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The Asia Diaries

The Asia Diaries: Matisa mixes business & leisure on first-ever tour outside Italy

From small clubs in big cities to beachside festivals & massages, the Florence-based producer chronicles her magical trip to Asia

  • Words: Matisa | Image: Leo Casalini
  • 18 May 2023

In late April, Matisa hopped on a plane from Italy and headed East for her first-ever tour out of the country. “I am extremely happy <3” she captioned on her post, which showcased a bunch of dates in Southeast Asia.

The Florence-based DJ has been making rounds on social media, thanks to her latest EP ‘Wonder’ via Steel City Dance Discs which also employs a hi-energy sonic offering from label head Mall Grab.

Ahead of her tour, Matisa gave her audience in Asia a taste of what’s to come by dropping a mix for Hong Kong’s HEX radio show, invited by Xiaolin. Dive into it below.

In addition to that, Matisa also contributed a remix for Catz ‘n Dogz’s 20-year celebratory remix EP for the duo’s song ‘Wave’. The track is said to be “reworked in reminiscent fashion”, staying true to the original cut’s slamming, thumping beat and slurred vocals while adding a dash of tripped-out effects with echoing soundscapes.

Back from her Asia Spring tour, Matisa shares with us her memorable moments that all led to becoming “one of the best experiences of my life”. Even with a slight case of food poisoning towards the end, the colourful snaps of her trip encapsulate just how invigorating the trip was…even inspiring her to produce a new track at one point. Ah, the wonders of Asia…

Day 1-3

When touring the world, landing in a place you’ve never seen before is always exciting, and this time it was even more so. When I was in the airport taxi to the city centre, I felt like a little girl getting into a car for the first time and looking out the window. As soon as I arrived, I went to dinner in a typical southern Chinese restaurant with the hosts Jiahao and Junjun.

The following day I was still pretty jetlagged but was ready to visit the city. Unfortunately, the weather had other plans but luckily, we were able to see Jingshan park quickly before it started raining. It was beautiful!

When I arrived at the club, I immediately felt the energy; the crowd made me feel at ease and I gave my all. Playing for three hours, I still remember people's screams of joy! My Beijing experience in three words: big busy city! The only other place I’d been before is Berlin — great food, completely different from what we find in all you can eat in Europe. I honestly can't wait to return; thanks for the welcome, Beijing!

DAY 4-5

I woke up very early! Only having three hours sleep, I found myself on my way to fly to Hong Kong, having already faced two hours in the heavy Beijing traffic to get to the airport.

Hong Kong to me is a remarkable place, it has its own aesthetic which is super special. I met up with Xiaolin and Samy (from 宀) and his team and went for dinner. Then I spent some time with Xiaolin talking about music and the future at Soho House in Hong Kong. It's always nice to share your experiences with fellow artists and I found it very inspiring!

宀 is a unique venue. You enter in the building, take the lift to the fourth floor and immediately you’ve arrived at the club. So much freedom of expression in this place! I played with the FF.2 Formula Sound mixer for the first time, and now I want to buy one for myself!

It was four special hours of music and connection. Thanks, Hong Kong, for giving me a fast, extreme and wonderful experience! Unfortunately, I didn't have time to visit the city but next time I will for sure!

DAY 6-9
Hội An

As soon as I landed, I wanted to go out to discover the city. However, I was staying a few kilometres away from the centre, in a villa near the beach. As soon as I unpacked, I knew I was going to love being here. I felt at home; comfortable and not very touristy…

I didn’t have much time before playing at the Studio Adventure Festival. When I stepped into the venue, I immediately felt an excellent energy and that feeling continued into my set.

Honestly, this was one of the dates that I will remember for the rest of my life; the only other time I felt this was in Lithuania! Being one entity with the audience, dancing all together to the rhythm of music; it’s an experience you don't always have as a DJ because you need unique ingredients like having fun without any doubts, an excellent sound system and adequate lights, plus a breathtaking location.

In Vietnam the people are kind, authentic and happy. I also had the best massage of my life here! And the food…wow! Just, wow...price-wise too! I was in heaven.

I think I’ve fallen in love with this place. I had a few days off to relax and got to meet some very special beings and found so much authenticity in the people I met. Hearing their stories, and how they are experiencing this thing we call was just amazing; I was born curious and sensitive!

Another thing I did was spend some time at the beach and swam in the sea before meeting my fellow Italian Simone De Kunovich whom I spent a nice time with. I visited the Marble Mountains and the old city of Hội An and experienced the sunsets, nature and animals. I left Vietnam with a lot of nostalgia which definitely makes me want to go back again soon.

DAY 10-12

Can’t believe I only spent two nights in Jakarta; it's such a big, busy city and I was unable to visit more of it due to lack of time! I spent most of my time there with a nice girl working for Ding Dong Disko (the venue I played at) and we explored a little, had nice dinners and she took me to get my hair sorted, as the humidity made it unmanageable!

The club was great; wicked décor, visuals…and the crowd was amazing! Once I arrived, they welcomed me like a diva, taking pictures and making videos of me; it made me feel like I was the centre of attention which was a little surreal. It was also really nice to make new friends. Three words; small club in a big city! (OK, maybe not exactly three words…). At least I’ve got a legit reason to come back; to explore more of Jakarta!

DAY 13-15

As soon as I arrived, I had dinner with the promoters at the venue, La Brisa. Great food and very nice place and then it was onto the party, which was incredible. I had a lot of fun.

The crowd was around me in a 360-degree booth and I loved how everyone was dancing around me; two hi-energy hours with a crowd of dancers from all over the world! PNNY and Basement Love are incredible promoters and run amazing parties, hats off to them both!

The next day I finally had time to rest. So, I had a massage, chilled by the pool and enjoyed the sunset (which sets so early, but the sky is just beautiful!). When the moon rose, it was different than when in Europe, which I never thought about before. It seemed so far away and the stars looked like they were twinkling differently…It was on this night inspiration struck me and I started producing a new track!

Before I flew home, I wanted to get out and visit some sites but unfortunately food poisoning hit me, so spent a hellish day in many bathrooms (LOL!). However, I pulled myself together, did the live stream for Headstream at Potato Head and had another anti-inflammatory massage to try and recover quickly before my flight back to Rome.

That’s about it from my first tour! Besides meeting a bunch of special people, this trip made me see a tonne of new and very fascinating realities up close. Definitely one of the best experiences of my life. I cannot wait to come back to this part of the world again!

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