Friday nights can be intensely stressful, what with the impending weekend whipping up everyone into a frenzy of party-ready activity. But Bar Rouge has a remedy for that: Sunset Disco. As its christening suggests, you’ll be treated to a spectrum-blasting extent of the foundational sound on which all of dance music is built at the time of day when the sun’s glory takes on a sepia-toned gleam as dusk readies itself for all manner of alluring propositions. Atop its gilded nest, every Friday, from 6-10pm, Bar Rogue unspools an elevating dose of disco via DJs that are savvily aware of its splendour and legacy. Joshua P, a luminary in these parts, is the curator of the series and below, he gives us an illuminating take on what makes disco so special.
Why does disco matter?
Disco played an influential part in music. Because of disco, a lot of tracks were made, copied and sampled. Nowadays, when you hear music, the majority of it pays tribute to the disco era. Before house there was disco. People need to understand that disco played an important part in the very progress of music-making. As much as it’s an old sound, it was still ahead of its time as it still follows through in the current sound now.
And what drew you to disco?
My mom and dad! I feel like every kid has heard disco, whether it’s being played by their elder sibling, mom or dad, at home. We grew up with ABBA, Earth, Wind & Fire, Gloria Gaynor or Aretha Franklin. Disco has simple bass lines; great drum patterns and vocals that has a happy sound, which drew me in.
“Disco’s basslines are the grooviest of all sounds”
What are three essential disco tracks to you?
MFSB’s “Mysteries of the World”, Diana Ross’ “The Boss (Dmitri From Paris remix)” and Gwen McRae’s “Keep the Fire Burning”.
At a time where trap music has colonised the dance scene, where do you think disco fits in?
I feel that people still go back disco. We can see that from Bruno Mars who is doing pop and house but he threw back to disco on “Uptown Funk”. Disco’s basslines are the grooviest of all sounds and they work really well on the dance floor. A lot of DJs now are re-editing disco tracks that are in hidden vaults with artists you’ve never heard or knew existed from the ’60s to ’80s. Recently, I found an edited disco version of “Rock With You”, which was done by an old Malaysian band. The vinyl was selling like hot cakes and international names were dropping it. Even Hindi disco is back with Asha Bhosle and the earlier stuff in the ’70s to ’80s, like the Disco Deewane. In every culture, disco is prominent. The sound played a huge part in not only the Western world but globally as well.
What can you tell us about Bar Rouge’s Sunset Disco Nights?
I decided to start the Sunset Disco nights formed when I saw a lot of DJs playing great disco tunes and I realised that playing a sunset set isn’t only about playing down-tempo, chill-out tunes but about creating a vibe that suits the moment. There are disco tunes at a lower BPM that fell right for sunset. We don’t have to always rely on deep house or downtempo. There are disco tunes with lush trumpets that come in with a good bass line, which work really well. The idea behind Sunset Disco is about curating music with disco-influenced theme. So, it didn’t have to be the typical, commercial disco artists, it can even be African, Latin or instrumental disco. It’s kind of quirky with different vibes for the sunset.
Why should people go there?
For the great grooves. Sunset Disco tries to gear you up right to start your night. So, you can come to Bar Rouge, enjoy the sunset and start moving. That’s why Sunset is a great place for people to attend if they want to get it going early.
The next edition of Sunset Disco happens tomorrow at Bar Rouge. DJs Joshua P and Jean-Baptiste Berchoteau will helm the decks.