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Meet the Married Couple From Kiev Behind All That Viral

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These ancient origins have inspired the founders of a new NVSHU

Lhaga Koondhor (aka Asian Eyez), Amber Akilla, and Daliah Spiegel began the project last year by offering deejaying lessons to femme, non-binary, and LGBTQ+ people in the local electronic music scene. But beyond that, they hoped to provide these marginalized individuals—among them, emerging producers, DJs, and artists—a gathering place in the city. Although this class of DJ workshop has become increasingly prevalent in the West, in Shanghai, NVSHU is the first of its kind. As expat DJs, Koondhor and Akilla bonded over their parallel histories of navigating the white, male-dominated Western club industry. Despite coming from different backgrounds—Spiegel, originally from Vienna, relocated to Shanghai in 2014; Koondhor and Akilla moved from Switzerland and Australia, respectively, in 2017—all three strove to activate “a space that allows female and LGTBQ+ people to DJ without feeling intimidated,” Akilla says. In their eyes, NVSHU is more of a loose network of instructors and participants with similar values organized over social media rather than “a closed members club,” Koondhor says.

 

Photo by FELIX
Photo by FELIX
As expat DJs, Koondhor and Akilla bonded over their parallel histories of navigating the white

The goal of NVSHU, then, is to apply an inclusive vision to Shanghai’s emerging nightlife scene, which exists as a unique space for people to explore their creative freedom. The city’s nocturnal world is, after all, still a relatively blank canvas. Due to the strict policies enforced by the Cultural Revolution of Mao Zedong in the ‘60s and ‘70s, certain musical genres and instruments were fiercely regulated for decades; following Mao’s death in 1976, the country entered a new era of modernity and accelerated economic progress, but there was still no popular nightlife in China until the ’90s.

The underground club scene, as a result, is still in its infancy. NVSHU

and their contemporaries—left-field collectives such as Asian Dope Boys and record labels like Genome 6.66 Mbp—are actively sculpting this subcultural landscape on their own terms. These ancient origins have inspired the founders of a new NVSHU Lhaga Koondhor (aka Asian Eyez), Amber Akilla, and Daliah Spiegel began the project last year by offering deejaying lessons to femme, non-binary, and LGBTQ+ people in the local electronic music scene. But beyond that, they hoped to provide these marginalized individuals—among them, emerging producers, DJs, and artists—a gathering place in the city. Although this class of DJ workshop has become increasingly prevalent in the West, in Shanghai, NVSHU is the first of its kind. As expat DJs, Koondhor and Akilla bonded over their parallel histories of navigating the white, male-dominated Western club industry. Despite coming from different backgrounds—Spiegel, originally from Vienna, relocated to Shanghai in 2014; Koondhor and Akilla moved from Switzerland and Australia, respectively, in 2017—all three strove to activate “a space that allows female and LGTBQ+ people to DJ without feeling intimidated,” Akilla says. In their eyes, NVSHU is more of a loose network of instructors and participants with similar values organized over social media rather than “a closed members club,” Koondhor says.

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