Turn Up The Music

How To Throw A Stress-Free House Party

Retail guru and former DJ Sulian Tan-Wijaya lets us in on three easy ways to raise the roof.

How To Throw A Stress-Free House Party

When Sulian Tan-Wijaya says that she was a DJ, she’s not talking about the soulless button-pressing antics that her modern compatriots might be associated with—mainly because when she first started DJing in the 80s, that technology simply didn’t exist. On-the-fly song selection, beat matching in a roaring club that’s packed to the rafters, Tan-Wijaya has seen and done it all.

In recent years, she’s hung up her headphones and turntables in favour of property management. As Executive Director at retail juggernaut Savills, Tan-Wijaya now focuses on putting the best retail and lifestyle brands together under one roof, instead of raising said roof.

DJ Sulian Tan-Wijaya behind the booth at a Fendi event in 2013

Helping to manage themed restaurant Wonderland also takes Tan-Wijaya away from the decks. The restaurant’s second branch has just opened at Vivocity, and its neighbour-slash-sister brand That CD Shop allows Tan-Wijaya to stay close to the music.

Still, you can take a DJ out of the club, but you can’t take the club out of the DJ. Tan-Wijaya shares three foolproof—and easy—ways to make your next house party a roaring success. 

Keep The Drinks Flowing

While teetotalism is steadily gaining popularity, something must be said about the cheering effect that a good cocktail has on any party. As host, you’ll probably have your hands full as chief entertainment executive, so delegate your mixology duties well. But if you find yourself having to take up arms behind the bar counter—or if you enjoy flourishing the cocktail mixer in front of guests—don’t fret. 

Made with ingredients you can find in your pantry, this mint-and-gin cocktail is as tasty as it is easy to prep

One of Tan’s go-to cocktails is this refreshing brew of peppermint and gin. It’s as tasty as it is easy to make. Just toss the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, give it a shake, and strain it into a glass. What’s not to like?

To start, brew a cup of peppermint tea. Then, combine it with 30ml of gin, 30ml sugar syrup, 20ml of lime juice—freshly squeezed if you can—and a couple of mint leaves. Shake, pour, imbibe, repeat. Just be sure to save some for your guests.

Tasty Food Makes For Happy Guests

Something has to fuel your party aside from alcohol and music. When it comes to feeding your house party guests, Tan-Wijaya’s top tip is to keep your menus simple. 

That’s why Tan-Wijaya keeps the menus at Wonderland slim, and the dishes recognisable. There’s the crackling, crispy duck confit that melts in the mouth, and more playful dishes like the chili crab linguine. 

Wonderland’s duck confit is a classic dish that’s simple but hearty—a true crowdpleaser

There’s no need to go for unpronounceable dishes or fancy but minuscule hors d’oeuvres, since it’s much better to fall back on hearty favourites that everyone will love. Remember: A hungry guest is a dissatisfied one.

Select The Right Tunes

Take it from DJ Sulian: Music can either make or break a party. It takes some work to craft the perfect playlist, and you should usually consider the size of the crowd and the mood you want to create.

Shazam and Spotify are your best friends when it comes to discovering new music, says Tan-Wijaya. If you need some inspiration, she’s assembled two very different playlists for two very different moods.

The first is Tan-Wijaya’s personal favourite, a chill, down-tempo playlist for intimate parties with friends and family. Expect a touch of jazz, soul, R&B, and of course, house.

And if you’re throwing a birthday bash or big celebration, don’t be afraid to amp up the BPM and bust out the nu-disco tunes.

If you’ve got a severe objection to certain genres though, don’t force it. Whether your soiree is better suited for the dulcet tones of Enya or Earth, Wind and Fire, Tan-Wijaya’s advice is to go with what you and your guests like best.

“It’s like asking me to play EDM for 2 hours in a club, which I had to do before but did nothing for my soul,” she says.

“When it comes to music, it’s always better to stick with what you really love.”

Wonderland Savour is now open at Vivocity.