The city is constantly changing, always reinventing itself. The relentless pace of the place is addictive, as it's it's nightlife...
The look of surprise on my face, stepping off the plane at Shanghai Pudong International airport as I noticed the noise inside the airport terminal was louder than the runway, is one that only became more horrific the closer I got to the centre of the city.
Deejaying in a town like this definitely takes on a new form as a majority of the audience has become desensitised to background sounds and has been trained from an early age to passively block out any sound that's not at the forefront of their concentration.
Deejaying in the U.S. and Japan before spinning in Shanghai really made the audience's passivity to the music much more obvious. I feel that the overall decibel-level of one's environment may play a huge part in the development of a musical ear.
It seems like a lot of the music that's well-received in Shanghai is characterised by loud, full-bodied music, without many subtleties or intricate parts. For example, most of the chinese rock band I've heard tend to be hard rock, metal, or punk: really abrasive, in-your-face shit.
The club music tends to be the same: heavy clubby hiphop, intense drum 'n' bass, or over-the-top pumpin' house music.
Whereas in Japan, a relatively quiet society, the music shows a lot of subtle nuances and ambient music is much more appreciated. Deeper loungier music, and intelligent hiphop, and minimal techno was much more popular there than in Shanghai. the U.S. probably falls somewhere between the two.
Although there's a large diversity in the music that's big in different places, it wasn't difficult to make friends that had really cool tastes in music. Whether it was the really well-produced indie rock-electronic shit, complex idm, or quieter jazz, a lot of my friends have quite sophisticated tastes in music.
I think the noise level in each place plays an important part on how people's acuteness for sounds develops. I'm not saying that people who grow up in Shanghai can't develop this sense, just that it may not come as naturally as it does to people in Japan.
I know if a Japanese person were to be trapped in my office for a day with my office mate's phone blaring it's fiendishly loud and offensive ringtone, chances are you'd find them dangling from their belt by the end of the day.
And if you threw a Shanghaiese person into a minimal techno club in Japan, they'd be trying to sing along and clap their hands completely off rhythm!