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Thread: Code Red - New Club Launch

  1. #1
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Code Red - New Club Launch

    Eddie was the driving force behind making Pontoon.. And it getting top level international acts there, much moreso than any other club I have been to (freestylerz, Leon, etc etc).. Pntoon is a great club tho its gone crappy commercial music since Eddies departure.

    After his acrimonious split with them, hes had a lot of behind the scenes struggles as forces have tried to stop him relaunching anything. I am excited to see this getting off the ground and fully expect this to absolutely rock.

    Even in his first month I see the Cuban Bros there, who are a show I have always wanted to see.

    This is going to be a hot venue to watch. Wish I was still spending time in PP.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    Code Red - a new dawn for Phnom Penh clubs? Exclusive interview with Eddie Newman - Phnom Penh Underground

    Code Red – a new dawn for Phnom Penh clubs? Exclusive interview with Eddie Newman

    Few events in the Phnom Penh clubscene have been more highly anticipated than the opening of Code Red nightclub. After the aborted opening of the original Code last summer, head honcho Eddie Newman is ready to go with a purpose built space next to Koh Pich bridge.

    akil j5In advance of the opening on Thursday the 16th of January (more details here), Phnom Penh Underground spoke to him exclusively about his extensive background on the cutting edge of Phnom Penh’s clubscene – from running a bar at the lakeside to his split with Pontoon - before moving onto a discussion about Code Red specifically.

    What’s your background in Cambodia?

    I’m from Glasgow originally – I promoted a few nights and managed a couple of bars there. I first visited Cambodia in 2004 – I actually got stuck here with no money!

    Eventually I got some money through and moved here permanently in 2006. I purchased a small bar for $3000 in the lakeside. At that time there were only 2 or 3 bars there. For the first couple of years, I had an incredible time but after a while, it got tedious – backpackers constantly asking you the same questions.

    So how did you move into club management?

    I was actually looking for an apartment and a friend of mine, Nathan Horton who was one of the original photographers here, suggested the place he was living in – which was on a boat by a pontoon, next to the night market. So I went down on a Friday night to the Pontoon, which was being run as a club. The place was empty – no thought had gone into the DJs or the music. So I said to the owner “Listen, I can make this place work”.

    Back then, the original Pontoon had 4 shareholders and my proposal was that if I put in $1000 of my own money, the other shareholders must match it. They agreed to it. So now we had $5000 to play with. So I tarted it up a bit, sorted out the sound, changed the lighting etc.

    bert33We then booked one of the original Studio 54 (legendary 70s New York club) DJs, Bert Bevans. For our opening night, we used the Ministry of Sound logo, we used the Studio 54 logo – you can do these things in Cambodia!

    By 11.30pm on the first night, the whole club was underwater – we’d actually sunk the club! There were 16 tanks keeping the pontoon afloat and one of them had a hole in it. Luckily no-one was injured. It was the best publicity we could have had. We made it onto the news in Jakarta!



    On the other side, 3 of the 4 shareholders were seriously pissed off – but one of the shareholders could see the potential and bought out the other 3. 3 months later, with help from the local Cham fishermen, we raised the club from the depths and re-opened with Bert Bevans.

    In October 2008, however, we got asked to move from the present location because of a festival for 3 months. However, when it was time to come back, they wouldn’t let us move back! The authorities were renovating the Riverside and didn’t want a scruffy pontoon spoiling the view.

    So, after a 3 month hiatus, we moved to Koh Pich (Diamond Island). We cut up the pontoon into sections and towed it there by tug. We were actually the first ever business there. We had 9 fantastic months with the appearance of Major Lazer being a highlight. Weekends were busy, everything was going well – and then we got closed again. No reason given.

    So what was your next move?

    We needed a permanent location and finally found the site where Pontoon is now, on St 172. We opened in January 2011. At first it was great, but after a while, because of the location and the crowds, I began to feel that the spirit of the original Pontoon wasn’t there. Instead of being an underground club, it started getting commercial.

    For me, it’s not about making money when we get a big DJ in. It’s about marketing, having a good time and putting Phnom Penh on the map – because of us, any big DJ that comes to SE Asia wants to come to Cambodia.

    layo4 Just before I’d parted ways with Pontoon in October 2012, we booked Layo and BushWacka. I told them about the situation with Pontoon and they said “we’ll follow you wherever you want us to play”. So, I spoke to Johannes at MetaHouse (Phnom Penh underground venue) and he agreed to host it.

    We had 4 days to organise it and, to be honest, it was probably the best night I’d ever done. No pressure, no hassle, just pure enjoyment.

    So you’ve split with the Pontoon crew – what happened next?

    BigWig_MainPoster_A3PortraitAfter I parted ways with Pontoon, I did the BigWig Festival in Singapore. The concept was to bring international music to Singapore.

    We brought people like Pharoahe Monch and The Pharcyde – loads of great names. It was a huge success, despite the plethora of rules and regulations’, which came as a shock after Cambodia!



    After deciding on the Code concept for Phnom Penh, what happened with the original Code?

    We secured a property on the riverside (Mao’s club) and were all due to open it up as Code in June 2013. 2 days before the opening date, the Police said “no”. We still don’t know what the true reason is but hopefully we can open it in the future as more of a bar/bistro vibe.

    header3

    After the disappointment of the original Code, Eddie decided to focus on a purpose built venue at the far end of the Riverside, near to Koh Pich bridge. With less than a week to go till opening night on the 16th of January, things are starting to take shape and the space looks like it will be very impressive. In particular, the massive DJ booth, a third of the way into the club provides an amazing focus that reminded me of the booth at London’s seminal The End (R.I.P)

    What does Code Red bring to the Phnom Penh club scene?

    The idea is to have a club that is bringing in major international acts at least once a month. I can’t think of anybody that’s doing that in Phnom Penh at the moment.

    What will the weekly programme be?

    It depends on the night. You’re never going to hear commercial music here. On the off nights, yes, we will be playing more mainstream stuff – but never commercial. On Tuesdays, we’ll have an industry night with local DJS. Friday nights, you’ll get more of an educated sound – be it Electro, Drum and Bass, real Hip-Hop – we’ve got Leroy from The Prodigy at the end of the month. We’ve got DJ Woody (Ninja Tune) on Valentines Day, The Cuban Brothers on the 21st of February. Expect a big name every month!

    Will you be supporting local DJs?

    I want to welcome everybody – for example on the first Friday, we’re going to have Dr WahWah, Bojan from Kimchi Collective. I’m open to any DJs in Phnom Penh that are doing good stuff – I’ll give them a shot.

    What capacity is Code Red? What equipment will you have for the DJs?

    I’d say roughly 400 – the way that we’ve designed it is to be cosy and get an atmosphere. DJ-wise, we’ve got Technics 1200s, Pioneer CDJ2000s, Pioneer Nexus mixers and a brilliant soundsystem with real JBL speakers – not the Kampuchea Krom knockoffs!

    What do you see as your customer base? Expats, Khmers or transitory backpackers?

    I would say the first 2. I want to make clubbing in Phnom Penh as it is in any other country. I want people to make an effort to come to Code. I want people to plan to come here, get excited and bring that to the club.

    At the weekend I expect there to be 2 waves of movement. First, at say 11-1 the Khmer people will come in. Then there’s a transition period of 12.30-1.30, the Cambodian people start leaving and the Foreigners start coming in. It’s just a different culture. In the end, I anticipate a 50/50 mix

    In the past the 2 cultures, haven’t mixed together on the dancefloor – Khmers haven’t grown up with the music as we have. You go to a Khmer nightclub and its either local music or Chinese techno. Hopefully we can bring the 2 cultures together a bit.

    What’s your door policy and entrance fees?

    There will be more of a guide – we’re not going to be too strict. What we don’t want is girls in Angry Bird T-Shirts and guys in jasmine pants and Singha tops! It’s a guideline. For entrance, it depends on the night – we’ll be charging anything from $6 to $15 for bigger acts.

    What do you think of the current scene in Phnom Penh? In a recent AsiaLife article, you said Phnom Penh will have the biggest underground scene in SE Asia in 5 years

    I think it’s incredible – If you look at the scene in Bangkok or Malaysia, it’s terrible. We shit on the scene in those places. There’s a feeling here – you’ve got people like Phnom Penh Underground, Kimchi Collective, Dancin’ Mantis, all the reggae music crews, that re changing the scene here ridiculously fast.

    In the last 18 months things have progressed massively. I can see that Phnom Penh can be a focal point for music in SE Asia in the next 3-5 years – how Bangkok was 10 years ago.

    Doing business and setting up a venue in Cambodia – what have been your experiences?

    We’ve learnt a hell of a lot and made a lot of good contacts over the last 6 months – you’re always going to face Cambodia specific issues here and we’ve certainly made some mistakes over the last year – trying to open the original Code in a residential area with no parking was one of them, but its not been too bad. As regards corruption and bribes, we actually offered money but no-one would take it!

    Look out for some exclusive pictures of the new Code Red in the next couple of days

    Code Red opens on Thursday the 16th of January. More details here

    Some photos courtesy of Kampuchea Party Republic (https://www.facebook.com/kpr.nu)

  3. #3
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    I like Eddie, but IMO its a shit culture. I got to pontoon for the chicks, but instead of some dj who thinks he is groovin when the reality is only the ecstacy heads are feeling the same vibe, I would rather be in a rock venue or a venue with real people playing real music.
    IMG_0322bw.jpgIMG_0115.jpgIMG_0145.jpg
    Cambodia Space Project at Oscars the other night. Fun band to watch

    IMG_8251.jpgIMG_8223.jpg
    Bravo Band that plays Hillary on Soi 4 and Climax under the Ambassador. They get the crowd moving and have Metallica, Pink Floyd and new stuff in the mix.

  4. #4
    Senior Member dontpanic's Avatar
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    +1 on the live music, never understood the fascination with DJ's or the clubbing culture but each to their own.
    JimCA2 likes this.

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    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    I think any city with a cosmopolitan outlook wants a mix of music that appeals to a variety of different "tribes".....

    can't really agree with his dissing of the BKK club scene though....there is a wide variety of musical genres and venues available to BKK clubbers these days

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    IMG_0960.jpgIMG_0875.jpgIMG_0881.jpgIMG_0928.jpgIMG_0944.jpg

    Went to the opening. Full of the Hipster crowd. Eddie will bring in the international DJs and should do alright.

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    IMG_0982.jpgIMG_0984.jpgIMG_0984a.jpg

    Even better, this lot will be drawn away from pontoon.

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    Senior Member NeedHoliday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LivinLOS View Post
    This is going to be a hot venue to watch. Wish I was still spending time in PP.
    Went on Saturday (around 2am I think it was), and it was completely dead. Had a drink and then left for Pontoon which was packed.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    They just had Leroy from Prodigy on IIRC friday so probably burnout from that..

    Cuban Brothers any week now and I would dearly love to see them.. Real funny buggers.

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    Pontoon is in the zone. location location location and will always do well. Code Red has an up hill battle. there was also a W.I.L.D. underground party in the former riverside hotel at the north end of the riverfront on saturday as well. That took the disco ngo crowd. Marketed as WILD * blah blah lucid dreaming, but looking at the pics, Wankers In Lame Diversion.

    Meanwhile Oscar 51 in the zone just up from Walkabout is starting to get more live music and some pretty good bands. Hope it takes off. Again, real people playing real music.

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    Nakadia(who has well and truly taken off) is playing here tonight IIRC.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Bacon's Avatar
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    That's a great photo.
    JimCA2 likes this.
    ןooʇsɹɐq ʎɯ uo ʞɔɐq eɯ ʇnd esɐeןd sıɥʇ pɐeɹ uɐɔ noʎ ɟı

  14. #14
    Super Moderator LivinLOS's Avatar
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    https://www.facebook.com/events/1490552331175371/

    I expected Eddie to be getting the top name acts.. Stanton Warriors coming up !!

  15. #15
    Senior Member nelsonone's Avatar
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    ^ Stantons are playing ku de ta BKK this Saturday night as well....it did cross my mind but then the curfew would feck with that...and I am a lazy git these days

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