Goth—the dark and morbid subculture that’s synonymous with music from the likes of Depeche Mode, The Cure and Nine Inch Nails—has never had a very vocal presence in Singapore. Mark Koh, marketing manager from Gas Haus, however, decided to change that recently when he launched Heart of Darkness (HOD), the first ever night dedicated purely to the Goth/fetish/alternative subculture.
“The Gothic subculture has always been close to my heart,” says Koh. “I get nostalgic every time I recall the experiences I had, particularly those abroad when I was part of the Perth Order of Gothic Societies and Submerge, both non-profit gothic community bodies. I got to see Marilyn Manson, Covenant, KMFDM and even the Prodigy live! The atmosphere of these concerts was so dark and romantic. My wish is to see this vibrancy emerge in Singapore as a cultural movement. Moreover, no one has attempted to do a dedicated Gothic night, so if I, with all my opportunities, don’t do it, I believe no one will.”
Debuting earlier this month, HOD features a mix of DJ sets and live bands. While acts like Absence of the Sacred rock the crowd with metal, Koh himself, Singaporean icon X’Ho (under the guise of DJ Mentor) and Australian DJ Saito Nagasaki work the decks, providing an even more eclectic mix and bringing in other genres synonymous with the subculture like ’80s synthpop, industrial, hardcore and EBM.
With all these nasty sounding labels, of course, the next question would be the sort of crowd HOD attracts. While, yes, there are the metal heads and the punks, there’ve actually been tons more “normal” people than devoted Goths showing up, offering a nice blend.
“We have had more of the curious than the actual scenesters,” says Koh. “I do know for sure that the fetish community had representatives, but they don’t wear their gear in public. Funnily enough, more than half of them have given me business cards hailing from major banks! I’ll never look at a trader the same way again.”
With a one-for-one on Jack Daniels and beers during Happy Hour (8-10:15pm), some great music and, most importantly, an interesting crowd, Goth may be the dark and gloomy subculture, but that’s not going to stop HOD from being one hell of a party.