At a nightclub, a teenage disc jockey (DJ) wearing a long black and white number 88 T-shirt and a black hat controls the music while his colleague who is the emcee speaks above the blaring hip-hop music to welcome patrons.
The patrons that the emcee is addressing are not the ones in a darkened hall with flashing lights that most are accustomed to. Rather, they have tuned-in to a video live-streamed via the Facebook page of a nightclub in Phnom Penh.
This is the new fad that clubbers are turning to since the government imposed social distancing to curb the novel coronavirus outbreak – by closing schools, nightclubs, beer gardens, spas, massage parlours, casinos and more.
So to remain relevant, some clubs have started putting their DJs and music performances online.
On this occasion, the DJ welcomes the revellers who are confined to their homes because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In some of the videos, which are probably filmed somewhere outside of their venues, DJs are performing against the green screen that was applied with computer visual effects.
A 46-minute live-stream video posted by Pontoon on April 4 at 10:45pm gained more than 10K views, and more than 250 shares on its Facebook page.
While DJ Jay Bee lowers the music, emcee Kodak-Y greets viewers with: “Welcome to this Saturday live-stream music in Pontoon Club.”
He then pauses a while to let the music rock, and viewers’ hearts race with the adrenaline rush before adding: “I dedicate this song to all ladies. Let’s dance to the music while staying at home.”
Among the Facebook comments that followed were “love this song”, “dance with me”, “very nice” and “miss”. One Facebook user called ParmjyPjy said it’s a “quarantine festival”.
Another well-known club in the capital, Epic Club, is offering online clubbing for its revellers who miss the live music from its DJs.
Beginning with a slow tune, Epic Club’s DJ played a hip song while the emcee danced in tempo to the lyrics.
The 17-minute video captioned “STAY HOME” attracted more than 25K views, and almost 500 shares on its Facebook page.
Online clubbing not only helps the nightclubs keep their patrons until better times cometh and the clubs reopen. Live-streaming of such music also introduces their clubs to new viewers and future patrons who have never visited a nightclub or seen a DJ performing live.
A viewer, Kem Vuthara wrote a comment saying: “Now I know Epic just like all the others. Thank you corona for allowing me to know what the night club looks like.”
Facebook user, SseavMey wrote that “I want to learn DJ too”, while Elodee Kim echoed: “Elodee Kim Stay home and watch DJ Epic lived lolzzz.”
Adding to their voices, viewer Na Vin said “it’s also fun to dance at home”, while Rathoudom Hong added: “Online class for daytime and online club for nighttime”.
Though the nightclubs’ main goal is to entertain their patrons who miss clubbing and wish to keep in touch with their favourite DJs and emcees, they did not forget to remind viewers to maintain their hygiene and stay safe from Covid-19.
“Don’t forget to take care of your health. Please wash your hands with soap and clean water or hand gel to get rid of the virus. Stay at home, stay at home,” said Kodak-Y from Pontoon who offers his DJ LIVE STREAM’s post twice a week.
On its Facebook page, Pontoon says: “Our DJs are here and ready to live-stream the best beats right to your home so you can keep partying with us while you keep yourself healthy.”
To entertain people at home, Epic Club also posted: “Epic is coming to your house to party. Epic is here to help you keep your spirits up and party into the night by having our DJs stream live sets on Facebook.
“So you can party live with them just like you used to, all the while helping you keep your social distancing by doing this right in your own home so that you can keep being healthy and safe.”
Vanny from Epic Club who only wanted to be known by one name, tells The Post: “DJ LIVE STREAM aims to keep in contact with our clients who stay at home and want to be entertained like they used to do at our club.
“We’ve produced a video and are live-streaming it from 9:00-10:00pm twice a week.”
The emcees kept repeating “stay at home”, “wash your hands”, “wear a face mask when going out”, “use disinfection spray” and “keep social distancing” through the music to remind people of the Covid-19 threat that is out there.”
Sok Vanna, the director of the Ministry of Tourism’s Department of Entertainment Services says DJs cannot use club venues to produce their videos or live-stream on social media as it would be against the law. “But if they use other places such as a room in a house, that would be fine,” he says.
Vanna tells The Post that live-streams are not exempt from bans on large public gatherings, no matter where they are filmed.
“Live-streams with 10 or more viewers should not be allowed. But if it is organised by just an emcee, DJ and a small camera crew for filming purposes and viewers are small in number, and watching from the safety of their own homes, then that is fine,” he says.
Vanna says, more importantly, club owners have to seek permission from the Ministry of Information before uploading live-streamed videos.
It is not the first time that clubs have gone online to entertain people staying at home amid tightened measures.
Singapore’s nightclubs have offered “cloud-clubbing” parties for clubbers to enjoy electronic music from home, while Canada’s Quarantine Club gets partygoers to join in via the Zoom app.