Singapore Welcomes IMS Asia Pacific

Posted on December 13, 2014

Words: Iain Thomson
Images: Gel ST.

It has been a massive year for Attica Singapore, celebrating a decade as one of the driving forces on the electronic dance scene in Asia with a huge refurbishment and a continued dedication to deliver the best parties to its army of discerning fans. The club has hosted some of the biggest international DJs over the years, but nothing could have prepared the team behind the legendary venue for what was about to happen as the International Music Summit (IMS) made it’s debut with the inaugural Asia Pacific gathering at the W Hotel, Sentosa. As the dance world descended on Asia for a day of panels and networking, addressing the issues that the industry faces and discussing how best to evolve as a region, Attica became an integral part of the after party proceedings, with Attica co-owner Mark Brimblecombe being invited to speak on one of the panels and the club hosting not one but two IMS parties with two icons of the global clubbing scene. Wednesday night saw Pete Tong take centre stage in the club while Ibiza Sonica Radio recorded a live show for broadcast on the terrace of the clubs feeder venue, bar Rose, while Thursday would play host to Paul Oakenfold and a collaboration with Google, Youtube and Lightwave to offer one of the most innovative and interactive clubbing experiences.


Wednesday is ladies night in Attica, but this particular Wednesday offered something special as Pete Tong, one of the leading lights in the global scene over the last two decades, dropped in to take the ‘level two’ crowd on a musical journey they wouldn’t forget. Ibiza Sonica set up directly opposite the club entrance, in Bar Rose, and offered a cool, Ibiza inspired warm up with Christian, Miguel and Andy Wilson delivering a Balearic soundtrack as IMS delegates from all over the world, in town for the conference, descended on Clarke Quay and mixed with clubbers for what was billed as the IMS opening party. It didn’t take long for the club to fill as Asia’s top female DJ Celeste Siam got the crowd ready for the headliner. Pete Tong landed to a roar of approval from the packed floor as he prepared to take control of the booth as the VIP area filled with musical heavyweights from across the region, from club owners to DJs to the IMS team, with everything ready to go the following morning. Back in the booth, Pete Tong took control and wasted no time in mesmerising the crowd with a slew of chunky, bass heavy house/ tech house nuggets that had the club rocking from start to finish. It was the perfect start to a couple of days that will mark a historic point in the evolution of the region as a clubbing powerhouse.


A few hours and some fuzzy heads later, all roads lead to W Hotel, Sentosa as the IMS Asia Pacific made its debut. In the W Hotel, with whom they have an existing alliance for IMS Engage in Los Angeles, IMS has found a partner that is acutely aware of its needs and expectations and has no problem meeting them. The bar area offers a relaxing spot to catch up while the room outside of the main conference area becomes a meeting point for delegates to make new friends and connections, discuss the panels that have taken place and form business partnerships. Inside the main conference room is where the serious discussion takes place, with representatives from all over the region providing valuable input on their own territories as the hosts offer a big picture overview of Asia as it stands now and how it can develop as a clubbing region. The ability to offer challenging discussions and interesting panels, embracing new technology as it does so, is one of the reasons IMS has become one of the most important industry gatherings. A special ovation goes out to Zouk/ Zouk Out chief Lincoln, one of the main collaborators in IMS Asia, as he is introduced late in the afternoon to deliver his thoughts. It was a huge success, with three times the number of expected delegates turning out to welcome IMS to Asia, plenty of food-for-thought was taken away and plans are already in motion for next years return, a two day affair at the same venue. All that’s left now is to enjoy the free flow in the bar and get set for the Oakenfold party in Attica later that night.


Paul Oakenfold has been a pioneer for electronic dance music from the minute he returned from a boys holiday in Ibiza back in the day and decided he was going to launch his own party. Since then he has played on the Great Wall Of China, delivered a soundtrack at the party during the hand over of Hong Kong, stadium toured with Madonna, has witnessed the US finally embrace dance music on a large scale and been responsible for more than a few floor-filling anthems and remixes along the way, working with some of the biggest names in pop music history. It’s no wonder there is a real buzz about his impending Attica IMS Asia Pacific after party. First things first, however, and Paul agreed to collaborate with Google for a live ‘Hang Out’ in the W Hotel, where he interacted with fans around the world in a real time online chat situation, talking about music, mixing some tunes together and describing his own mixing process while doing so, as well as fielding some great questions. New technology is a theme of the Oakenfold party in Attica as Google and You Tube provide a live stream of Paul Oakenfold’s set and also collaborate with San Francisco based company Lightwave to offer Attica clubbers something completely different. 150 clubbers are offered the chance to participate in an interactive experience that measure emotions throughout the event and provides cool graphic updates on screens around the venue, delivering a chart of the top ten dancers/ party people at various points throughout the night, measured through a device held in place against your arm, picking up on your pulse, heart rate and general level of excitement.


Attica fills up pretty quickly, with clubbers joining delegates from all over the region, as some of the men and women behind many of Asia’s top parties and festivals get ready to let their hair down after a day of panels and discussions. There is a real sense that something special is about to happen as we wait for the latest leg of the Perfecto World tour. There is still about an hour to go before Paul Oakenfold’s appearance as an unexpected visitor drops into the booth. Steve Aoki, in town for Zouk Out at the weekend, has surprised Attica by offering to play a warm up set for Oakenfold. Camera phone flashes go off from all angles as the room recognises the impromptu performer and he sets of on a slightly deeper journey that he might normally, lighting the touch paper and setting the Attica dancefloor on fire! By the time Paul Oakenfold takes his place behind the booth, the club is rocking. Steve Aoki thanks the Attica crowd and delivers a fitting introduction for one of the genuine icons of the dance music scene and, with an i-pad monitor in front of him showing the various levels of energy and excitement that the clubbers armed with the Google devices are going through, he sets off on an emotive journey filled with throbbing basslines, epic breakdowns and soaring synth loops, with just the right amount of haunting vocals thrown in. It’s a classic Paul Oakenfold set, one that has been rocking dancefloors for two decades or more and one that regularly has our techo-guinea-pigs hitting the red on all of the energy regions of the digital experiment.


It was a huge couple of days for Asia as a clubbing region, one that proved it is more than ready to make more of a global impact, one that showed that the people behind the parties and the music in the region are passionate about their scene and want to see it develop, great news for IMS Asia Pacific, which has already announced it will return to W Hotel next year for a 2 day conference. It was a big couple of nights for Attica Singapore too, as the long-standing club proved once again it is one of the best places to party in the city. Hosting not one, or two but three of the biggest names on the global club scene as well as a host of industry professionals from around the world, with a unique collaboration with Google and You Tube and the backing of its loyal army of fans – it was a fitting finale to the year that signalled its first decade and set a marker that it is only just getting started, look out for big things happening on Clarke Quay before the end of the year and into 2015.