Most cities would refuse anything resembling the look of an S.T.D., but Shanghai has embraced it full-force. In the past three years party-pushing music promoter Sonically Transmitted Disease, or "S.T.D." as it is cheekily referred as, has infected Shanghai's former French Concession area with 130 - 155 BPMs of electronic dance music and a wave of live performance events to make the southeast side of China into the envy of Asia's hardcore party animals. Even big-name international corporations, such as CONVERSE, H&M, American Apparel, Lane Crawford, 10 Corso Como and VANS have warmed up to S.T.D.'s brand of music mayhem by hiring the collective to be their music consultant for private events. In a very short time, S.T.D. has helped Shanghai's music scene go from non-existent to rabid insanity-- and with respected authority to boot.
"Shanghai is in this really incredible moment where things are coming to surface which weren’t there—or weren’t apparent before. in comparison, the Beijing scene is great (very prominent with live music), but the Shanghai party scene is really taking off," says Reggie, aka "R3", who runs the show in this pearl of the Orient. The city's affinity to new music is really a testament to Sonically Transmitted Disease's shrewd eye for taste-appropriate talent. "We bring in bands from Beijing, Chengdu, Xian and all over China, trying to create an idea of touring that is essentially a novel concept to the Chinese audience."
R3 @ Club Arkham
The frequency of events is also what makes S.T.D.'s brand of entertainment such a successful venture. "For the past six years, we’ve been doing two or three events a month. When we first started out, there was nothing on the scene, nothing to do. Absolutely nothing. No one was playing the music that I wanted to hear, and if they were it was only happening once every month, or once every two months."
Having been in business for the past few years, S.T.D. can now name Tiga, Yuksek, Boys Noize, Simian Mobile Disco, Tricky, Ratatat, Nosaj Thing and The Big Pink as past acts that they've brought over to Shanghai, with many more to come. "When we first started booking international artists, it was a bit of a challenge because nobody had ever really come to China before, but once they got here, every single artist had a mind-blowing, eye-opening experience. They go back and they tell their friends, their agents and the management that China’s really cool. I think from an artist’s perspective it’s worthwhile to see this fan base that you never knew existed singing your words and dancing to the music in a really organic way. Shit, we've even got James Blake coming next year. It's gonna be intense."
Tiga @ Club Arkha
And with the founding of Arkham, S.T.D.'s very own venue space on 1 Wulumuqi Lu, the party doesn't show any signs of stopping. "Arkham is like a big jailhouse; it looks like an absolute mental asylum-- that's how it got its name," explains Reggie, a bit incredulous to Shanghai's dynamic metamorphosis into what it is now.
With the changes that have taken place since the music collective's inception, it's almost impossible to imagine Shanghai without the grit of its now thriving indie music scene. Recalling a particular Halloween party, Reggie Laxatives' mind drifts to one of his favorite moments in S.T.D.'s existence. "It was one of the first nights I was at the top, looking down. We had this really big Chinese band called 'Queen Sea Big Shark ', and guys from France like 'Strip Steve' and 'Surkin'...the place was packed. Everyone was in awesome costumes, and I was looking down and thinking it was just awesome. All I could think was, 'Yea, shit’s happening. It’s good.'"
More on S.T.D. - www.wearestd.com
Produced by: Dan Hwang