The first edition of MESH, the Music Exchange Social Hub, was held in Shanghai on June 4th and 5th. Organized by Phreaktion and with the collaboration of The Ice Cream Truck and local venues as Kin, and The Shelter, the event was split in two parts: The Hub at Kin with round tables for music professional focusing on actual issues in China. And parties: Sir Diplo at the Mercedes Benz Arena on Saturday and a Bloc Party on Yongfu Lu on Sunday.
As mentioned in the interview to Jane Siesta (DJ Siesta and Preaktion founder), the MESH concept is pretty ambitious and wants to give a chance to local actors to exchange and maybe build projects together. We’ll see with time if some cooperations were born, for now we can sum up what happened there.
MESH Hub at Kin
During two days, forums were organized with main speakers involved in the Chinese music market. Exchanging their experiences, highlight local issues and maybe find ways to work together was the pitch of this HUB.
Label managers, artists and media players covered topics such as record situation in China, how to promote an event effectively or what about hip hop nowadays.
DAY 1: Record is dead?
The guest speakers, included Sulumi from Shanshui records, Fred Hu from Acupuncture records among others, tried to give a precise overview of how to make and sell records nowadays in China. According to them the market is very different from the saturated West one. They still have a lot of place to act. They emphasize on music differences between cities (Shanghai vs Beijing), about the obligation to now sign formal contracts with artists and on importance of quality products and creativity to be different one to another. As usual the p2p issue was mentioned. For some of them it’s normal to free download music on the web because there is still a huge gap between downloading a hot hit and buying and listening to an album. Others still don’t get it and hope to find a way to educate people about no free music.
DAY 1: Chinese Swagg
Dancers, DJ’s, MC’s, producers dealt with the Chinese hip hop trend. Jokes and Yo-mama stuff create a casual atmosphere at Kin. All the guys first try to explain main differences between Chinese and US hip hop due to history and street culture but without finding any clear definition of the hip hop culture down here. One thing sure, they want to gather people around this music and don’t want to act like “west coast” clowns.
DAY 2: Voulez vous promote avec moi?
The western classic combo «flyers + Facebook event» to promote your events can’t really work here in China [Ed.’s Note: Facebook is blocked in China]. Promoters have switch slightly between local audience and foreigners for their gigs. It also means to promote through different types of media and think about cross cultural communication. They also face a massive non-curious audience that look for the coolest event more than some live bands. But they often manage to sell out events with emerging artists. So the market seems to move quickly with new actors, new party concepts and more and more ways to communicate with your audience.
Diplo during his Asian Tour makes a stop to Shanghai for the MESH.
The party was planned on June 4th at the Mixing Room in the Mercedes Benz Arena (boy isn’t that far?). The audience was like a family reunion gathering all the music industry actors in the same venue plus hundreds of party harders waiting to see the Mad Decent superstar.
I was kind of disappointed by Machine Gun Diplo. His set was very effective and based on amazing techniques skills. Diplo is definitely a pro-party-dj but I was looking for more craziness and loud stuff. Nevertheless this gig was a pretty cool one and the audience bounced until the end.
On Sunday, before the Dragon Boat thing, came the MESH Bloc Party. Three neighbor gigs at The Shelter, The Apartment and Shiva was on the schedule. I spend most of my time at The Shelter and I have to say that I had a blast there. The line-up was pretty eclectic, from the shamanic live set by Han-Han to the abstract hip hop set of DJ Wordy (I mean at the beginning of the set) to the cheap hard 8bits by Sulumi. No, it definitely was a great party!
This first edition of MESH was a success despite a rainy weather (on Day 1 the rooftop party was cancelled) and not as many people as expected went to the Diplo party. The aim was to gather and try to kick off some new opportunities here in Shanghai and in China. The second edition will be held in November, the concept will surely grow up until then and attract more and more people.