I Was the First DJ in North Korea

By By Brian Offenther as told to Benjamin Shapiro | Nov 30 2012

Brian, AKA DJ BO, with one of the many handlers that followed his every move as a DJ in North Korea.

[Eds. Note: When we think about North Korea, three things come to mind: prison camps, blanket human rights abuses, and form-fitting military chic outfits. What we don't think about are down-and-dirty DJ dance parties, but all that changed a few weeks ago, when we hopped on the phone with Brian Offenther, a native South Floridian and former manager of a Mongolian Elvis Impersonator named Nargie Presley (look him up, he's for real). This August, Brian, who spins as DJ BO, snuck into North Korea on a local tour company to DJ a one-night-only performance at the Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang. He named the night "Shake Your (m)Ass Games" to coincide with the Mass Games in North Korea, where over 100,000 performers dance in strict rows and lines in the capital city. We called Brian up and demanded that he tell us what it was like to be the first DJ in North Korean history. Photos by Abe Deyo.]

I moved to Darkhan, Mongolia in 2007 for the Peace Corps, and got involved with this Mongolian Elvis impersonator named Naranbaatar Tsambahorloo. After that I moved to a town called Ulaanbaatar and opened up a venue called the Cross-Eyed Gypsy, which I named for the girlfriend I left when I moved to Mongolia. After moving around a bit, I landed in Shanghai, and worked as a DJ. I met a bunch of promotions companies, and became involved with one called Koryo Tours, which is probably the biggest North Korean tour company. 

They hooked me up with a tour to North Korea, and I realized that there'd never been a DJ night in that country. I like to do things first - I'd already hosted the first 80s nights and 50s nights in Mongolia, why not be the first DJ in North Korea?

Read the rest over at NOISEY

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