In the latest installment of Delaware-based expat publication NK News' weekly feature called “Ask a North Korean," a reader asked how North Koreans spend their leisure time - and the response by defector Je Son Le shed some light on how the party scene operates in a highly oppressive communist dictatorship.
Much like the illegal warehouse parties that became a legendary facet of EDM history, nightlife events take place at residencies or other dwellings equipped in such a way that little to no sound can reach the outside. “They usually make their own clubs in an empty house,” Le explains. “There’re many ways to make our own clubs in North Korea. We could produce electricity using a generator with oil.”
He goes on to point out how K-pop from South Korea is highly illegal under the regime due to the countries’ long-standing tensions. Being that North Korean officials will go as far as to execute citizens for watching South Korean television programs, smuggling the music into the venues makes for a nerve-wracking ordeal. “Enjoying anything from South Korea is illegal in North Korea,” Le says. “In the case of a sudden police raid, if we fail to hide the tape or CD in advance, it would be used as an evidence against us.”
To avoid a paper trail, the hosts of many such events opt to provide entertainment to their guests through live instrumental performances. In the event that officials show up at the party they can pretend as though they were playing songs approved by the North Korean Government.