Inside RADII's music and culture event series at ALL

The media platform goes offline with monthly podcast recording sessions and live music events

Photographs: courtesy RADII (DJ Gouachi)
In cooking, reduction is the process of thickening and intensifying a mixture so that the whole thing becomes more flavourful. It also serves as a good analogy to describe what is happening with independent media platform RADII’s new concoction, a free monthly event series at ALL.

Launched this June by RADII’s Culture Editor and longtime underground music aficionado Josh Feola, the series was forged out of a ‘desire to engage with readers, contributors and subjects, and to create an offline dimension to RADII on a more consistent basis’. Feola’s decision to use ALL as a venue coincided with its open call for filler acts for off nights during the middle of the week. ‘I've long respected ALL (and The Shelter before it) for its commitment to harbouring a local community and subculture,’ says Feola, ‘so it felt like a perfect fit for the kind of events I was trying to do.’

So far, the series has alternated between two discrete formats. The first being a live recording of Feola’s B-Side China Podcast, where he and one to two guests sit in front of the DJ booth for an interview that ends with an audience Q&A. ‘These talks are usually followed by some kind of DJ set or music demonstration,’ says Feola, ‘to make the experience more informal.’ For its next live recording, happening on Tuesday 29, Feola will sit down with comic book artist Krish Raghav and designer Wu Qingyu.

Faded Ghost RADII at ALL
Faded Ghost

The second format is more of a traditional live music/DJ event, an offshoot of the china.wav event series that RADII launched in Los Angeles this May. ‘We kick off with a short introduction and screening of some of our short films,’ Feola specifies, ‘to showcase our editorial commitment to digging deeper into telling stories about underground music, culture and art in China.’ This component lasts roughly ten minutes and is followed by live music performances and dancing.

zhang zheyuan at RADII chinawav event ALL september 2019 1
Zhang Zheyuan

The first installment of china.wav took place in July and featured Faded Ghost – the producer/DJ pseudonym of Shanghai-based vocalist Yehaiyahan (aka ChaCha), whose verve in LA helped inspire RADII’s initial collaboration with ALL. Eighteen-year-old DJ Gouachi – an ascendant force in Shanghai’s club scene and a subject of RADII’s Voices documentary series – was also present. The most recent September installment saw performances by Zhang Zheyuan, a blind violinist from Yunnan and Laughing Ears, an emerging electronic music producer based in Shanghai. ‘Zhang is the next subject of our Voices series, so we framed the event by screening our latest video footage and sharing some details from Zhang's life,’ says Feola. ‘I think this format is distinct because it's not quite a screening (there are only about eight minutes of video), but it's also more than just a concert. We documented the whole night, and the event itself will become a part of the documentary we're making about Zhang, who before that event had never collaborated with an electronic musician in a space like ALL.’

When curating these events, Feola prioritises dialogue and storytelling above all else; ‘The main factor I consider when determining the line-up is what kind of narrative can be created between the artists: what do they say about their local scene(s), and what does their music say about each other?’

In regards to his plans going forward, Feola is ‘happy to let to let the series evolve slowly and organically’. For the B-Side China live recording nights, he plans to gradually involve more audiovisual technology to diversify the format. As for china.wav, Feola wishes to continue to plumb the depths of the scene ‘to find interesting, unusual or provocative pairings between artists across genres’. Above all, his motivations crystallise at the source: ‘I want our events at ALL to reflect the fact that we have a deep knowledge of and active interest in the kinds of music and culture that we cover, and that we are participants in this community in addition to being observers of it.’

Read more