Unknown Pleasures

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May 30

Anderson Muth meets the founders of Unknown Pleasures, a new event dedicated to promoting less established talent in the city’s club scene

Sitting down with Bruno Trigo Gonçalves and Claire Lansing, their youthful enthusiasm is instantly apparent. The dynamic duo behind the upcoming Unknown Pleasures Rooftop Session #1 aim to create an eclectic yet intimate monthly rooftop gathering – which means the massive online response from over 1,000 people has definitely taken them by surprise. As Gonçalves says, with a laugh, ‘it was supposed to be such a small thing!’

Through a collaboration with new event app Pelago (available on both iPhone and Android) and Red Stripe beer, the plan is simple. A limited number of tickets can be reserved prior to the May 30 event, with the first 50 people getting inside for free and the next 100 paying just $50. Attendance maxes out at 150; after that, no-one gets in. If party-goers also download the Pelago mobile app they will receive some free beers – otherwise the event is BYOB. The small scale, despite the hype, is key, since ‘if it’s super crowded it doesn’t make sense to be there’, believes Lansing.  

Gonçalves, who has experience running drum ‘n’ bass parties in Portugal, and Lansing, who is new to event promotion, both came to Hong Kong on a gap year from university and met while continuing their studies at the International Academy of Film and Television in Wan Chai. They’ve found Hong Kong an enjoyable and creative place to spend a year. In a sense, Unknown Pleasures is the culmination of their time here. Lansing explains that after visiting plenty of parties and events, they ‘wanted to have a [musical] variety for the night – better for different kinds of people’, which entails hip-hop, downtempo, electronic and other assorted grooves.

While there’s an air of mystery about the event, from the minimalist artwork to the as-yet-unannounced full lineup, it all came together naturally during an evening of brainstorming on a rooftop several months ago. That initial germ of an idea led them to the space they are using in Sheung Wan (the exact location of which has yet to be revealed) and then the twosome headed out to local parties to network and decide upon a lineup. 

Announced performers include, so far, MC partnership Kemikal Kris & Wesley Jamison, DJs LëKSs and Three – which is Gonçalves’ own alter-ego – plus visuals from ▶▶△. No recognisable names there? That’s exactly the point. Gonçalves emphasises their desire ‘to find new artists’, before Lansing finishes his sentence by adding ‘and new kinds of music’. Gonçalves elaborates that they ‘want to show people good music… just because no-one knows them doesn’t mean a wider audience shouldn’t hear them’. And in case the evening’s classified rooftop enjoyments aren’t quite enough, there’s also an official after-party planned at nearby Premium Sofa Club on Wing Lok Street.

Future nights are already in the works, and though both Gonçalves and Lansing depart Hong Kong in September, they already have a team in place to continue the series in their absence. By that time, given the instant interest in these nights, it’s safe to assume these rooftop sessions won’t be quite so unknown.

Unknown Pleasures Exact location TBA, Sheung Wan, Sat May 30, 10pm-late. Free entry for the first 50 guests, $50 for the next 100 guests.


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