Chickens & Monkeys & Bears, Oh My! A-Trak Goes to Asia

At the beginning of June, I went to Asia with my friend Congorock, an Italian DJ on my label Fool’s Gold, for our “Asian Sensation” Tour. I’ve been to Asia a bunch of times before, but this trip was particularly interesting because I went to so many countries back to back—it was like cultural speed-dating. From food and club audiences to hotels and traditional monuments, I got a quick taste of everything.

Musically, it’s changed a lot over the years. Electronic music is taking over like it is in the rest of the world, especially thanks to blogs. So it’s exciting for me to go there and not only promote my own music, but meet the DJs who are playing it. There’s a new generation that’s really keen about all of this, and it feels fresh.

The only place we had any real downtime was Bali, but that worked out great because it’s gorgeous and there’s tons to explore. Still, we tried to capture pictures everywhere we went. Check them out below to see how this continent is seen from a globetrotting DJ’s eyes.

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Bali is the only non-Muslim island in Indonesia. It’s Buddhist, and everywhere we looked there were these offerings to the gods, basically incense and flowers. I even saw one on the roof of a car.

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This is me bathing in the holy springs of Tirta Empul in Bali. The water is really cold, everyone is shivering. I basically looked at what everyone else was doing and did the same: ran some water on my head.

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I went to see a traditional healer in Bali. I haven’t seen the movie Eat, Pray, Love but I guess there’s a similar guy in there, and my host said the one in the movie has since “gone Hollywood”. I’m not even sure what these guys do but I figured there’s no harm in trying. It ended up being essentially a massage.

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This was in a great Thai restaurant in Bali. I wish I kept the name – it was delicious. I didn’t actually taste Indonesian food while I was there.

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I went to visit a temple and they put some rice on my forehead in some sort of traditional ceremony. Then I walked around and someone let me hold their chickens. You can’t really say no to that.

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We went to this monkey park in Bali, which is literally what the name indicates: a park with monkeys. You can buy bananas at the entrance to feed them. They’re not in cages, they’re just everywhere around you. They’re also not very nice, they’ll grab cameras and purses from people. I still love monkeys though.

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This picture was taken close to the springs of Tirta Empul, in Bali. These kids were all taunting each other on the street, and when we asked for a picture, they got really calm.

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These are some rice fields in Bali. Looked like something out of Apocalypse Now.

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The club where I played in Bali was outdoors by the beach and had a swimming pool. One of the most beautiful settings I’ve ever played in. It’s called Potatohead.

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The Petronas Towers are probably the most known landmark in Kuala Lumpur. They were the tallest buildings in the world until just a few years ago. Petronas is an oil company. KL has a big oil industry.

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In Bangkok I played at a spot called Bed Supperclub, which as the name indicates is both a club and a restaurant. For reasons I don’t understand, this bear was at dinner.

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This is a poster for our show in Jakarta. It was my first time there.

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Yes, the Singapore Sling really is from Singapore. I went to the Raffles Hotel upon my arrival to do some shopping (I bought a nice bathing suit there) and realized that their bar is where the famous drink was invented. So I indulged.

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Here I am DJing at Zouk Club in Singapore, one of my favorite clubs in Asia. The sound system is amazing, I heard parts of songs that I never noticed before. image

This is the crowd at Zouk. They were a rowdy bunch.

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I met a Buddhist monk at the Taipei airport. He was nice, very talkative. He asked me if I was on Facebook.

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I did an ad campaign for Tommy Denim and the ads are up in a bunch of countries overseas. It was funny seeing myself on a store in Taipei.

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This is me DJing in Beijing. It looks like my beard fades out but it doesn’t.

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Standing on the DJ table in Beijing. People freak out when I do this and scratch but I swear it’s not difficult at all.

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The club where I played in Shanghai, Bar Rouge, is on a rooftop terrace and has a great view on the city. This picture was taken around 5am after my set. Rainy day.

Photography by Robin Laananen

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