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Interview: Yen Countdown DJs sound off

The only problem with **New Years Eve** is the inevitable build-up and sky high expectations held by party-goers for the last night of the year. I can count many NYE experiences back home in the US where my friends and I chose the party-hopping program, only to find midnite arriving while in a cold, cramped car en route to our next destination. Yen Countdown is a New Years party that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years as a result of its unwavering consistency and delivering on what it has promised, which is great music, reasonable ticket prices, unique environment and drinks that wont break the bank. A warehouse-style rave held in the **historic 706 Factory** in [798 Art District] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/798_Art_Zone), Yen continues its tradition of highlighting the best and brightest locally based DJs and live electronic performers from major Beijing party crews like *Morse*, *Bai Cai* and *Syndicate*. No international DJ headliners have been needed to make the Yen Countdown party into the biggest New Years party in Beijing, and possibly China's biggest dance music event of the year. This year organizers expect close to **4000 party goers** to attend, and as a sign of China's growing and diverse electronic music scene, that makes the Yen Countdown something to celebrate. The lineup features a live performance by [Mickey Zhang] (http://www.myspace.com/mickeyzhang) (with his brother Zhang Wei on zither and guitar), and *DJs Dio*, *Yang Bing*, *Elemental*, *Donald Summer*, *Ou Yang*, and *MC Raph* - representing many Yen veterans and some of the most consistently popular DJs in town along with some exciting DJs making their first Yen appearances as DJs. I caught up with four of the DJs on the lineup to get insight on why they are excited to perform at Yen Countdown. * Dio – Beijing – House/Techno DJ and Yen & Morse event organizer * Mickey Zhang – Techno DJ/Producer and Yen & Morse event organizer * Elemental – New Zealand – Drum & Bass/Jungle DJ and event organizer with The Syndicate * Ou Yang – Beijing – House/Techno/Breakbeat DJ

**What makes Yen Countdown different from other Yen events held at other times during the year?**

**Dio:** “Yen Countdown brings a great crowd, for new year's its probably the biggest dance music event in town and is the most popular Yen party each year. We make sure to prepare the biggest venue possible to allow everyone to get together with their friends to bring in the New Year. Also, the diversity of dance music you'll find at Yen Countdown makes it special.”
**Mickey Zhang:** “Every year it seems to have gotten bigger and better. Having more people come have a great time is good, but we also try to find ways to improve the quality of the party and think of new things we can add to it. This year, for example, we have a special new VJ from Austria performing, we're always trying to think of new ways to make it a better event. Since New Year's Eve is one of the biggest holidays of the year its fantastic to have so many people come together to celebrate.”
**Elemental:** A big, big crowd is out for NYE, everyone is up for a good time.”
**Ou Yang:** “Yen parties are always so much fun. This will be my first time playing at Yen so I'm happy and excited they let me play! Yen parties aren't just about the music, it's also just about having fun, with a big crowd of friendly people."

**What's special about the venue, and why choose to do it in 798?**

**Dio:** “The best thing about the 706 space is that allows us to have more people attend without having to turn people away due to capacity restrictions. It also allows us to use multiple projection screens and special lighting that would be difficult to do in any other space.”
**Mickey:** “Having a big room to work with for an event like Yen Countdown is great, the high ceilings and bare walls make it possible for us to create our own special atmosphere for the night. It's kind of like working with a blank canvas, the crowd, DJs, VJs and everyone comes together to make it a special night.”

**What is it like to DJ at the Yen parties? How do you feel about DJing at the Yen Countdown?**

**Dio:** “It's really exciting, knowing there will be a big crowd of party people. I know all the DJs playing have put a lot of time into preparing special sets for the Yen Countdown.”
**Mickey:** “There aren't many chances for me to share my music in an event with so many people all at once, so I really look forward to it. The atmosphere makes it really special because so many people are really ready to dance.”
**Elemental:** “A big crowd is always fun to play for, and from a DJs perspective the Yen events are always well organized which makes it a lot of fun to play at.”
**Ou Yang:** “It's my first time playing in front of so many people, I'm sure we'll have a great time. The decorations and lighting make it really cool.”

**What can Yen Countdown partygoers expect from your set on NYE?**

**Dio:** “Often I'm playing towards the end of the night at the Yen parties, but this time I'm playing at peak time so I've prepared a set that is a bit more energetic and happy than what I usually play. I'm trying to prepare a set that will put everyone in a good party mood.”
**Mickey:** “I hope everyone enjoys my set. My brother Zhang Wei is playing zither and guitar along with me and we hope people like it.”
**Elemental:** “I've got a bunch of new tunes and some unreleased stuff I'll be spinning, it should be great to hear it on the big, clear sound system like they have at Yen. When I play at Yen parties I try to make my sets a bit more techno-flavoured drum & bass, to make it more similar in sound to the rest of the DJs on the lineup”
**Ou Yang:** “I'll be playing all the kinds of music I like, Techno, house, minimal, some breakbeat. I'm really looking forward to it.”

**Dio and Mickey, as the event organizers, how do you feel about the lineup you've put together?**

**Dio:** “I'm really looking forward to all the DJs, of course, but especially looking forward to hearing Mickey and his brother performing live for the first time in several months.”
**Mickey:** “I think this year's lineup is really strong. We have two DJs who are new to the Yen parties – Donald Summer and Ou Yang. Elemental's Drum & Bass always goes down very well at the Yen parties he's played at in the past and the Drum & Bass always brings a special energy to the crowd. Everyone on the lineup has their own specialty which I think will make a great variety of music.”

**Finally, as frequent Yen event attendees and DJs, any tips you can offer to Yen countdown party people?**

**Dio:** “Get your presale tickets, bring your friends and have fun.”
**Mickey:** “Tickets will available on the door, but it's much easier to get your tickets in advance. I hope everyone has fun!”]
**Elemental:** “I'd say get there early to avoid the lines, pace yourself and enjoy.”
**Ou Yang:** “We'll definitely all have a great time together. I want everybody I know to come early, party and have a great time.”

*Yen Countdown presale tickets are available (while they last) in Sanlitun at Jazz Ya, Beer Mania, Aperitivo, Fish Nation and Noise. Also available in Wudaokou at Lush, Nanluoguxiang at Plastered T Shirts, and Chaoyang park at White Rabbit. VIP Tickets and info available at Aperitivo (6417 7793) For more information call 13671304233 (EN) or check www.o2culture.com*

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stonebanks's picture


My first New Year's in Beijing was at YEN. It ruled. Seeing Mickey and his brother's live sets are perhaps my favorite DJ events in Beijing. Add 4,000 people and a giant warehouse into the mix, and you have the perfect NYE party.


Yen have always thrown the best NYE parties that I have ever been to, whether you are talking about Europe, China or anywhere. This is going to be MASSIVE. I'll miss you guys this year, but i'll be there in spirit. I want some drinks poured on the floor in my honour. Biggle.
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