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Introducing Timo Lee - this weeks Musical Host

We're happy to introduce Timo Lee as this week's musical host. Timo is based in Brooklyn NY, DJ and radio host from Honolulu and Taipei.

Former resident of DJ Harvey's thirtyninehotel in Hawaii. Timo now brings the sunshine disco vibes to NYC, and her forthcoming record label Chomp! Chomp! in 2020 - who's music is already infused in this weeks mix...
Introducing Timo Lee - this weeks Musical Host

by Herb Essntls

A year ago


Introducing Timo Lee - this weeks Musical Host

We're happy to introduce Timo Lee as this week's musical host. Timo is based in Brooklyn NY, DJ and radio host from Honolulu and Taipei.

Former resident of DJ Harvey's thirtyninehotel in Hawaii. Timo now brings the sunshine disco vibes to NYC, and her forthcoming record label Chomp! Chomp! in 2020 - who's music is already infused in this weeks mix...

by Herb Essntls

A year ago

Introducing Timo Lee - this weeks Musical Host

Photography by Chris Kays.

We're happy to introduce Timo Lee as this week's musical host. Timo is based in Brooklyn NY, DJ and radio host from Honolulu and Taipei.

Former resident of DJ Harvey's thirtyninehotel in Hawaii. Timo now brings the sunshine disco vibes to NYC, and her forthcoming record label Chomp! Chomp! in 2020 - who's music is already infused in this weeks mix...

Thank you so much for being our host this week! We ask our musical guests to set the mood for our beloved city. What mood did you try to set with your curation? 

Hi! Thank you for having me :) My mood for this mix is the sunset/sunrise vibes, NYC is one of the best places for parties, those trippy sky times are always my favorites of the day, also after a long night of partying, sometimes you still want to keep it going! So my curation starts mellow, progresses to a bit more upbeat and feels good trippy vibes, so it’s a lil musical journey for y’all! 

You were born in Honolulu, but grew up in Taipei. How did each of these cities influence your musical interests? 

Yayy Honolulu and Taipei are both my second homes beside NYC. Growing up in Asia and my mom was formerly a radio host and artist, I’ve always surrounded myself with music. My childhood in Taipei was exposed to a lot of Chinese pop and as I was growing up there, my friend Soma showed me a lot more of electronica, jazz, disco which expanded my musical taste. 

Then I moved to Hawaii when I was in High School, I got into electronica a lot more, and started going to underground raves, and my party life pretty much began there.

Dance music scene in Hawaii has been through different eras from when I was there since 2000. It’s been great to be involved for the past decades and see how it evolved. Now there is still a nice scene there with a new generation of DJs who are passionate in house, disco and techno. The scene is more diverse now, and a lot more young people are into the music I’m into, which is awesome!

 I always have a lot of fun playing at Asylum Afterhours, Bevy, parties like Soulgasm, Paradisco, Centered and many other events when I go back to Honolulu, I’m very fortunate to have a solid crew there as well as here in NYC.

On RA we read that you were “very involved in shaping the local dance scene in Hawaii for the past decade.” How did you go about it? 

Hawaii is a special place for me, and definitely helped me shape into the DJ I am today. I’ve started to do a weekly radio show on KTUH in 2007 and stumble into opportunities at local nightclub Next Door and doing PR and promotions. After I met my best friend Mark Chittom who I’m starting the label Chomp! Chomp! with here in NYC. He brought me into thirtyninehotel, where I started my residency there and other nightclubs for the past decade in Honolulu. 

The scene is smaller in Honolulu, like-minded people for the style of music I like is also niche. Our group of friends at thirtyninehotel started to throw monthly parties, and brought out DJs such as Bonobo, James Murphy, Tim Sweeney, Thomas Bullock, Eric Duncan, Daniele Baldelli, Tiger and Woods, Justin V and more, and a lot of them are from NYC.

Those were great opportunities to open up for some amazing acts in Honolulu, and I had a lot of local support from different venues and friends in the scene to bring some talents to the island.

You held a residency at Thirtyninehotel, created by DJ Harvy and artist Gelareh Khoie, and hosted at their First Fridays. What did you learn or realize at this scene?

Yes thirtyninehotel was where it all began. It was a very special place on Hotel street in the middle of Chinatown, it was an art gallery/nightclub which was owned by Gelareh Khoie, and DJ Harvey was also involved for many years. We would have different artists featured on first Fridays which is the monthly artwalk in Honolulu, people will check out the galleries and after the whole block turn into a big party.

 Thirtyninehotel was in the middle of the action. Mark, Farley and I will always be the resident DJs for that for years. When I met Mark Chittom and got offered a position for promotions manager and resident DJ. I committed myself into this venue for 6 years until it closed. This is also where I learned about The Loft in 2007, thirtyninehotel has the original Klipschorns from David Mancuso’s Loft which was courtesy of Wayne Elliot. 

I was fascinated about the Loft and its history, also the music that was played at thirtyninehotel just opened my mind to another dimension which was one of  the best things I ever experienced. I learned how to work in a nightclub on promotions, bookings and productions, and did some fun parties there and had many memorable nights/mornings, which I know many others would say the same :) Good times~

In the past you’ve hosted radio shows “Afternoon Delight,” Starship 109. And you’ve DJ-ed at the Lot Radio. What makes Radio special to you? 

As I mentioned earlier, my mom was a radio host in Taipei for awhile, so when I was young, I’ll always make my own mixtapes and have fun introducing the tracks in between. I love the radio! Sharing music makes me happy, and when I hear something I like on the radio or a mix always makes my day. I had my weekly three-hour show from 2007-2015 on KTUH and that had taught me a lot on song selections and mood settings. The Lot Radio is also amazing, and whenever I’m in NYC, I’ve always like to pick up a show here and there to share some music with y’all. 

The cool part of KTUH is you can discover new music every week at the station, and we have a great vinyl vault with thousands of records. And you can show up with your sweatpants and just close the door and have “me time” hehe! Radio is a lot of fun, definitely a bit different than playing at parties. My main goal as a DJ at parties is to make people dance, have a great time, play the music I love as well, also for the venue, to have some good responses at the bar too :) 

For radio, I got to curate the playlist on my mood and/or the time of the day when it’s being aired, and sometimes can be a tribute to an artist I like or just what I feel suitable for that day. I love being live on the radio, I normally don’t prepare my setlist tracks byb tracks, just do it spontaneously, I find it fun to be live as for radio and parties. Soundcloud and other platforms are great sources to find something new or put on a great mix of our choices. I use them everyday! But the live actions and interactions with listeners on the radio are def the magic of it. 

Like a true New Yorker, you are also a foodie, and own neighboring restaurants Bevy and Taco ‘ako in Honolulu. How did this side passion transpire?

Haha yes! I’m def very adventurous on food and appreciate different types of cuisines. Another reason I love NYC!

After thirtyninehotel, my business partner Christian Self, Phil Manzanero and I open Bevy together in Kaka’ako in 2013. It’s a cocktail bar/restaurant with music, art and food. I always wanted to open a bar/nightclub, and Bevy is something me and my partners came up with in Honolulu that has all the elements we love. We had DJ’s on the weekend before the pandemic and live bands sometimes, the business expanded as our kitchen grew. Taco’ako is our lunch spot for the neighborhood, serves delicious tacos and other Mexican flares. Both are fun projects, and always keep me very busy when I go back to Honolulu. 

Bevy supports local DJs. What was the weekend scene like before quarantine, and how have you kept this community connected since quarantining? What does New York need more of when we can start dancing again?

Yes we had DJ’s every weekend before the pandemic. Locals and sometimes guest DJ’s, and most of our guest DJ’s are from NYC! The most recent one was Juan MacLean for Halloween last year, which was amazing! It’s a fun scene, we have a good size dance floor at night, with all the disco lights and actions. I did the bookings for entertainment at Bevy, and we have DJs with their monthly parties which attract a lot of locals who are into dance music. We had a couple of livestreams since quarantine, and plan to do more in the upcoming future. Hawaii opened up for dine-in already and looks like will be reopening sooner than other places. 

The future is uncertain, but all we can do is to keep our heads up high and have hopes for the mankind's one day at the time. NYC is always my spot for dancing and another reason for me to be here is the vibrant and diverse scenes, we need more underground parties and just always more dancing please! 

Chomp! Chomp! is the name of your record label, said to launch this year. Give us a sneak peek into what we can anticipate? 

Chomp! Chomp! Will be released this month. The digital and vinyl will be open for pre-order July 15 on bandcamp - 

This much anticipated project was planned for a couple of years now, so I’m very excited for this. The first EP is from Eric from America and Mark Chittom, there will be 4 original tracks, mixed by Justin V and Kenji Shimoda, mastered by Rick Essig. The EP starts off strong with two tracks by Eric from America solo production "At the Met Gala" & "For the Crowd" on one side and on the flip side "An Hour a Day with You", blending acid house and techno with an obscure left field vocal by Chittom, which is in this mix for Herb :) The remix is a dubby techno slow-burner that will work in a variety of club settings. 

This record will be dedicated to our beloved friend Mike McCurdy who passed away last month, he was always our biggest supporter, we really miss you Mike. 

You moved to New York to DJ and produce music. How has the City influenced this passion? 

I fell in love with the city in 2008 when I first visited, and I kept coming back every year. I met a lot of friends in the music scene from NYC since I started to work at thirtyninehotel, and there was a big migration of Hawaii friends here after the club closed. The one big reason for me to move here was my first experience going to the Loft in 2010, I bought my ticket from Honolulu here just for it. 

The Loft changed my life as a DJ and human being since then. I remember I was crying and laughing when I first heard all these loft classics played by Douglas Sherman on the Klipschorn systems, I knew at that moment I had to move to NYC to further my passion and music career. 

NYC is where it all started, and I want to be around like-minded people and inspire me everyday to become a better DJ and producer in the future. Now it’s my 6th year in NYC, the diversity and characters of the city are still what I fell in love with, and the energy and people around me always bring me back up even when I’m down. LSD forever! 

You released a Solitude Series mix for the Good Room. How do you keep zen during this time, what do you miss most about life as it used to be?

Good Room is def my home base and one of fav venues in NYC, I help with productions and promotions sometimes, also at the new listening bar Good Bar in Greenpoint. Playing music and making mixes definitely kept me sane, also meditation everyday, taking some online classes on Ableton and guitar, just simply checking in and chatting with my friends and family to make sure we’re all ok. 

Go on walks and explore some new outdoor spots in the hood, social distance hang with my quaranteam girls! I also do some discogs work at Captured Tracks Shop, being around records always keep me zen to a certain degree, haha. I miss seeing my friends, dancing, listening to music and going to parties. I miss going to bars, restaurants and museums, and also can’t wait to travel again.. 
Aloha and hope y’all enjoy the mix!



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