Since being cherrypicked by Skream and fast-tracking his career in the UK, Bristol-based DJ and producer Eli Brown has established himself as one of the music industry’s most innovative and forward-thinking artists. With roots in drum ’n’ bass and jungle, his dance floors are packed with a club-ready energy, which he brought with his on his first-ever tour of Asia. Follow Eli Brown as he discovers the Far East and the magic of its music scene.
Day 1: Hong Kong
I've never been to Asia before so when the opportunity came to tour out here, I jumped at the chance. I flew London to Hong Kong direct, a flight that takes about 12 or so hours, when I touched down, I didn't really know what to expect, but the first impression was how much it felt like home. I knew Hong Kong was a former British colony, but I didn't expect it to feel so British.
I arrived pretty late, so I didn't get much chance to explore, but the guys who were looking after me took me for so great Chinese food before we headed to the club. That night I played Ignis, a relatively new club in the heart of Hong Kong and I was really surprised by the reaction of the crowd. It's always a bit of a strange one playing a new place as you never really know how the crowd will react, but for my first show out here, I couldn't have asked for more.
Day 2: Tokyo
After minimal sleep, I got up and took the train to the airport to fly to Tokyo. I had to leave pretty early as the flight is quite long and upon landing, I realised I'd booked to fly into Narita airport, which is quite far outside the city. When I finally arrived at my hotel, which overlooked the famous Shibuya crossing, I was taken for the best sushi I've ever eaten at a restaurant called Sushi Matsugen. We sat at the bar, and the chef prepared a ten-course tasting menu which was absolutely amazing. Big thanks to Daruma, Fujiko and Yukki for looking after me. The venue was Sound and Vision, a pretty big club in the heart of Shibuya, which was really good. The place was rammed from start to finish and the crowd were very clued up on all my past, present and new music, which is always nice.
Day 3 - 5: Singapore
I now had a couple of days off, so I decided to fly to Singapore to take in some R&R. I used this time to relax by the pool, take in some sites and do some work. I stayed at a hotel called the Outpost on Sentosa Island, which was cool and near to all the attractions like Universal Studios.
Day 6: It's the ship
Today I'm due to board Its The Ship, which is basically a festival taking place on a 4,000 person cruise ship for three days. I'm feeling pretty hungover as I went to a pre-party at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which was a lot of fun. I've got a few hours to kill until we board the ship, so me and James from Solardo headed over to Universal Studios and the water park on Sentosa Island.
At 5.30pm, we board the ship, checked into our rooms and explored the boat. I've never been on anything like this, so the one thing that surprised me was the sheer size, and just how calm it feels when you are sailing through the water.
Day 7: It's the Ship
I got an early night and woke up pretty feeling fresh and headed to the gym, got breakfast from one of the many restaurants onboard the ship, and bumped into Ben Nicky, Darren Styles and Solardo, who were also playing onboard. What I like about these things is you get an opportunity to meet and hang out with other artists who you wouldn’t usually cross paths with, this is always fun, and you get to meet some really good people as a result.
We all decided to head to the artist lounge and have a few drinks.I started with a coffee but was soon persuaded to hit the beers. I dread to think how much we drank, but we basically stayed there from about 11 am until about 11pm, drinking, playing tunes and generally getting out of hand. You cant stop the Brits when we are together, and there are free beers!
After grabbing some food, I went to bed to get some sleep as I was due to play the sunrise set before the ship docked into port later that morning.
Day 8: It’s the Ship and Bangkok
Woke up at 5am feeling terrible and made my way to stage where Solardo and I played three hours back to back as the sun came up and the ship approached the port. Closing the festival out was a lot of fun, the crowd was wild, and all the artists were there, partying and hanging out. It was an epic way to end a great few days onboard. We arrived at port about lunchtime, and I headed straight to the airport to fly to Bangkok.
Bangkok instantly felt different from the other cities I’d been to in Asia throughout the tour, in comparison a lot more how I’d pictured in my head before travelling to Asia. Motorcycles everywhere, chaotic and bustling cities that are a stark contrast the more organised and western-influenced cities like Hong Kong or Singapore.I settled into the hotel, got some rest before heading out to dinner and the club.
The venue was small and dark with a young Thai crowd who were super enthusiastic and into the music, just the way I like it!
Day 9: Ho Chi Minh City
Off to Vietnam this morning and a lot of my friends who'd travelled to Asia have told me it's their favourite place to visit, so I was super excited to visit. I landed mid-afternoon and headed to the hotel, on the drive I spent most of my time biting my tongue panicking that the driver was going to crash into one of the many motorcycles weaving in and out of the traffic. I soon realised this was the norm and he was fully in control of the situation, I did, however, find it difficult to work out how it was possible to get three grown men on a tiny moped?
Once I checked into the hotel, I went for a quick walk to grab a coffee before meeting the guys from the club and heading out to dinner. We went for traditional Vietnamese food at this amazing spot that involved walking through a narrow shop full of thousands of hats. Definitely somewhere you wouldn't be able to find if you didn't know about it!
The show that night was great, a club/bar called Bam Bam where a lot of the cool young Vietnamese, French and English go to party. The crowd were super responsive, and I'd have loved to play longer, but I had a super early flight to Bali as I was playing an afternoon set the next day.
Day 10: Bali
When I touched down in Bali, I had to head straight to the club as I was playing an afternoon set at Omnia. The venue and setting are incredible, and if you are ever in Bali I would highly recommend visiting. When I arrived, most people were chilling around the pool, drinking and hanging out. As I played and the sun set, the vibe definitely changed, and everyone was getting fully involved. I ended up playing about 45 minutes of pretty banging techno which was kind of the last thing I thought I would be playing, but I had a great time in doing so!
Day 11: Travel Home
I had a super early flight back to the UK and was gutted I couldn't stay in Bali any longer. I stayed in a beautiful hotel called the Renaissance, which was perfect for a few days chilling around the pool!
I headed to the airport, boarded my flight to London via Doha and reflected on what has been a great first tour of Asia. I want to thank everyone who I met along the way for such a great experience! Until next time Asia...