Swansea nightclub owner, DJ and 'legend' of city's music scene dies aged 45

Man in jacket and white top
Kai Liu has been described as a 'legend' of Swansea's DJ scene -Credit:Greg Pickin

Friends of a popular nightclub owner and 'legend' of Swansea's DJ scene have described him as a "one in a million" person who would go out of his way to help others. Father-of-four Kai Liu passed away on Wednesday, May 8. He was 45.

Mr Liu first got into the city's music scene after he bought a set of DJ decks, which were kept at his friend Greg Pickin's flat in Morriston. Together, their passion grew from just playing vinyl at parties to DJing at iconic Swansea city centre venues like Quids Inn, The Palace, Escape and Bar Seven.

He went on to take over the running of PlanB nightclub in Northampton Lane, Swansea, which had previously been known as Crobar and Club Oxygen. Through the years, Mr Liu, who was from Skewen, but brought up in Bonymaen, gave opportunities to generations of young up and coming DJs, and was responsible for bringing some of the biggest names in dance music to the city. For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter.

READ MORE: 'The speakers left your cheeks wobbling': Stories from Swansea's infamous Quids Inn Kingsway bar

READ MORE: The story of Rasputin's: Wales' first vodka bar and Swansea's 'smallest nightclub'

Kai Liu and Greg Pickin
Good friends Kai Liu and Greg Pickin joined the music scene together -Credit:Greg Pickin
Two men
Mr Pickin described his friend as a 'legend' of the city's music scene -Credit:Greg Pickin
Two men
The pair would speak every day -Credit:Greg Pickin

Mr Pickin, 42, who now runs Heaven in Wind Street, Swansea, said: "We were the best of mates, he was my daughter's godfather, and we'd speak every other day. We were so close all the way through. We would talk about everything - business, family, holidays, Ibiza, Kai loved Ibiza. We had so much in common. There has been quite a lot of change in the music scene over the last 25 years, and we'd often discuss where we think it's going, It ran a lot deeper than just being turntable brothers, we were close, but Kai was best friends to everybody.

"The amount of people who would class Kai as one of their best friends - he was just that kind of person, always happy, always smiling, always had time for people. He was very driven, very motivated, very passionate, he was a great dad, a great husband - just a great man. Kai was always there if I needed him. For the last 25 years we've been through everything together, high times, amazing times, low times, just basically what a friendship is. Friends like that mean everything to you. He was a legend within the scene, and I don't think anyone could deny him that status. If anyone deserved it, it would have been Kai.

"Kai brought through so many people over the years. A lot of DJs around owe their careers to Kai. He was an all round good guy who was one in a million. He has probably brought through about two or three generations of DJs through the years. He was constantly evolving his team and the team that he has left now in PlanB are a good bunch of lads and they are all in their twenties. His role within the Swansea scene has been pivotal. He has consistently been delivering the biggest acts to Swansea for ten to 12 years. He has pretty much held it together over time. There's a lot Swansea needs to thank Kai for."

Two men and dj decks
James Davies and Kai Liu pictured behind the decks -Credit:James Davies

Another of Mr Liu's friends, CN Williams, described his talent as a DJ as "unparalleled". He said: "I've been struggling to find the words. Kai was more than a friend, he was a true gentleman, an exemplary husband and father, and a pillar of strength for his family. His passion for music was infectious, and his talent as a DJ was unparalleled. Yet, amidst his professional success, he remained grounded, always ready to embrace life's joys and celebrate with those around him.

"Together, we shared countless memories of late nights at Escape Nightclub, Bar 7, Eden, Moloko, and his own ventures like Warehouse, Oxygen, PlanB, and many more. I'll forever cherish the memories we created, especially our last meeting at my stag do in Swansea, where Kai insisted on keeping the drinks flowing, as he always did."

James 'Slim' Davies, former resident DJ at the old Rasputins, Wales' first vodka bar and Swansea's 'smallest nightclub', added: "I have many fond memories of Kai, starting from the days when he used to DJ in Quids Inn. His love of music, his infectious smile. Kai always had a lot of time for everyone. He will be greatly missed in the clubbing scene and beyond." Try WalesOnline Premium for FREE by clicking here for no ads, fun puzzles and brilliant new features.