Beijing Living: Interview with DJ Dirty Dishes
Danny, Richard, and Lisha, the Gotoco co-founders, have lived in Beijing for over half a decade, revelling in its vibrant dichotomies: the clash of the ancient and ultra modern; of a lively cultural, creative scene and state censorship; of stunning wildlife and thick pollution; of transience and permanence; of proud locals and uncertain migrants. At the very heart of this, both physically and metaphorically, are Beijing’s narrow alleyways or ‘hutongs’ (胡同 hú tòng), and they have played host to the Gotoco team throughout Gotoco’s existence. In this series, we’ve partnered with Shuilam Wong, the founder of Hole in the Wall (HITW) collective, to document life in the hutongs through interviews with the people that help make them so special, from craft beer brewers, to restaurant owners, to greengrocers, to party-goers, and everyone in-between.
Introducing Mu, aka DJ Dirty Dishes
In this interview, Shui catches up with Mu, the founder of Sugar House Party, Beijing’s foremost monthly RnB party, and pioneer of hot, juicy, soulful adventures in Beijing.
Beijing’s vibiest party — Sugar House dance party is now one of the most notable monthly dance nights in Beijing. This RnB influenced party not only showcases its deep love for RnB, but also embraces a range of genres such as Hip Hop, Dancehall, Afrobeats, House and more. Connecting like-minded people through music and dancing, Sugar House prides itself on being a safe space celebrating diversity, love, and unity.
When in Beijing, you can find Sugar House Parties at venues such as Yue Space and Dada, in the hutongs.
Spotify: Sugar House
(If you’d like to read this interview in Mandarin, just scroll down to the bottom of the page!)
HITW: Firstly, can you introduce yourself?
Mu: Hello everybody! My name is Mu, aka DJ Dirty Dishes, and I am the founder of Sugar House.
HITW: What is your background in music? How did you get started in DJing and promoting?
Mu: I’ve been a promoter for over 13 years in the nightlife and music scenes. I first started DJing at some of my own parties to save on some of the costs of putting on the nights! Before that I was a freelance music editor for an online magazine — I started as an interviewer for bands and DJs, so it gave me lots of opportunities to get involved in the scene more and more.
HITW: Tell us about Sugar House, how did you get started and what were your intentions for it?
Mu: I just wanted to go to parties in Beijing that played music I would enjoy with like-minded people dancing, having a good time, with great organic energy, a diverse crowd, friendly people, no fancy bottle service, no flashy cars outside the clubs, and no pretentious dress codes. None of the existing parties had everything checked on this list, so I decided to create my own.
HITW: Who are the local DJs and music producers that you’ve worked with, and would recommend checking out?
Mu: We’ve had great DJs play at our nights, and now we also have some of them making guest mixes and playlists for our online platforms (SoundCloud, Mixcloud, Spotify). You can check out all of them by searching Sugar House through all these platforms.
HITW: 2020 has been a hard time for everyone. What are some of the changes and challenges you have faced?
Mu: The fact is we couldn’t make any parties for months, so we tried our best to keep our community active, bringing people joy through our playlists and live streaming during the dark times. Also due to the uncertainty, we had to come up with new plans constantly to make sure we could keep running our events, while still following all the restrictions.
HITW: What do you think will happen to the RnB scene in Beijing in the future?
Mu: We are the only RnB-focused party here, I hope Sugar House can influence more people into this music and this movement we’ve created. We also hope to see more local R&B artists, dancers, producers, DJs…etc. Hope to see them on our stage as well!
(All images courtesy of Shuilam Wong and Sugar House Party)
About the author: Shuilam Wong
Shui is a wandering creative. Having grown up in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing and London, she has always been an outsider to her environment. Experimenting across various mediums, including print, digital and the moving image, Shui bases her work around the people she discovers. Her sketchbooks are filled with drawings of strangers in public places such as subways, cafes and bars.
About Hole in the Wall
Hole in the Wall (HITW) is a collective focused on recording urban youth culture. Largely inspired by Beijing’s music and art scene, they create zines, prints, wall murals and live drawing for experimental performances. They also organise creative events and workshops in Beijing’s unique hutong bars. Learn more about Hole in the Wall in this interview on Neocha.
Interview in Mandarin
For anyone learning Mandarin, we’re providing the interview in full in Mandarin:
Sugar House现已成长为爱乐爱舞青年每月一次必打卡的炙热跳舞派对品牌及青年社区。灵感源自R&B音乐，Sugar House Sound system的DJ们除了分享他们对R&B音乐的深深爱意，也囊括从经典90、00年代直至当今潮流中的Hiphop、afrobeats、dancehall、house等相联通的好音乐。无论你是谁，无论你的颜色，Sugar House用音乐和舞蹈连接志同道合的礼貌酷小孩们。
Hole in the Wall: 首先，先自我介绍！
Mu: 大家好！我叫Mu，又名DJ Dirty Dishes，糖屋派对的创始人。
Mu: 我们晚上有很棒的DJ表演。现在我们也有一些DJ在我们的在线平台（SoundCloud，Mixcloud，Spotify）上制作嘉宾混音和播放列表。您可以在这些平台上搜索Sugar House，就能看所有信息。