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A City Guide to Shanghai by Zuckermann

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China isn’t exactly renowned for its house and techno scene, but lately, a dedicated and informed group of artists and promoters have begun to emerge, the first step on what we’re sure will eventually be a love affair with discerning electronic music. At the forefront of this movement is Zuckermann, a Shanghai-based German ex-pat with a love for all things electronica. A man who’s really pushing the scene forward in China, we decided to check in with him recently as he gave us the lowdown on some of his favourite spots in his adopted city…

The best place to buy records…

When it comes to techno, house or tech-house, there is literally no record shop to speak of in Shanghai (bear in mind that this is considered to be the biggest city in the world…). You can’t even find 1210s in many clubs. DJ culture pretty much evolves around CDJs (and a little bit around Traktor or Serato). That doesn’t mean that people in the scene don’t have respect for vinyl, quite on the contrary, also because many aspiring DJs feel a bit petrified by the thought of having to perform with it one day since they never had a chance to do so. As far as I can tell it’s mainly Western DJs who buy and collect vinyl and they either bring it back from travels or order it via Japan or go Discogs. As with every rule, there always is an exception, in this case, it’s Uptown Record Store. it’s located in the Basement 6 art space (they also have a small spin-off and popular DJ hang-out at Yongfu Lu). They provide a collection of new arrivals, classics, and a lot of 2nd hand vinyl also from other genres.

The best big club…

Forget about the big clubs in Shanghai. They are all commercial and unless you wanna spend a couple of hundred or even thousands of Euros on fake alcohol and hang around a table of bored Chinese rich kids who want to show off their Western friend while listening to Trap or EDM, you better go here:
Elevator, the best underground club in China in my humble opinion. Fantastic booking, nice sound system and a super friendly vibe. Full disclosure, I am a resident there, but even if I wouldn’t, I’d still say the same. They have a no photos policy mind you!

The best underground party…

See above. Otherwise, go check out The Mansion (a totally unique space in China) or the Crazy Lotus events. Both cater to a rather young crowd and are a little more event oriented and less about a music community, but parties can really be nice.

The best excursion…

Just walk around beautiful French Concession with its plane tree hemmed streets and great 1920’s / 1930’s architecture – ok, it’s mostly falling apart or badly renovated (well, just don’t look too closely 🙂 Then, the Bund (beware of Chinese tourists, no kidding), and maybe on to the observation platform of pearl tower or one of the 3 skyscrapers which now dominate the city. Finally, don’t forget to check out ‚Old Shanghai‘, that’s where Shanghai is still Chinese (as opposed to the rest of it).

The best pre-club bar…

Smash, a new DJ bar of 2 Dj friends of mine. Great drinks, very nice vibe, always good music (of course). Not to forget, the 2 coolest bar owners in the world.

The best beach…

No beaches in Shanghai!

The best Restaurant…

Tough question, but if it comes to Chinese food go Lotus Eatery, they have super Yunnan food (at 2 locations in town).
And if you wanna go for some high-end Western shit: Commune Social, Tapas and Wine, incredibly good, rather expensive.

The best Boutique Hotel…

Sorry, no idea guys, as a Shanghai resident I’ve never been in a hotel in Shanghai. If you need a not too expensive room to stay at in style, there are chain hotels boutique style though.

The best park…

Xiangyang Park. It’s small, but for personal reasons, it’s my favorite park spot in town.

The best sightseeing…

The Bund and it’s Puxi side hinterland.

The best modern architecture…

The three skyscraper’s ensemble? No, Power Station of Art!

The best classic architecture…

Just roam the FFC (Former French Concession, loads of 1920ies Bauhaus style and Art Deco buildings

Where in the city makes you happiest? And why?

Again, it’s the former French Concession, beautiful tree lined roads and a human scale vibe between Chinese neighbourhood practice, Western artifacts, and pockets of gentrification that serve The Western (and by now, Chinese) needs with incredible Barista coffee and even some wholesome food here and there.

Where in the city makes you sad? And why?

Pudong. It’s a depressing and untimely misinterpretation of that Western modernity role-model. Western 20th century urban development ideas in a Chinese 21st century setting and a lot of fake grandeur – bigger isn’t always better!

Zuckermann’s ‘So Not Sorry’ (with remixes by Leandro Gamez and Negativ Dekadent) is out now on Destroy All Monsters

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