City scope: decks and the single girl
Jason Gagliardi in Bangkok
The biggest DJs don't always live up to their names. Fatboy Slim is neither fat nor particularly slim. Meat Katie is a bloke who prefers broccoli to beef. Pale, weedy Moby is hardly leviathan. And Hong Kong's prodigal DJ daughter and rising global star Janette Slack is anything but.
Slack is a force of nature in corsets; a genuine steel-wheel diva and anti-slacker with killer looks and the skills to back them up. She has become the avatar of Torture Garden, London's premier fetish club, which calls the Ministry of Sound home.
Part Eurasian sex bomb, part self-promoting juggernaut and part Energizer bunny, she has barely paused for breath since leaving Hong Kong and a well-paid teaching job for London on a make-or-break mission to achieve international DJ fame. And now she's on her way back for a triumphal Asian homecoming, with the Bangkok cognoscenti awaiting her return as eagerly as those of Hong Kong. Gigs in the two cities will mark the launch of her first album, Torture Garden Session.
Slack's sonic boom-boom has substance. No DJ bimbo eruption, she is a professional sound engineer who writes and produces her own tracks, which she describes as "a blend of rock riffs and fills, funk, progressive melodies, sexy vocals and cinematic soundscapes with a relentless, catchy bass and thick, grooving drums".
She's won London's prestigious Denon DJousts competition and Europe's 2010 Pink Armada female DJ battle, all the while expressing a taste for fetish regalia.
"Even before I got into DJing, I always enjoyed any excuse to dress a bit differently to the herd," says Slack. "Not in a rebellious way; I just saw stuff I liked and got inspired by characters I saw in movies or in real life. So, when I discovered that a bindi looks good with jeans and a tank top [inspired by Gwen Stefani] I did just that."
Of her upcoming gigs, Slack says she loves playing in Bangkok but Hong Kong's kinetic 24-hour club scene will always be home.
"When I had a chance to explore Bangkok for a month as a DJ a couple of years ago, it didn't take much time at all to settle in. It really reminded me of the vibe in Hong Kong, where people are out every night and there's always something to do.
"Bangkok is bigger and can afford to have standalone clubs like Bed Supperclub and Q Bar, and the multiroom palaces of Royal City Avenue. But both cities are equally vibrant and both have clubbers who demand and appreciate underground music."
Slack's Asian double feature opens at Club Fly, on Ice House Street, on December 22, and then moves to Bangkok, with gigs to be confirmed at "one or two clubbing institutions". Then she will travel the world, locking in her global dominatrix status.