George Grover (aka DJ Darkwing) is no stranger to discerning nightlife revellers. In a previous life he piloted Fickle Gorilla, the beat-hawking pop-up party series that’s been here over the last few years, as well as the annual Vassetonbury music festival in Perth. Now he’s settling into a more permanent physical berth in Little India as the musical director of Broadcast HQ, a new alternative nightspot that has popped up in the space on Rowell Road vacated by much-mourned art hideout Post-Museum.
Created in partnership with his barista brother Harry Grover (of 40 Hands fame) and Spa Esprit, the multi-tasking joint includes a restaurant specialising in smoky barbecued grub and a music store offering taste-setting CDs, vinyl records and podcast mixes, as well as the club space upstairs that speeds through different genres. Grover tells us about Broadcast HQ’s sonic direction and new nights.
When did you know you wanted to pursue music production?
My first step into music production was in high school. My school had a choice between a military programme called Cadets – where you learnt how to polish shoes – or a music programme called Rock Workshop, where you learnt basic music production. Making a choice between playing with guns or guitars seemed easy for me. Music’s always been around in my life, and an important part of it, but there are certain things, like making new discoveries and being completely immersed in a genre or musical culture, that totally reinvigorate the love.
You’ve been in and out of Singapore before for some ace pop-up parties. What spurred you to open up a permanent space?
The success and feedback from the gigs boosted the belief that there’s a hunger for something a bit different musically here in Singapore, and it gave us inspiration for Broadcast HQ. We opened it with a Field of Dreams mentality, too – if you build it, they will come.
The first Fickle Gorilla party was held at Post-Museum way back in 2010. Was moving into the same building a lucky coincidence?
You could say it’s partly coincidence – I’m a believer in fate, and it’s nice to think destiny drew us back – but it’s probably just blind chance!
How often will you be spinning?
I still run a business back in Australia so I return once a month, but I’m always itching to be back here. I’ll eventually settle into a weekly schedule, playing Wednesdays and Saturdays in the club and the restaurant as much as I can.
How much is Broadcast HQ’s music influenced by your own taste?
Pretty much the whole thing! Our project brief has always been: there’s a wealth of amazing alternative music out there, which people should love if they only had access or [were] introduced to it. But the most important thing with all types of music is to have an open mind. We aim to be the window-slash-sounding board, and let people make their own minds up about the music.
Which music are you most excited about this year?
In electronic music, there have been some amazing releases by the likes of Camo & Krooked, Logistics, The 2 Bears and Digitalism. On the alternative front, there’s been The Shins’ new album and Jack White’s solo album – both stellar. In hip hop, I’ve been listening to the new disc by The Roots and rediscovering my love for Handsome Boy Modeling School.
Will Broadcast HQ have any resident local DJs?
We’re working through the final line-up. Thursday nights will be indie-rock night helmed by Fickle Gorilla collaborator R-Type. Fridays are cutting-edge electronica, and we’re rotating with the Darker Than Wax Crew and a few others. We’re also laying down the gauntlet for Singapore’s aspiring DJs – [they can] drop a mix into our Soundcloud dropbox on our website, or give me their CDs in-store.
Broadcast HQ 107-109 Rowell Rd (6292 4405, www.broadcasthq.com). Little India. Tue-Thu 6pm-midnight; Fri 6pm-1am; Sat noon- 1am; Sun noon-10pm.