First all-Asian DJs label in US aims to empower Asian EDM artists

First all-Asian DJs label in US aims to empower Asian EDM artistsFirst all-Asian DJs label in US aims to empower Asian EDM artists
via Tim Pacynski
When Taiwanese American DJ Elephante first began his career 10 years ago, he felt isolated and had a profound sense of impostor syndrome due to the lack of Asian role models in the industry. 
Elephante, whose real name is Tim Heng Wu, struggled with self-doubt ​​as he lacked mentors and a sense of belonging in the community of EDM artists. The absence of support and guidance eventually led him to many dead ends, which soon taught him through trial and error how to create his own space in the electronic music scene.
“For years, I felt very uncomfortable with my Asianness. I didn’t want to be known as an Asian DJ,” Elephante tells NextShark. “Now that I’ve made it to the other side, I want to do everything I can so that young artists never have to feel like I did. I want to create the community that I wish I had when I was coming up. I want rising artists to feel supported and have the internal belief that they too can make it.”
This year, Elephante partnered with two of his longtime friends: Thai producer Sabai, whose real name is Gene Takviriyanan, and EDMTunes Chief Editor Michael Tam, who also oversees Asian music at Sirius XM and Pandora. Together, they founded Hidden Horizon, the first all-Asian DJs creative collective and label in America
Sabai, Elephante, Michael Tam. Image via Michael Tam
The idea for the label originated around the time of heightened anti-Asian sentiment during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. As people were isolated in their homes, Tam created an online music festival called JadeTopia to showcase Asian talent and build a sense of pride and community among Asians worldwide. The success of the event, which garnered over 500,000 viewers globally and raised $10,000 for COVID relief, initially inspired the creation of the creative collective project. 
Additionally, Elephante’s Heavy Glow North American tour in 2022, where he featured several Asian artists, further solidified the idea of providing opportunities for Asian DJs to perform and tour. This experience further led to the realization that Hidden Horizon could offer a platform for more Asian artists to enter the music industry and pursue careers as touring artists.
One of the artists who joined Elephante on stage was Sabai, who grew up in Thailand and immigrated to Canada at the age of 16. Although he struggled with the language barrier, he soon found solace in EDM shows. He was particularly inspired by Elephante, who he says was the only Asian DJ that he could relate to and look up to.
“It was hard to be taken seriously when I voiced my opinions because I couldn’t really articulate what I wanted to say,” Sabai shares. “Because of my lack of English proficiency, I used to think that becoming an artist would be impossible. However, as I look back on my journey, I can see that these challenges were actually opportunities in disguise for me to discover and develop my own identity as an artist.”
via Aquach Media
On March 20, Tam, Elephante and Sabai held a label launch party in Florida during Miami Music Week. Tam sees the musical event as the start of the fiscal year for dance music and wanted to test the concept of an all-Asian event there. Their line-up featured top talents from around the world, like Hoang and DJ Mandy, and also gave lesser-known artists, such as Ana V and Dreamdriver, a chance to shine. 
The Hidden Horizon launch drew around 500 attendees despite the challenging landscape of competing with over 20 different parties that were taking place all at once. To Tam, the turnout was not only successful, but it proved the need to provide a platform for Asian artists in the American EDM market.
“EDM has become such a huge component of the Asian community,” Tam says. “A lot of the percentage of people attending raves and going to music festivals are Asians. However, the representation on the stage is usually rather small. We want to be able to give a platform for more Asian artists to be on that stage because there’s so many Asians in the crowd.”
via Aquach Media
Hidden Horizon aims to build a community where experienced artists such as Elephante and Sabai can mentor newcomers, fostering collaboration and growth. They also hope to continue spotlighting Asian artists and build a community where fans and artists can come together to celebrate Asian talent in the EDM scene. 
In the near future, Hidden Horizon plans to release more music, build a community of vocalists and producers and organize more shows with all-Asian lineups across North America. Tam hopes that aspiring Asian DJs and producers will continue to stay true to their sound, maintain their passion and seize every opportunity to create their own space in the industry.  
Sabai also expresses a desire for increased Asian representation in the EDM community through Hidden Horizon, highlighting the untapped talent within the AAPI community. 
“Hidden Horizon is not just a record label but it’s a community where everyone can find a sense of belonging,” Sabai says. “We hope that by sharing our stories, we’re able to motivate everyone in our community and ignite a sense of courage in them to chase their dreams.”
“I want people to feel at home exactly as they are, no pretending necessary,” Elephante adds. “I’ve had so many talks with fans and artists, and the common thread is that we all feel like we’re alone. By bringing it to the forefront, I hope that Hidden Horizon can be a community where we don’t have to feel that way anymore.” 
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