DJ Magazine’s annual Top 100 Clubs poll has seen names like Pacha, Green Valley, Space, the Marquee, and Ministry of Sound make the top of the list year after year; and fans expect that places like Las Vegas, Ibiza, and London (where a majority of these clubs are located) are the go-to destinations for outstanding electronic dance music. While that is true, an emerging scene in the middle of the Pacific has been making waves for some time. Underneath the picturesque palm trees, sunsets, and sandy beaches of Hawaii lies a quaint and quirky venue that’s putting the aptly nicknamed 808 state on the map. (For those of you who don’t know, 808 is Hawaii’s area code.)
A strictly underground club, ASYLUM AFTERHOURS has consistently been ranked in DJ Magazine’s Top 100 Clubs for several years. With a friendly atmosphere and a dedicated crowd, they play the best in electronic music from midnight to the break of dawn. We recently caught up with founders WILLIS HALTOM and Darren Zane as they also talk about the launch of the club’s new label, ASYLUM CONFIDENTIAL.
Asylum Afterhours began as an exclusive club to Hawaii's electronic music scene; when did you guys start it and how has it been for you since?
We started in 2008 and so far we've been able to bring to Honolulu something special musically. Being able to play with people you look up to on a weekly basis has been an amazing experience. We feel blessed to bring good house and techno to Hawaii.
You've made the DJ Mag Top 100 Clubs poll for a good number of years straight. How have you maintained that momentum?
We kept improving the club and bringing in quality talent throughout the years that keep people dancing all night long. We try to set ourselves apart from other places by concentrating on the experience at Asylum.
With the electronic music scene growing in Hawaii as well as around the world, do you see Asylum Afterhours expanding its name?
With the right opportunity, definitely we've been throwing parties in different places the last few years and we'll be continuing to branch out of Hawaii.
When did you launch the Asylum Confidential record label?
The record label actually started last August with our first EP. Our third EP is coming out on April 9th.
With this venture into a label, what genres will you be supporting, and will it be a platform for local Hawaii talent?
Our label is a home for the residents of Asylum and friends of ours who've come and played at the club over the years to release music. We will be releasing music that suits the dance floor whether it be house, tech house, techno, etc. We don’t let a genre define us.
Are there any names that you can mention have been or will be signed?
Our next EP is with Dozeguise, which is Darren Zane and Chris Chartier. We also have some artists from Switzerland called DRAGON SUPLEX who are doing an EP with us. They are residents from Hive Club in Zurich.
How far do you wish to expand the Asylum Afterhours brand?
Shooting for the stars..... We see our friends doing big things and we’re hoping to follow in their footsteps.
Hawaii has had amazing musical talent in all genres, from EDM, to rock, to reggae and beyond. Do you see a possible collaboration with the other scenes?
We love collaborating with all types of musicians, but i don’t know if they can stay up as late as us.
Hawaii's music industry hasn't officially recognized an electronic dance category in the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards (Hawaiian Grammys). Do you wish to change that and how?
We'd love to be recognized more in Hawaii for our music but the ultimate goal is to have the world listening, which it has been with our first two releases.
Is there anything you would like to tell all your supporters?
Thank you for staying up late with us every weekend and don’t forget - you can watch us online at www.asylumafterhours.com where we stream every Friday and Saturday night.