TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- This Saturday, Level Up Experiences will host their third anniversary commemoration with a soiree comprised of live music, cocktails, and a community of people who have worked together to redefine what a night in Taipei can look like: “Anything that we want.”
The celebration will take place this Saturday at Smexy in Taipei. It will begin at 7:30 pm and feature musical artists Brandon Thompson and Xiao Case band.
Founder, Daniel Black (30), from New York City, articulates his excitement of the upcoming festivity, “It’s going to be fun, it's just going to be an interesting level of collaboration with people that we’ve known for so long. It is a much more refined event; we’re getting dressed up”.
“This one is a good culmination of people that we’ve known and gotten to know along the way. It will be a celebration of the people that we’ve worked with before, showing up, giving props and showing love”.
Level Up Experiences was created three years ago to provide a different kind of experience for those looking for something beyond the usual EDM/house music club parties in Taipei. Black saw the lack of variety and wanted to create something different.
“Hip-Hop. That is a big driving point for Level Up. When I got here, about three-four years ago, there was Hip-Hop, but it was not like how it is now, where every other place has a Hip-Hop night”.
(Photo courtesy of Daniel Black)
Taiwan News had the opportunity to speak with Daniel Black, the founder, and discuss the impact of Level Up Experiences.
How would you describe the music scene here before you started Level Up?
Before, I was also exposed to the clubs a lot, and all of them had EDM [music]. The only one that did not was Chess, and they were very adamant [about that]. They would be the only place where you could get Hip-Hop for a minute. It was a lot of the driving point.
What was your first event?
It was my birthday (April 2015). I went to a dive bar called “My Place”. I went there a couple weeks before. I’m not asking you for money. I just want to play hip hop for this amount of time and I’m gonna invite some friends over.
I brought a friend with me who could speak Taiwanese and Mandarin. So, it was all set. They didn’t have space for a DJ. So one of my friends made a three-hour mix for my birthday.
When did it move from just let me see if this one event is going to work to it becoming a business?
I realized what it was really about when we had our first anniversary. I thought we would have maybe 50 people, then 200 people showed up. I walked around and realized we could do this.
Level Up Experiences team (L-R): Joseph Sung, Jonathan Miller, Daniel Black (Photo courtesy of Daniel Black)
Describe your partners. What do each of your partners bring to the table for Level Up Experiences?
We started as friends at first. Joseph Sung (Taiwanese) has a better business acumen. There’s a bit more practicality to how he sees the situation.
Jonathan Miller (American) processes the information differently that I get. John has an entirely differently background of carpentry and aesthetics. So, he sees things from an aesthetic point of view.
Both of those guys are way more introverted than I am; I like being out, I like just being around people. [I am a mix of them] on the spectrum, I could be one or the other, be at home and chill out or can be out.
What’s the purpose of your events?
It has gone from the push for Hip-Hop to building bridges and connecting in a way that is organic and chill. There are no preconceived notions, there’s no agenda, because they are, in most cases, in mutual spaces.
With the House Party events, where did the inspiration come from?
This one came from when a friend of mine asked us to do a house warming party for her. I remembered the house parties back in the US, when you bring your own stuff.
In college with my fraternity in Indiana, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., we would have house parties. That was my first start in coordinating stuff, seeing the extra idea of preparedness, like being on top of things, calling up, calling ahead making sure the DJ has all the cables.
(Photo courtesy of Daniel Black)
Level Up Experiences is known for their style, energy, and the community they build through their events. Over the last three years, it went from promoting Hip-Hop in Taipei to really just activating spaces in the city and hosting events for everyone who is looking for something beyond the club scene.
“We’re still rocking out. We’re still working in the way that we want to work. We’re still being independent and true to ourselves in that way.”
“We’re not attached to any one place. The fluidity of what we do is our strength; we can be in any part of the city that we want to be in.”
To learn more this weekend’s anniversary event and others, go to Level Up Experiences Facebook page.