Every week we ask a creative, artisan, or musician to share what music gets them going from dawn to dusk. This week, Adrian Wee—esteemed DJ at EATMEPOPTART and Managing Director at Never, a creative enterprise—voices his mood lifters for a typical day.
This December, EATMEPOPTART will celebrate its 13th anniversary as a seasoned nightlife leader that marches to an underground beat. If you expect the usual mainstream suspects, get ready to be disappointed. This roving pop-up party has elevated 'Pop' into a respectable genre by curating critically acclaimed underrated tracks with ear-friendly hooks. Along with fellow resident DJ KiDG, the obscure sounds of Indie Pop, Britpop, Alternative Rock, Punk Rock, and Electro fleshes delirium youthful fun out of listless individuals.
Intrepid music aficionados game on getting a dizzyingly good time, head to Hard Luck Club this Saturday, 22 December at Stewords Riverboat to experience the musical essence distilled from 13 years of EATMEPOPTART. Not persuaded yet? Allow Wee to convince you with his 'Dawn to Dusk' playlist and candid Q&A.
ESQ: Congratulations on EATMEPOPTART’s 13th birthday! As the brand matures, how does it evolve with the musical taste of the EMPT community and stay true to its identity?
ADRIAN WEE: It hasn’t been the smoothest transitions over the past 2-3 years as the music trends have moved towards more electronic styles, slower too. That means we’ve been sorely lacking a lot of new rock tracks. Although our music identity has always leaned towards the alternative & indie rock & pop, I think at the end of the day good music is good music.
We are still able to keep the ‘feels’ with the different styles and have been balancing our repertoire with our anthems, 80s & 90s throwback and the newer electronic pop sounds. As long as it’s fun and energetic on the dancefloor then it’s all good!
ESQ: How did this year’s anniversary theme ‘Hard Luck Club’ come about?
ADRIAN WEE: We’re celebrating our 13th year so we wanted an unlucky theme and came up with this. We focused on the negatives we’ve faced over the years and made this party to celebrate that.
ESQ: It’s rare to encounter a club that plays underrated indie gems. What made you want to profile off-kilter tunes that deserve some recognition?
ADRIAN WEE: As a DJ, I always challenge myself to mix non-conventional tracks in the set and when you get a crowd going crazy by mixing The xx into something like Phoenix, you get a rush of bewilderment, elation and honestly it’s very addictive.
We’re always pushing ourselves to throw in tracks that shock and awe the dancefloor and ourselves. It’s really rewarding when it works with the crowd. Also, I think we’re kinda like a next level radio show to present new music in an interesting and more palatable way.
ESQ: Tell us a unique or memorable music moment that happened earlier this year.
ADRIAN WEE: One of the biggest surprises we got this year is how crazy the 18+ kids are into 80s music. We started an 80s focused night called ‘Electric Feel’ earlier this year, and I was amazed by the requests that we got, which went beyond the meme & TV/Film tracks. Of course tracks like Africa & Psycho Killer & Should I Stay or Should I Go have been the favourites but soon the kids were coming up asking for Hall & Oates, Whitesnake, Duran Duran, which blindsided us.
A few months later, Electric Feel at Hard Rock Café was one of our biggest nights of the year. I’ve encountered a lot of annoying kids who just want their Calvin Harris and Chainsmokers so to experience what we did at Electric Feel is a really pleasant surprise!
ESQ: What’s next for EATMEPOPTART and which artist(s) are you banking on for 2019?
ADRIAN WEE: There’s always a lot of things I’d like to explore. From festivals to involving local bands. From small genre-specific events to full-scale audiovisual production. Most of the time those are shelved until we find the right sponsors and partners and venues to make this happen. I’ve also been on the lookout for the next generation of DJs to take over after my knees give way. So I hope we can expand the DJ family next year.
As for artists, I really like what Middle-Class Cigars have been doing and the bands under their roster like Sobs, Subsonic Eye and Cosmic Child, have had an amazing year. I’m expecting them to build on this and have a stronger year in 2019. Another local band I’ve recently discovered was Coming Up Roses—just when I’m moaning about the lack of rock in music these days and a wild rock band appears! I’m very much looking forward to their releases next year!
ESQ: Name a song that best represents EATMEPOPTART.
ADRIAN WEE: To pick only one song is tough! Pulp, one of our main inspirations, encapsulate the whole spirit of EATMEPOPTART with cheekiness, innuendos, and a little-warped perspective on life and youth. But I think the track that best represents us is the XX 'Intro'. It’s an instrumental but it fully captures the ‘feeling’ in our tagline ‘never lose that feeling’ of youth, first loves, heartbreaks, joy, pain, and everything in between.
"The mornings are always a struggle for me. So they’re filled with high consumption of caffeine, nicotine and power-up music."
1. ‘Pick Up'—DJ Koze
"The perfect pick-me-up to set you on the path to righteousness."
2. ‘Maniac’—Michael Sembello
"Looks like my mornings are leaning towards disco. This will probably get me outta bed and snapping my fingers on the way to the office."
3. ‘Wake Up’—Arcade Fire
"Haha, the title is a no-brainer for a morning track. "
"Obviously the most stressful time of the day. It’s filled with a lot of mood swings and fluctuations in blood pressure. So there are different soundtracks for the different moods I’m feeling."
"This is what I listen to right after getting off the phone with stupid people."
2. ‘False Realities’—Pleasantary
"Sometimes I need something uplifting to sweeten my mood and this is it."
3. 'Dark Saturday'—Metric
"I always imagine this is the soundtrack of the corporate rats walking at a fast pace in the CBD area. I wish I was them. No, not really."
"A time to wind down and cleanse the mind with some tracks to help me get into the chill status."
1. ‘Saturdays’—Twin Shadows (feat. Haim)
"This song title suggests the day I wish it was daily."
2. 'Day 1 ◑’—Honne
"Wine + fries + Honne makes a great evening combo!"
3. 'Exit Music (For A Film)—Radiohead
"‘We hope that you choke’ is the last words I wanna hear before I sleep."