Watch: High School DJ Gouachi on Music, Family, and China’s Generation Gap


RADII Voices is a series of short documentaries looking at the unique characters, scenes, and phenomena that define modern China.

By day, Gouachi attends high school in Shanghai. By night, the 17-year-old performs across the city’s high-octane club scene:

Gouachi is a regular at all of Shanghai’s most legendary venues. But just a few years ago, she had never imagined becoming a DJ. It was only after she went with her parents to her first music festival that her interest was piqued — a fortunate WeChat flier for a free lesson at CTRL Studios sealed the deal. Today, Gouachi’s sound is highly developed, running the gamut between frantic Jersey footwork beats and her true love, UK grime. You can see her face plastered on subway billboard ads for Beats by Dre, right next to Kris Wu.

It’s been a long road for Gouachi’s parents to accept her identity. Tension with her father, who thinks DJing is unfit for a woman, has caused a rift between the two. Her mother is more supportive, but admits she worries about the influence of the culture on her daughter.

We followed Gouachi to the studio where her DJ career began, and to her parents’ home for an intimate conversation with the mother and daughter. Their words and insights shine a light on the cultural gap that divides generations, in a China that’s changing faster than anywhere in the world.

Special thanks to Gouachi, her family, and CTRL Studios

Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a US-based writer, producer, multimedia artist, and former associate editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school to train at the Shaolin Temple but now uses it to interview rappers. He blogs about China and Asia on Instagram: @this.is.adan

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