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Feature: Clubbing in the clouds

Feature: Clubbing in the clouds

Feature: Clubbing in the clouds

A branch of legendary Singaporean club, Zouk, has opened at Resorts World Genting, with Void speakers ensuring SPLs as high as the surrounding hills. Caroline Moss investigates

When Zouk threw open its doors on Jiak Kim Street in 1991, it ushered in a whole new era of nightlife for Singapore. In a bid to bring global house music to the island state, local entrepreneur Lincoln Cheng had taken over three derelict warehouses on the Singapore River, filled them with artwork by Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, and invited international DJs to play at the three interconnected rooms that became the backdrop to so many young lives.

As gentrification and residential zoning hit Robertson Quay, Zouk eventually lost the battle to renew its licence, moving to its current premises at The Cannery at Clarke Quay, where an opulent new incarnation has opened. This reflects Zouk’s ongoing maturity as a sophisticated brand; the club has come a long way since its heady days as the closest thing Singapore had to an underground dance club.

D8's Sean Iskhandar with one of the red Void Airstream DJ monitors
D8's Sean Iskhandar with one of the red Void Airstream DJ monitors

Proof of this sophistication can also be found at the latest Zouk to open, at Resorts World Genting (RWG) in Malaysia. Just 45 minutes from Kuala Lumpur and 2,000m above sea level, RWG provides a welcome escape from the heat, bustle and smog of the city. The first hotel opened there in 1971, with steady growth ever since, and, in 2013, the Genting Integrated Tourism Plan was launched: a 10-year master plan to refurbish and develop the hotels, theme parks and infrastructure of RWG.

This regeneration includes the arrival in the hills of Zouk, the rights of which were sold by Cheng in 2015 to Genting Hong Kong. Like the Singapore club, as well as a branch in Kuala Lumpur that opened in 2004, Zouk Genting has a number of outlets, namely the main Zouk club, Empire by Zouk, RedTail by Zouk, RedTail Karaoke and the Fuhu restaurant. All nestle under the 3,500m2 Zouk Atrium.

Three of these areas – the two main Zouk and Empire nightclubs, as well as Fuhu – have been supplied with Void Acoustics speakers by the D8 Group, Void’s distributor for Malaysia and Singapore. Technical sales director Sean Iskhandar takes up the story.

‘Digital Aid (D8), our rental and production division, worked with Zouk Singapore in 2017 on the ZoukOut festival,’ he explains. ‘When they found that we were also the distributor for Void Acoustics they invited us to participate in a shootout to choose a new system for Zouk Genting. They had seen a few Void Acoustics systems in clubs in Taipei and were interested to hear its flagship club speaker, the mighty Incubus system.’

Top: Laurin Schafhausen, Satoru Tochibori, Henry Ram, Callum Bowran; Bottom: Tetsuya Miyashita, Sean Iskhandar
Top: Laurin Schafhausen, Satoru Tochibori, Henry Ram, Callum Bowran; Bottom: Tetsuya Miyashita, Sean Iskhandar

A single Incubus stack system was flown into Singapore from Japan, accompanied by Void’s APAC sales manager Callum Bowran along with Laurin Schafhausen and Satoru Tochibori, Incubus owners from Germany and Japan, respectively. The shootout was held at Zouk Singapore, with great success, according to Iskhandar. ‘The Incubus system, with its massive Incubus subs and Hyperhold bass system, literally blew the Zouk management away and shook the Zouk Singapore venue,’ he says. ‘The speaker’s design and styling, along with great sound quality, clinched the deal for us.’

Indeed it did, as the main room at Zouk Genting has been installed with the first Void Incubus system in South East Asia. Working with Zouk’s senior technical manager Rexx Lim, who’s been with the company for 16 years and designed the new venues at RWG, D8 supplied all the Void systems and supervised the entire installation. A standard red finish was chosen for the Incubus system in the main room, while a custom gold finish was selected for Empire.

Designed as a temple to electronic dance music, the main room at Zouk can accommodate up to 1,500 clubbers. Lasers and strobe light designs by Barcelona-based LEDsControl, known for its work on international festivals including the brand’s own ZoukOut Singapore, illuminate the 800m2 space, which has three bars, 30 tables and two private rooms. This main club can be combined with the adjacent Empire to hold a total of 1,800 people by removing a partition between the venues. As well as all things EDM, Zouk Genting will also showcase live performances and aerial acrobatics, as well as displaying urban art.

In such a setting, the choice of sound system was crucial, and the main dancefloor system consists of two Incubus Air Array three-way mid-high elements with two triple 21-inch Incubus Subs in a distinctive red colour; four Hyperfold compact folded horn-loaded upper bass speakers; two Tri Motion three-way mid-high cabinets; and four Stasys Xair double 18-inch horn-loaded subs. Twelve Airten V2 compact high-output dual 10-inch speakers, two Stasys 118 reflex-loaded 18-inch subwoofers and two Stasys 218 reflex-loaded double 18-inch subwoofers form the infill system, together with eight Venu 8 passive 8-inch two-way loudspeakers and a Venu X dual 12-inch compact low-frequency enclosure. A pair of Airstream DJ monitors comprised of a single 15-inch subwoofer with a coaxial 12-inch midrange and a 1.5-inch high-frequency unit give DJs the dynamic range and SPLs they need; these are reinforced with four Stasys 118 subs. The system is powered by a total of three Bias V9, six Bias Q5, five Bias Q2 and one Bias D1 two- and four-channel network power amplifiers.

Customised gold Void Tri Motion Nexus XL in Empire
Customised gold Void Tri Motion Nexus XL in Empire

Spanning almost 500m2, Zouk Empire is a hip-hop club that can also provide a private party space for up to 500 people, with a bar and 20 tables. The concept was taken from New York’s private, upscale club-lounges that cater for urban music. And it doesn’t disappoint on the style front with fine art features on the walls, while a 6m LED screen behind the DJ decks displays VJ loop visuals.

‘With the rising popularity and appreciation of hip-hop culture, we thought it’d be an opportune moment to introduce a brand new hip-hop angled concept,’ said Zouk Group CEO and executive director, Andrew Li.

Empire has been installed with a main system of four triangular three-way mid-high Tri Motion and six Nexus XL 21-inch low-frequency enclosures with custom gold grilles. Fills comprise seven Venu 8 loudspeakers, four Airten V2s and two Stasys 118 subs. The DJ monitor system in Empire consists of a further two Airten V2s and two Stasys 118 subs, and the system is driven by three Bias Q5 and five Bias Q2 four-channel network power amplifiers.

Fuhu – which will host DJs to entertain clients as they dine – has also been installed with a Void system, keeping the audio consistent between the three main, high-energy venues. The restaurant has been installed with 14 Venu 8s with five Venu Bass single 12-inch compact subs and two Venu 10 passive 10-inch two-way surface-mount speakers. Here, according to Zouk Group culinary director, chef Steven Chou, diners will experience ‘…delicious tastes, matched with theatrical presentation, exciting surrounding atmosphere… The end goal is to contribute to building Zouk’s establishments as the ultimate hotspot to wine, dine and play.’

If ever an excuse were needed for leaving the city behind and heading for the hills, Zouk Genting can certainly provide it.

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