For many years now, Nakadia has been bringing Sven Väth to Thailand to play his only gig in the region.
It makes for a party that drives the ever more essential scene forward and takes place at Illuzion in Phuket on Saturday January 20th. The gig occurs during the Cocoon label boss’s annual detox and recovery getaway but that doesn’t stop him going all out. Here we speak to the person who makes all this happen about some funny stories over the years, about how Sven inspires the locals and what the club have to do to get ready for the all vinyl DJ.
“the most important thing when booking Sven: Making sure the vinyl doesnt jump.”
How long have you been booking Sven in Thailand and why? What makes him special?
So far I played around 10 times alongside Sven in Thailand, 7 of those gigs have been my own produced events. Sven is a legend and even in Thailand, where people are still not very educated in terms of techno or underground music, many people know him. I personally love the way Sven is playing his sets and he is very inspiring to me as a DJ. He was for years on top of my list of artists to book in Thailand.
Have you got any crazy or funny stories from the times he has played for you?
I know Sven is also famous for his crazy stunts during gigs, but he comes to Thailand every year to recover and detox, so he takes care of his health and there are no crazy scenes like we all know from Ibiza. But we always have a great time. A funny moment was on Koh Samui at Cha Cha Moon beach, when out of a sudden 2 hours into his set rain started pouring down on Svens decks. Me and a friend (a sexy little Thai girl) jumped on the DJ booth trying to hold up the little roof on top of the equipment with wooden sticks. It was a funny sight. But the rain made it impossible to continue playing vinyl, so Sven had to stop and I took over myself playing on the CDJs.
How do people react when he plays? Do they fully get him or are they still learning?
I have to admit that most of the crowd are european tourists, so the percentage of Thais in the crowd is maybe 20%. Thai people are open minded to music and are learning quickly, so even if they new to our style of music, after 1 hour they are in to it and this way the scene in Thailand is slowly growing.
Has he inspired many techno DJs to start young in Thailand? Do you think him playing here has that effect?
It’s a difficult question to answer. Thailand is still mainly EDM and even though things are moving towards cooler parties and more techno DJs, most young DJs starting with EDM. The number of “cool” Djs in Thailand is still very limited, as is there are also very few events and clubs for them to play and the competition between these artists is also very big already. Though I am sure Sven inspired many of the young Thai artists in a positive way.
How are is he to book? What do you have to do for him that you don’t for other DJs to get him to come and play?
Well, I was lucky. Sven loves Thailand and for many years he comes to my country to relax at the beginning of the year. I noticed that he was not playing the right places in Thailand, so when I met him in Berlin I recommended to accept a booking with Bed Supperclub in Bangkok. He did and had an amazing night there. From that experience he trusted me. When I asked him to join me for my event at Cha Cha Moon on the beach of Koh Samui, he immediately agreed. This event was a huge success, with people flying in from all corners of the world. Even Sven was surprised about the atmosphere and turnout, so he agreed to play 3 gigs for me in Samui, Phuket and Bangkok the year after.
What is he like as a person? How is he to look after, is he easy going, for example?
Sven is the easiest person to look after. He keeps things “real” and is very down to earth when it comes to his requirements. This is what I love about him. He just wants to have a good party and good atmosphere around him. After so many years on top of the game, he has seen it all and done it all, but for him it’s still all about having a good party. Where others just go for the money, he goes for the music – that’s what I respect most about him: No Bullshit, just music!
He famously plays all vinyl. Do you have to get special decks or a mixer, or do a certain soundcheck, to make sure the place is ready for him?
This is the most important thing when booking Sven: Making sure the vinyl doesnt jump. The Dj booth has to be extremely stable. The setup is very basic for the rest – as long as the vinyl doesnt jump, all is good. Sometimes this can be a big challenge, especially on a stage in the front of the beach, where even a light breeze of wind can make the needly race over the record.
Whats the venue like? What production do you put on for Sven? Does he brings his Cocoon dancers and decor with him?
We haven’t done a Cocoon showcase yet in Thailand. So far it was only Sven Väth by himself, so there was no cocoon production involved. The beach parties on Koh Samui have a tropical feeling without fancy high tech. They have been more like Ibiza afterparties. The events at Illuzion Phuket are more like the opposite – Illuzion is a high tech temple that compares to the biggest Ibiza-clubs. Illuzion always prepares a special decoration for the nights with Sven Väth and we adjust the light-programming and sound EQing to the needs of a great techno night.
Tell us about the lights, lasers and sound system – are they all high tech, what sort of things do they do and add to the party?
Illuzion has a massive sound system – probably the best in Thailand. The club is super high-tech with 6 of the big CO2 cannons plus other special effects. The lightship is unmatched in Thailand, as is the massive LED screen behind the DJ booth. Like mentioned before, it’s normally programmed for EDM, but for our techno night both sound and light gets re-programmed and adapted to the needs of an amazing Techno night. So far, people from all over the world have been surprised about the massive production Illuzion puts on. No wonder this club is probably the only club in the world that has over 3000 guests every single night of the year.