RA heads to a Seoul nightclub at the centre of a buzzing scene.
In 2016, RA's In Residence series is celebrating club culture by throwing a month of parties at 12 of the world's best clubs. Clubs are the beating heart of dance music, and these are the venues that keep their local scenes thriving. Week-in, week-out, they open their doors to play the music we love.
As we settle in for a month at each of the clubs, we'll be running features that, through a combination of different media, aim to provide lasting documents of these iconic spaces.
We're heading to Mystik in Seoul for November. In a series that's visited some of the best-known dance floors in the world—Concrete, Robert Johnson, smartbar—Mystik may seem like an unusual choice for In Residence. But over the past five years, the club has been at the centre of Seoul's quietly blossoming scene. With its considered international bookings, increasingly impressive roster of residents and great soundsystem, Mystik is now one of Asia's best nightclubs.
Nov 3 RA In Residence, Mystik, Seoul feat. Dixon, DJ Moritz, Oviduct
Nov 12 RA In Residence, Mystik, Seoul feat. Moritz von Oswald, Suna, Seongsoo
Nov 19 RA In Residence, Mystik, Seoul feat. Wata Igarashi (live), Diskonnected, Unjin, Modus Tollens
Nov 25 RA In Residence, Mystik, Seoul feat. Binh, Antwork, Magico
- 01Address37 Itaewon-ro 27 ga-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, South Korea
- 02Club opened2011
- 05Resident DJsMagico, Antwork, Moritz, Oviduct, Seongsoo, Cy Nico, Alexa, Aain, Beathlon, Sin, Nukid, Oslon, Oliver Hafenbauer, Oskar Offermann, Romi Behl, DJ Masda
- 06Music policyAll about electronic music
"There are many different reasons to go to a nightclub," says DJ Oviduct, one of Mystik's resident DJs. "But if you're guaranteed a good soundsystem with good music, all of the other reasons are secondary."
This ideal has been a driving force behind Mystik since day one. It's a small club—the floor space is roughly 125 square metres—with Funktion-One speakers (RES4 tops and an F218 sub). "There are two reasons that we chose Funktion-One," explains Steven Kwak. "First, the bass is solid, and second, no matter how long you stay in the club, the music won't hurt your ears." He adds: "Our soundsystem goes well with the space itself. It has the ability to embrace many genres of electronic music—not just house and techno—as well as the flow of each DJ set. It all goes together organically."
When it opened, Mystik developed a reputation for its soundsystem. But when the club was recently renovated, Kwak and co. took the opportunity to make changes. "We tore down all the sound-absorbing materials and made the walls exposed concrete," Kwak says. The changes made a big difference. "Before the renovation, Mystik was neatly covered from low to high frequencies, kind of like a comfy studio," he says. "Now our sound is more techno-centred—we wanted it a bit rougher." It was a risk, but it's a move that Kwak feels has paid off. "Of course we understand there are pros and cons. Some people miss the old sound—the comfortable, warm feeling evenly distributed to every corner of the club. But there's something wonderfully raw, almost primal, about the sound in Mystik now."
Mystik is a haven for deep, minimal strands of house and techno. These mixes come from residents who specialise in that style: Magico and Antwork. Magico's mix was a home-recorded affair—"I threw myself into my records and digital tracks with a fresh and careful vision," he says—while Antwork's hour-long set was captured live at a recent edition of the monthly Voice party.
"I'm grateful to share this mix with music lovers all around the world," Magico adds. "And especially with my friends and those at Mystik who have never stopped being supportive."