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UDancecn grows along with city's dance music scene

(Shanghai Daily)

08:25, July 23, 2013

A website based in a Jing'an District office building has taken off, nurturing local DJ talent and pulling in Chinese fans of electronic dance music from around the world. Andrew Chin listens in.

The night before DJ Magazine's two-time World's Best DJ Paul Oakenfold played a massive show at M2 in May, he showed a little-known affection for classic disco to hardcore electronic dance music (EDM) lovers. The set wasn't performed at a club but at an office building in north Jing'an District to an audience of thousands of listeners of China's only 24-hour EDM online radio station,

Started eight years ago in a rented apartment on the corner of Yan'an and Panyu roads, has grown from 30-50 daily listeners in its first year to currently thousands around the world. The impromptu Oakenfold set drew in 2,400 live listeners, and the station regularly receives e-mails from fans in places like Xinjiang expressing support.

"Most of our listeners turn on the radio at 9:30am and finish around 6," station manager David Yao says. "I think they're in their office with a small speaker playing us all day."

There's an eclectic mix of styles in's 24-hour programming with regular shows spotlighting house (Lola Essentials by LOLA Club), reggae (U.N.I.T.Y.), drum and bass (Nicole DnB Night Hop) and classic disco (Disco Buffet).

Renowned DJs are individually spotlighted in the show "Pure Dance" and the popular "Top 10" program highlights an individual genre in each episode. Some of the DJs are based in Shanghai while others send in mixes that cater to Chinese audiences around the world.

Covering the wide spectrum of EDM is part of's mandate. "From the beginning, we wanted to do something for young Chinese people to let them know about the culture," Yao says. "We wanted people to dance and join us. That's why we called it and the 'cn' really shows that we're for the Chinese people."

Shanghai-born Yao has been involved in EDM since he was 12, trading tapes with friends. Under the name Dave K, Yao's EDM show on FM101.7 was the first of its kind on Chinese national radio. With, he is able to provide a platform for young local DJs to reach a larger audience. Chinese DJs like DJ Eden have their own regular shows while others like Shanghai native Isa Mai work at the station.

"On the radio, you can play something that's really well-rounded," says Mai, who spins bass-heavy sets as DJ Esa. "The reason I DJ is because I want to put all the tracks I have collected and like together to tell a story or feeling I want to express."

Yao adds, "All of the DJs in Shanghai know about us and sometimes we have young, unknown local DJs play. People love it. DJs in the city don't get too many chances to play outside of LoGo, Dada, The Shelter and Shiva Lounge, so it's good because it gets more people to listen."

The current studio is the centerpiece of Shine Communication's office in a complex at Anyuan and Xikang roads. Shine promotes several hundred shows a year across 140 cities in China and first came up with the idea of while working on "Top 10 DJ" events featuring superstar DJs like Paul Van Dyke and Sasha.

"We wanted to build a website that was unique and showed that EDM is our core mission," explains Andrew Bull, a Shine communications director. "We do events at clubs and having a dance music radio station allows us to interact with that world in a more concrete way."

Affectionately nicknamed "The Egg," the studio hosts DJs performing live sets on their flagship show, "Global Guest." It airs every weekday live from 10pm to midnight and sets are uploaded onto SoundCloud, where they can be listened to anytime. The show gives Shanghai-based DJs like Wuhan-born Mingu Sheh an opportunity to spin.

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