The 65th episode of Peace Portal marks 5 years of broadcast underground dance music from the Pacific Northwest, West Coast, and beyond with one of our own gone abroad, featured guest Klaytron.
Klaytron, aka Clayton Kelly, currently resides in Hanoi, and is found consistently behind the decks alongside the Milk Carton Kids. Recently, Kelley has been stateside though, and took the time to play out at a recent, intimate Inquiry Collective gathering, and as well as a Marble LA party.
Thank you all, listeners and selectors, for 5 years of stepping through the Portal.
Tell us about your experiences in Hanoi and with Milk Carton Kids.
I moved to Hanoi, Vietnam in March of 2019 with a couple friends from California. One of those friends, Travis Cohantz, was just starting to do the deep-dive into 3D animation when we blasted off. I was telling him from the get-go that we would eventually be throwing our own parties in Vietnam, that I would handle the music curation and that he would be in charge of all the visual art, a 50-50 split. After doing the rounds on the scene for a few months we finally selected a venue and a crew of movers and doers to work with us. Our first large-scale event was based on the theme “Space Milk” which was a callback to my gang of Santa Barbara party people. That Space Milk event was really successful, blew a lot of people’s minds, and sort of put us on the map in Vietnam as a force to be reckoned with. We went on to do a few more Milk themed events, including a take-over at Hanoi’s most internationally-notable club, Savage. From there we sort of fell in with the extended family of Savage & it really opened up the underground scene to us. Travis & I eventually decided to move down to Saigon after becoming inspired by what was going on down at The Observatory, the other internationally-notable club in the Southern culture hub of the country. We will both return to Saigon in a couple of months to pick up where we left off. If you want to check out Travis’s animation work you can find him in the usual places listed as Diego Lazy.
I'm sure bring some of that back home to the states, especially as the pressure from the pandemic has eased. How were your outings at the Inquiry Collective gathering, and Marble in LA?
It’s been really fun being back in California post pandemic closures. The underground scene seems to have grown a good deal in recent years which is great to see. The Inquiry desert party was super fun all around, a wide variety of tunes & genres, playa bike riding, catching up with old friends etc. These last 2 weeks have been pretty mental, DJing / helping to organize some parties in LA with the Marble brand. We did a warehouse event with Steve Huerta, a good Berlin friend of mine, as the headliner, followed by a 12 hour after party in a Koreatown Bistro. The whole thing was sick, but the K-town afters was such a success that we decided to ride the momentum into the following weekend, hosting another Berlin friend, Youandewan, to play for us. I think we came to the conclusion that house music just sounds better outside & in the daytime, so we decided to focus on that part this most recent weekend.
What is nightlife in Vietnam like compared to the US?
I would say the easiest way to describe the nightlife in Vietnam is simply that it is still in its infancy. It’s still a very young scene, which means there is a ton of room to get involved and have an influence on how it evolves. I call it the wild wild East. Vietnamese ravers don’t have the deep history of dance culture that someone in the States or Europe has, and so everything feels very new and exciting to them, and it also means that they are extremely open-minded when it comes to the way they enjoy & interact with those experiences.
Tell us about your mix.
I made this mix in my flat in Saigon, just messing around, having fun with it. Several of these tracks have made their way into the sets that I played at those recent parties in the US I was describing. One of Steve Huerta’s new Leizure tracks is in there, as well as a few that were produced by friends the Vietnam underground scene. Towards the end of the mix you’ll hear one of the Doner Beats releases from Hanoi, and the very last tune is one of Steffen Sonnenschein’s productions, who is a great DJ and one of the people to know if you even end up partying in Saigon. As with most of my mixes, it starts out slow with a sample from the film Waking Life, and progresses into a much more intense mood by the end of the hour. Hope you enjoy!
Image by Steve Mo Photography