Kilo Lounge at Tanjong Pagar to close after three years

Kilo Lounge in Tanjong Pagar is closing at the end of the year.
Kilo Lounge in Tanjong Pagar is closing at the end of the year. PHOTO: KILO LOUNGE/ FACEBOOK

The club, known for alternative music, has booked DJs for its final parties at the end of the year and is hunting for a new venue

Kilo Lounge will move out of its current location at Tanjong Pagar Road at the end of the year, after nearly three years at the venue.

The club, known for underground house and techno music as well as live gigs, announced the closure on Monday, citing an increase in operational costs and saying it was no longer financially sustainable to run the spot.

Kilo Collective co-founder Joshua Adjodha told The Straits Times: "We rode out our lease while continuing to do what we love best - bringing quality music and entertainment to our community.

"But right now, the focus lies in finding a place at the right price, and then the challenge is to find such a place that will get approved for licensing."

The Kilo Collective also consists of outdoor restaurant Camp Kilo Charcoal Club in Kampong Bugis and Asian-Latin fusion restaurant Kilo Kitchen in Duxton; as well as Kilo Kitchens in Bali and Jakarta, and the newly opened Kilo Lounge in Jakarta. These outlets will remain operational.

Before the shutters go down, Kilo Lounge will party till its last day, with local DJs booked every week.

It is business as usual and this month, the club has everyone from Canadian-Filipino hip-hop duo Manila Grey to American DJ duo Soul Clap to legendary German DJ duo Ame - one of their biggest bookings of the year - performing at the lounge.

In the interim between the closure and finding a new venue, Kilo will continue to hold pop-up parties with acts that have been booked for Kilo Lounge Jakarta.

This is not the first time Kilo Lounge has had to move out.

 
 

At the end of December 2015, the club was booted out of its original home in Kampong Bugis due to zoning issues tied to the area not being approved for nightlife use.

Much like their farewell back then, Mr Adjodha says the club's last three parties at its Tanjong Pagar location - culminating in a blowout on New Year's Eve - "will focus on the backbone of what has made both venues successful: the DJs of the Singapore scene".

"We have invited everyone who has ever graced our decks to jump on for individual or back-to-back sets, saying goodbye by taking charge of the dance floor in our space once more," he says.

One of the local DJs who will be spinning at Kilo's farewell gig on New Year's Eve is Brendon Perera, better known as Brendon P.

The nightlife veteran, who has almost four decades of experience in the scene here, including long-term residencies at Zouk and Ce La Vi, says that Kilo was "special because it had a mission to play alternative music".

"I will always welcome a place that champions music above and beyond the norm of your commercial top 40 or EDM (electronic dance music)," says Perera.

But catering to niche audiences has its own set of challenges, says Mr Zaran Vachha, co-founder of events agency Collective Minds.

"During (Kilo Lounge's) genesis at Tanjong Pagar almost three years ago, there was not much competition - but now you have venues like Tuff Club, which are open only a few nights a week, and the other end of the spectrum with places like Marquee that can spend money bringing in acts. That's what Kilo is up against," he says.

Collective Minds has held close to 80 gigs - ranging from hip-hop to electronic acts - at Kilo Lounge over the last three years, from American hip-hop DJ Grandmaster Flash to French multi-instrumentalist and singer FKJ.

As a promoter, Mr Vachha says part of him wants the new Kilo to remain as a mid-sized venue that can host diverse acts. "But the personal part of me wants it to be like at Kampong Bugis, which didn't have a big dance floor and everyone was squashed against one another and making friends."

Perera also speaks fondly of the Kampong Bugis outlet and hopes the founders will take their time to look for the next venue.

"I think it was difficult (for the founders) to get the Tanjong Pagar space to eclipse the love that everybody had for Kampong Bugis, but I am confident they will find a space," he says.

Mr Adjodha says: "We have learnt a lot from the last two iterations of Kilo Lounge - figuring out what works and doesn't - and Kilo Lounge 3.0 will be the best version yet."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2019, with the headline 'Kilo Lounge at Tanjong Pagar to close after three years'. Print Edition | Subscribe