experience. It’s like when you build a house you build a foundation, once the foundation of the house is done then you can add decoration to make it beautiful, but the foundation is the most important. Our club will open late June or early July.

How do you think the music scene has changed in Hong Kong since you started in 2012?

Ouissam: Now there are many more promoters doing different things. I do think the music scene is better now, but it’s hard because people listen to new music in clubs worldwide. Every September we have to start from scratch and think new. Four years ago there was one happening event in town, but now there are many of those events in one night. The venues are changing as well because they can’t rely only on mainstream music anymore. The scene is improving a lot, but we need clubs to have a proper musical identity. I don’t think going to a club cannot be a trend – it has to be because people like the music, not because everyone says it’s cool. We need to break the rules here.

Cliché Records Fourth Anniversary Fri Apr 22, Kee Club, Central. Tickets: $150; ticketflap.com.

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