The promoters behind Singapore's best nightlife events — and their upcoming gigs you don't want to miss
Where's the party?
In the past, it was only a handful of clubs that dictated the nightlife scene in Singapore. They set the direction for music tastes, decided which nights to draw crowds, and in turn, determined when and where people had a good time. This has changed dramatically in the last few years, thanks to a growing number of independent party promoters who are hosting regular events that offer much more diverse sounds and entertainment in unlikely spaces. On any given weekend, we can count on their specialty nights to deliver feel-good ambient, hip-hop and house music in warehouses, hotels and secret locations for a new generation of seasoned club kids. We asked some of Singapore's best party organisers why they do what they do and what you can expect from their next event.
Orio Leshem, Fat Fish Familia
Originally from Israel, Orio Leshem used to throw parties in Jerusalem in the early 2000s. The founder of Fat Fish Familia is known for his genre agnostic sets that can range from disco to sixties rock 'n' roll, to the latest house releases, all packed back-to-back in a set. It's this anything-goes format that has seen him and guests such as Louie Vega, Soulclap, and Wolf and Lamb pack out their various theme nights that includes The Lost Boys, Purpleism and the Fat Fish flagship event Strawberry Space.
State of the Singapore party scene: It's in a great place, compared to four years ago. There are a lot of interesting collectives, talented DJs and producers, and proper clubs that deliver fantastic vibes and great international bookings, as well as many badass promoters that deliver out-of-club experiences.
Contribution to Singapore's entertainment scene: We book different big acts from around the world who represent house, disco, funk and soul, and give local and Singapore-based DJs, artists and designers a platform alongside them.
Audience: Our audience ranges from 21 to 60 years old who want to share the love for life, music, and our planet.
Upcoming event: Our upcoming event is on 13 July, over the French Independence Day weekend. Guests can expect incredible sounds and out-of-this-world decorations (literally)! With music from over 15 local and international DJs, you can expect great vibes at our very first Strawberry Space Open Air. Guests will also have the chance to win amazing prizes. We will be donating proceeds from each ticket purchased to our non-profit partner, Paddle for the Planet to raise awareness for marine conservation and clearing plastic from our oceans.
Vibe of party in three words: Nothing but love!
Zig Zach, Blackout Agency
What started off as a club night with his buddy Danny Fry at Kilo Lounge in 2014 has gone on to evolve into Blackout, a full-fledged booking agency, music consultancy and events company. Over the last five years, it has been responsible for the party series Escape 56, Secret Villa Parties Asia, and the afternoon market Sunday Social that takes place in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.
State of the Singapore party scene: Singapore has totally raised its game! On any given weekend, we are spoilt for choice. From warehouse parties, pool parties, rooftop parties, clubs, secret location parties and daytime parties, sometimes there can be abit too much going on for the amount of people we have here. However, it adds flavour and variety to this tiny island.
If you weren't a promoter, what would you be doing: I'd be beating people up for money. I was a professional muaythai fighter. I racked up 35 professional fights internationally before I decided to stop.
Upcoming event: The confirmed dates so far are 13 September and 9 November under the Escape 56 banner in Singapore. Our party in September has been picked up by Singapore Tourism Board and will be part of the F1 GPSS events. I'm glad that we're getting noticed for all the right reasons. We haven't announced our guest DJ or location, so we have to keep it a secret for now.
Vibe of party in three words: Unique. Quality. Experience.
Zaran Vachha, Collective Minds
Collective Minds is a collaborative events and talent agency that's located in nine cities across Asia. It has been responsible for bringing some of the most exciting and eclectic names in jazz, soul and electronica to our shores such as Kasmasi Washington, Daniel Casear, Lauryn Hill, and Mac Ayers to name a few. Co-founded by Zaran Vachha and Alfred Castillo who met while working on Singapore Jazz Festival, Zaran cut his teeth in London for 10 years and Hong Kong for five, before co-founding Collective Minds in 2017. Realising that promoters in the region were working against each other and not with each other while agents were taking advantage of this to drive up prices, their mission is to collaborate, not cannibalise, to champion niche markets and support independent promoters, and change perceptions of the Asian music scene in the process.
State of Singapore's party scene: The scene is popping. It seems Singapore is fighting hard to get rid of its 'boring' city label. People are doing some amazing stuff here. Each club is different from the next.
Becoming a promoter: I honestly tried to shy away from it. I have a degree in neuroscience and statistics and a masters in business, but it kept on drawing me back in. It has to be up there with the most stressful careers on the planet. If you don't believe me, come and fight me. I have always wanted to own a deli with wines, meats, and cheese though. Perhaps, I'll do that when I retire.
Audience: Whether you are a weekday lawyer who's a weekend raver, hip-hop kid stuck in the golden era, a red wine-drinking aunty or someone who's Spotify playlist is from the future, we want to ensure everyone has access to the music they want.
Upcoming event: We have Jose Gonzales at Capital Theatre on 11 July, Yaeji and Maseo from De la Soul at Kilo on 17 and 25 July respectively, San Holo at Zouk on 18 July, Rae Srummerd at Marquee on 19 July and Toro Y Moi at The Pavilion on 1 August.
Vibe of party in three words: Something for everyone.
Jake, Ice Cream Sundays
Singapore-based party collective, Ice Cream Sundays have only been around since August 2016, but they have already thrown over 20 parties, from intimate rooftop gatherings in residential spaces to large-scale public space takeovers. The collective got its start when high school classmates Jake Camacho and Daniel O'Connor reunited in Singapore after stints abroad, with a desire to introduce fresh experiences to the local scene. They kicked off their first event on a rooftop in Geylang. It quickly expanded when photographer Meltem Acik stepped in to take photographs for their first event, going on to become an integral member of the organising team. Soon after, Yasmine Faingnaert became involved as a volunteer, where she quickly made her contribution felt and took on a core role in the group. More recently, the collective has added resident DJs Nick Bong and Muto Masashi into the mix. A diverse group spanning six nationalities and counting, they believe in bringing people together to build friendships, collaborate, champion social causes, and celebrate good music.
State of Singapore's party scene: There's no shortage of top-class international acts stopping through, driven by the likes of The Council, Kilo, and promoters like Collective Minds, Blackout Agency and Fat Fish, to name a few. It's also especially heartwarming to see more Singapore-focused collectives, like Darker Than Wax, go from strength to strength. Beyond the world of promoters, the relatively recent spate of record stores such as White Label, The Analog Vault, and Choice Cuts, as well as content platforms like Singapore Community Radio, are tirelessly pushing the diverse spectrum of sounds day in, day out, and providing opportunities for lesser known local and regional talent to play.
Becoming a promoter: All of us at Ice Cream Sundays have day jobs that keep us busy when we aren't in party mode. Promoting the events is purely a passion project, albeit one that has become a truly significant part of each of our lives.
Contribution to Singapore's entertainment scene: We provide a refreshing alternative to the club circuit, because we try to pop up in unique outdoor venues around the island. Daytime parties are relatively out of the ordinary, especially when they fall on a Sunday. There weren't too many options for a good Sunday session when we kicked off a few years ago. Though we are not necessarily bound to Sundays anymore, the day-to-night concept will always be at the heart of what we do. Recently, we've started to collaborate with local creatives to integrate visual art, as well as decorative installations to really complete the experience, while still remaining true to the DIY spirit that permeates through all of our parties.
Audience: While the bulk of our crowd are in their mid 20s to mid 30s, the demographic has broadened to include all ages with a good blend of locals and internationals that has naturally developed over time thanks to the collaborative work we've done with a range of local collectives, DJs, and creatives.
Upcoming event: Our next event will be a collaboration with one of our favorite local collectives on National Day. It hasn't been announced yet, so we can't provide too many details, but mark your calendars for August 9th! The party will be held at a rooftop venue with a great view of the planes and fireworks.
Vibe of party in three words: Funky. Community. No-frills.
.WAV(Y) was started by Prav and XG based on their mutual love of hip-hop and streetwear culture that they grew up with. The first .WAV(Y) party series was at a small bar along Haji Lane with a crowd of only five people on their first night, but it has grown exponentially over time. Championing unrelenting high-energy and uncompromising new school hip-hop, WAV(Y) has done over 40 standalone club nights in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, partnering up with global brands like GUESS and G-Shock.
State of the Singapore's party scene: It's a beautiful time for the Singapore scene at the moment. Everyone is pushing the envelope in their own respective artforms and it's so great to see our peers excelling in what they do.
Contribution to Singapore's entertainment scene: We're bringing something refreshing to the nightlife and entertainment scene here. We're building a community and platform for like-minded people to gather. The vibes and energy on the night are always really organic.
Audience: Our audience is a mix of people who are into different cultures and styles. The beauty of it is seeing people who dress differently and who are into different genres of music all vibing along together on the night.
Upcoming event: We're hosting our next .Wav(y) event on 13 July at Canvas.
Vibe of party in three words: Energetic, good, wavy.
Eileen Chan aka Cats on Crack, The Council
Co-founded by Clement Chin and Eileen Chan aka DJ Cats On Crack, the duo kicked off their first event in December 2015 and had so much fun that they decided to start The Council in January 2016, so they could continue to organise parties at unexpected locations. In May 2016, they opened their first club and homeground, Headquarters. Their second alternative music venue TUFF CLUB launched in April 2018.
State of Singapore's party scene: It's at a very exciting point right now, and there's a lot of room for exploration and experimentation. The audience has grown with an open mind and open ears too.
Contribution to Singapore's entertainment scene: Singapore has always had a thriving entertainment scene, but we've brought things back to basics. It's important to show the next generation of music lovers, punters and ravers that you don't need the frills to enjoy a good night out. Having our own venues has given us the flexibility to book acts, champion the sounds that we truly believe in, and the opportunities to take risks and experiment.
Audience: When we first started, there were a lot more expats and foreigners attending our events, whether it was at the club, our warehouse, open-air or pop-up events. It brings me a lot of joy to see that there are a lot more locals coming out to our events with an open mind to discover the emerging sounds of the underground.
Upcoming event: We're breaking conventions with the start of our new ambient series 'Soft Landing', where we hope to explore a different side of electronic music with our close-knit community of music lovers. We're ditching the dancefloor for a more relaxed and comfortable environment. With the right setting, we hope to open people's mind for a journey into curious spacious sounds.
Vibe of party in three words: Cathartic, spontaneous, energetic.