The sprawling city, one of the world's most densely populated areas, is home to some venues that support ambient and experimental acts, but there's no formal establishment for DJs to play house, techno or bass music. "If you want to hear that, you have to plan your own event," said Taiara Farhana Tareque, a gallerist, writer and artist who runs a creative space called Studio 6/6 out of her family home. One exception is psytrance, a genre that originated in Goa during the 1990s and continues to thrive in Bangladesh through the outdoor festival Psymongol. For other 4/4 styles, organisers in Dhaka hold ticketed, invite-only nights wherever they can—residential homes, art spaces, restaurants and hotels.
One of them is Farmhaus, a collective focused on deep tech and progressive strains. Launched in 2017, the Farmhaus name, explained cofounder Tonmoy Dg, comes from its first location: a friend's farmhouse on the outskirts of the city. Their parties have gone until sunrise with crowds capped at 200 people. Farmhaus also rents out commercial venues when possible—in February, before the pandemic hit, they brought in Sebastien Leger to play at a private recreation facility. "Organizing is generally a huge challenge as we don't have proper infrastructure," said Tonmoy Dg.
Studio 6/6, meanwhile, started hosting dance nights earlier this year in collaboration with karkhana, a crew of DJs, sound artists and audiophiles. The studio's narrow hallway, usually reserved for art exhibitions and workshops, offers a more intimate experience with the number of attendees kept below 100. "We never want to emulate Berghain," said মm., a DJ, community organiser and founding member of karkhana. "We want to explore techno the way it's evolved in different geographies, whether it's Tzusing or Deena Abdelwahed." They said many people who had never heard techno before showed up to the last gig in March.