Godwin Pereira is founder and CEO of South-East Asian club brand Kyō.
The Kyō brand debuted in Singapore in 2013, becoming one of the city-state’s most popular clubs and pulling in international heavyweights such as François K, Osunlade and Nic Fanciulli for its house and techno nights.
In December 2016, it expanded to Kuala Lumpur, opening a 770-capacity club (divided into two spaces, main room Kyō and smaller space Ren) at the city’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel.
Since opening, Kyō KL has welcomed DJs including Seth Troxler, Dubfire, Talib Kweli, Pan Pot and Jeremy Olander, and recently agreed a partnership with London’s the Egg that saw it take over the club in October.
Access spoke to Pereira to find out about the challenges of launching a new club brand, and how Kyō expanded overseas.
What inspired the look and vibe of your club?
Aesthetically, most importantly, I wanted to design it right for sound. We went into material use that would work, and then the tonality of what we could use. We wanted soft lighting, earthy, like a living room. After they were met, the main factor was the sound system so we went with a white VOID to make it stand out.
What research did you do and how is each market unique?
I’ve been doing this for 25 years so I’ve been to good and bad clubs. A lot of the personal experience I have gone through gave me an overview. I understand what the market is about. We also have a whole community that discusses things, which helps.
How did you choose suppliers for the club?
Pure passion and loving sound systems. I am a sound nut, I spend a lot of money on audio gear. The choice was based on how many watts of sound we wanted and what would work in the space. VOID is what we were really happy with.
Are there challenges in porting your brand and does it change in each market?
Of course. That’s the biggest lesson we ever learnt. The main thing is we are built around music and escapism. In Singapore we can do underground nights on Friday and Saturday, but in Malaysia you have to do them on the week days. Because of how people spend and what they spend. Every market is different in every city. As long as you control the music quality you will be fine.
What are people demanding from venues in the 21st century?
I think the technology and payment technology is catching on. Cash is really fading away. It’s all about pay by phone technology and I think that is really interesting. Lights, LED panels, moving heads, that’s always evolving and interesting.