8 Q’s With An 8M Friend: Joshua Pillai

Entrepreneur, DJ, Punster…

Co-founder of entertainment group A Phat Cat Collective, the powerhouse behind Ninteen80, Pinball Wizard and a third concept opening soon – talks how the business came about, shares tips for budding nightlife entrepreneurs and his everlasting infatuation with Jessica Alba!

1. Tell us how ‘A Phat Cat Collective’ came about.
It was an internal joke. When I was in Hong Kong for a work project, I used to frequent a goose rice restaurant. Whenever I went I would order extra goose, extra rice, extra chilli and they started saying ‘fat cat is here’ endearingly whenever I would stop by!
When Francesca, Yafith and myself decided to form a nightlife collective to open creative original concepts, we wanted a quirky name for our company. We thought ‘A Phat Cat Collective’ sounded fun with a larger than life personality, so decided to name the company after this nickname. On another note, aren’t cats great pets? Hahaha

2. Is there a particular project or memory that stands out for you?Yes, when I was working with CÉ LA VI Singapore, we undertook an ambitious campaign to be in DJ Mag’s Top 100 clubs around the world. We got it in on our first attempt at no. 90, being the second club ever in Singapore to make the list. I was really proud achievement to put Singapore on global nightlife entertainment map.

3. What 3 words would you use to describe your working style?
Passion, creative and punny (I love to make puns, just ask my colleagues)!

4. What advice would you give a budding entrepreneur in the F&B & Entertainment space?
I’m a believer of being creative when imagining spaces and concepts. It took me 5 years to eventually decide on an idea I wanted to work on. I would always tell people to research and always write down your creative ideas. I feel a lot of us out there have good ideas but scared to be different. I always think we should not be afraid and take that leap of faith.

5. Tell us more about your exciting 3rd concept, the expansion into the old Kilo lounge space…
I don’t want to give too much away but it’s a little homage to the lovely history of Tanjong Pagar district packaged in a thematic club concept. Yes, I know it sounds really interesting…so wait for it!

6. Why did you choose to partner with 8M?
I have met a lot of landlords in my life, and 8M has been one of the few that takes an interest not only in the business side but the creative side of things. There are few landlords that would take the time sit down with you and listen to your concepts. They are really curators on concept driven tenants in a way, and I really commend that!

7. How has ‘A Phat Cat Collective’ responded to the present COVID challenges faced?
It’s tough but we are taking it with a positive attitude. You know the saying, if life gives you lemon, have a shot of tequila with it! Therefore, with this creative outlook of the situation, we are still bringing about DJ streams, cocktail deliveries and even selling our face masks. We are always looking out for new opportunities to do whatever we can with our resources. 8M has also been an understanding and supportive landlord during this time, and has checked in with us from time to time to see how they can help our situation.

8. If you could have cocktails with anyone in the world, who would it be, why and where in SG would you host them?
Jessica Alba at RPM Bar. Jessica Alba, because I’m just infatuated with her. And as a vinyl collector, I love that there’s a vinyl bar nearby NINETEEN80 that I can have a negroni and listen to music.