I went for a techno club night out in Taipei, to the club Korner (the Wall). No, I’m not using “techno” in the context of Top 40 EDM like Zedd & Martin Garrix. I’m talking about actual underground dance music. Yes, Taipei techno DOES exist!
I grew up in Taiwan listening to Taiwanese pop music and American pop artists like Britney Spears. After I left home at age 18, I slowly grew a deep appreciation for underground dance music. During my tenure in Europe, I stomped all over techno clubs in Berlin and Amsterdam, best cities in the world for the scene. Knowing the Taiwan I grew up in, I couldn’t fathom Taiwan having a techno scene.
In a country like Taiwan, locals’ preferred nightlife activity is visiting karaoke lounges. Clubbing is limited to Top-40 & Mainstream EDM clubs like Elektro, Myst, and Room 18, and even that is an activity that attracts mostly American-born Taiwanese kids and expats. I believed that there wasn’t even a techno club in Taipei.
That’s why when my friend YR, advised me of the Taipei techno club Korner, I was keen to check it out but skeptical at the same time. I didn’t dare go in with high expectations… what would it be like and what kind of people would be there?!
According to Korner’s Facebook page, it’s a “hidden club for open mind people”. They also periodically host men-only or women-only parties called “Adult Game Club”… based on the erotic event posters, I can only imagine they are “adult-level” parties. Definitely quite open-minded, even for Western standards! Just to be clear, I went to Korner on a regular co-ed, techno night.
Visiting Taipei’s only techno club was an unexpected and eye-opening experience for me. YR and I went on a rainy, cold Saturday night in January. Korner is in a basement inside of a commercial building in the Gong Guan area, away from the typical Xin-Yi nightlife area of Taipei. The entrance fee was $650NT (around $20 USD), which included one drink.
First impressions of the club surprised me. It definitely had a Berlin-esque vibe – grungy, no frills, industrial, and full of smoke. If it weren’t for all the Asian faces in the crowd, I would have thought I was in Europe again! That said, Korner also had the highest concentration of non-Asian faces I’ve ever seen in Taiwan (Taiwan is one of the least touristy countries in East Asia).
In terms of music, Abdulla Rashim (Sweden) and Diskonnected (Taiwan) were spinning heavy techno all night long. You seldom find this kind of music in Asia.
No bottle service in this club, and no one was taking selfies!
Now, the crowd was a very interesting mix of characters. They roughly split in the camps of alternative Taiwanese techno kids, geeky looking Taiwanese kids, foreigners (likely English teachers or exchange students), and Taiwanese girls who love foreigners.
Some people I observed:
- The omnipresent white guys dancing with Taiwanese girls
- Europeans loving the techno
- Geeky looking skinny Taiwanese guys with t-shirt and glasses swaying to the music
- Edgy looking Taiwanese girls just dancing and losing themselves to the music
- Super drunk Taiwanese girl with a rising mini skirt (it was one of the coldest days ever in Taipei) chasing a poor Taiwanese guy around and grinding on him. He clearly did not want the attention and snuck away when the girl wasn’t looking.
- Three people carried out of the club throughout the night due to being drunk. Typical Taipei…
It’s always pretty interesting for me to observe people’s behavior clubbing in Europe vs. elsewhere. In Europe, people all dance a certain way and interact a certain way since techno is very much part of their culture and DNA. However, in Taipei the scene is very nascent underground. Due to that, people arrive at techno clubs without preconceived notions of how to act so you get a medley of all sorts of people. You don’t see your homogenous Berlin-style black-uniform-donning Berghain techno kids in Korner. Here, everything goes and I love that.
One complaint I do have was the setup the club. The main room was long and narrow, and the back of the club didn’t have a good sound system. So, it was hard to squeeze to the front of the venue even though the club wasn’t packed, and in the back you can’t hear the sound that crisply.
There’s also a seating area that was kind of in a metallic cage, so that was kind of cool, giving off an industrial vibe. Apart from the main dance floor there’s another tiny room tucked away with a DJ spinning, but I didn’t spend much time there.
Techno clubbing in Taipei was awesome! I’d totally go back. I went with low expectations and ended up positively surprised. I’m noticing this as a trend for my partying experiences in Taiwan! Is Taiwan the next hotspot for electronic music in Asia? If you’re into techno, check out Korner on your next trip to Taiwan. It’ll give you a very interesting perspective on Taiwan’s techno microcosmos. Oh, and you’ll be in for some great music and a fun night too!