Clubs and festivals in times of Corona / Covid-19

Club der Ewigkeiten – Contact (Tokyo)


Sitting at home, one thing has never been clearer. We may not all be dancers, but we all know the essential importance of social gatherings to keep us alive as humans. Clubs have always been central to this aspect of our lives. The range of social interactions, from small (or not so small) talk at the bar to making out in secret (or not so secret) in corners, from raging in bath rooms to dedicated shape-throwing on the dance floor. There is pretty much nothing you can’t do in the club, right? And of course the golden rule remains: what happens in the club stays in the club.

In times of Corona/Covid-19 clubs face a cruel and uncertain future. That said, we want to give a little bit of the love we felt back to the clubs, that giddy feeling when walking through their magic doors for all those years. For this little series we decided to go with “Club der Ewigkeiten”, a track by DJ Koze. A fitting title.

Contact Club, located in the Tokyo are of Shibuya, is one of the most important venues in Asia when in comes to contemporary club music. From A Guy Called Gerald and Derrick May (pictured above) over Aurora Halal and Laurel Halo to Optimo and Depth Charge, the list of artists whom played at Contact since the opening in 2016 is long and impressive.

Contact-Crowdfunding

Other “Club der Ewigkeiten Features so far:
Good Room, Brooklyn 
Gewölbe, Köln
Robert Johnson, Offenbach
Dusk Camp, Los Angeles
About Blank, Berlin 

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Yuko Ichikawa

Yuko Ichikawa
Booker 

When did you start with Contact?
I am working for Contact from the very first day on.  I used to work for Air club from 2013 until it  closed on NYE 2015, after that we started to prepare for the opening of a new venue: Contact – which opened on 1st of April 2016.

Do you remember who played the first night?
Yes, we had opening parties on Friday and Saturday. Friday night with DJ Nobu, Function and Artefakt and Saturday night with Francois K with Goth-Trad, Howie B was in the bar room too.
We had some noise complaints from neighbors and police came, we had to stop the party right after Francois started. So, we gave an invitation card to everyone and did a Sunday afternoon party the next day. You can listen to his set here.

Are you able to drop the club philosophy in two, three sentences?
We are all free and equal on the dance floor. I just wanted to have a place where we can enjoy music safely and freely.

I know, a tough question: but is there one specific night in your memory bringing together everything you love about Contact?
So many. If I had to choose, it would be Get Perlonized with Zip, Sammy Dee, Spacetravel and Fumiya Tanaka. They know how to party 😉  They all stayed until the end, danced together. I love them!

Do you remember the first time you heard from Corona?
It was in January, don’t remember the exact date though.

From witch point on did you realized this will have an impact on our work?
In February, agents were asking us about the coronavirus situation, and I was telling them it’s not so bad in Tokyo. But things changed gradually around the end of the month, and in March we got so many cancellation letter, everything stopped, no one knew our future.

How do you perceive the help from the city and the state?
The Japanese governments are too slow. They don’t want to take any responsibility. Tokyo metropolitan government will pay 500,000 yen ($4,700) to business owners with a single shop and 1 million yen to those running multiple outlets, however that’s not enough. Due to Coronavirus, we’re in a 10 million yen deficit in February and March alone.

Is there a lot of communication going on with the audience of Contact? Do you get a lot of messages?
We post photos on our social media channels sometimes and share mixes recorded at Contact before, I think people are worrying a bit how we can survive this situation.

Are you also doing live streams? If so: how is the feedback?
Yes, we started livestream from the end of March, now many clubs have their own livestream channels, it is getting a bit competitive. But it’s great to see the familiar faces somewhere every day as we can’t see each other in person at the moment.

It is too early to come up with final conclusions, but what are your expectations regards the club world after this crisis? Do you rather think we will fast go back to the same system or do you expect changes? If so what do you have in mind?
It’s very difficult to predict. I don’t know what people want. Some people hope we can go back to normal, the same system as before. It might be a happy situation for many people, but this might be a good opportunity to reset.
I’ve been in this club business almost 20 years now, I should not say old days were better, but it’s changed a lot, I hope we can go back to basics in some ways.
One example: DJs are traveling around the world, they arrive in town on the night of the show and come to the club like15 minutes before the set time, then they go back to the hotel right after the set, and leaving for the next city…. DJing is a job, so they have to do the hectic schedule, but I hope they can stay and spend some time together, listen to other DJs, drink and talk with the crowds. It’s a party!

Favorite Track:
Fleetwood Mac “Dreams” –  This is one of the songs which our staff uses for the soundcheck for bar floor, so it makes me feel like “we’re going to open soon, get ready!”

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Yuichiro Yamashita

Yuichiro Yamashita
Night Manager

Favorite Track:
Tha Blue Herb “今日無事 (Kyou Buji)”

 

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Ryo Arase

Ryo Arase
Event Production

Favorite Track:
Petar Dundov “OASIS (SUBSTACCE & VAINQUEUR REMIX)”

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Chiyumi Ushiyama

Chiyumi Ushiyama
Event Planner

Favorite Track:
Iori “Galaxy”

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Naoki Saito

Naoki Saito
Bar Manager

Favorite Track:
DEATH IN VEGAS “CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE”

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Konosuke Hirai

Konosuke Hirai
Floor Manager

Favorite Track:
Answer Code Request “Breathe”

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Tetsutaro Shimoda

Tetsutaro Shimoda
Lighting

Favorite Track:
Luigi Tozzi “Blood Meridian”

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Mikihito Abe

Mikihito Abe
Artist Liaison

Favorite Track:
Massive Attack ” Daydreaming”

 

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