2011 inthemix Awards voting guide

In case you hadn’t noticed today is a pretty big day on the Australian dance calendar. Yes, it’s that day when strategies kick into high gear, your Facebook notifications start to multiply and the collective blood pressure of local DJs jumps a few numbers upwards…it’s the inthemix Awards! This year of course the inthemix Awards is the new name for the ITM50 and features not only that infamous list of Australia’s top 50 DJs but also awards for best club night, best festival, best track and a few new categories too. Given that there’s plenty of change in 2011 the ITM HQ brains trust figured it would be sensible to peer behind the curtain for a sec and lay some of the cards on the table for a back and forth discussion about this year’s awards poll. And who better to discuss the inner workings of ITM than the two people who live this shit each and every day, ITM’s editors Jack Tregoning and Dave Ruby Howe who you’d know by the handles JackT and daverh.

Dave: Jack, it’s time to talk shop. The ITM50 is back this year under a new banner of the inthemix Awards and beyond that shiny new makeover I think there’s plenty to talk about. For starters we’ve got some new categories for punters to vote on in 2011 including Best Live Act and Best Festival Moment. Let’s start with the award for best live act which has a long list of Australian artists gunning for it including The Presets, Bag Raiders and Infusion. What are your thoughts there?

Jack: My first thought is of how immense the crowds were for Pendulum at Future Music Festival this year. They might not be all-Australian anymore, but I think they still qualify. The surge towards the stage that they were playing on was unlike anything else at the festival, including The Chemical Brothers. If Armin van Buuren and Tiesto have taught us anything, it’s that a recent tour wins you votes. That said, there have been plenty of live acts to challenge Pendulum this year. We have a lot of live electronic acts. The Presets seem to rankle some vocal ITMers, but I’ve been a believer since seeing them at The Hopetoun in Sydney in 2004, and I still think they’re so entertaining. That said they’ve barely played shows this year. Certainly the most ‘buzzed-about’ live acts this year from the list would be Seekae, Mitzi and The Swiss, all impressive in their own ways. I can’t really comment on the big ones like Cut Copy and Miami Horror this year…you would’ve formed a better opinion from seeing them.

Dave: Well I was lucky enough to catch Cutters in the main hall at the Sydney Opera House when they played this year’s Vivid LIVE festival and the feeling was unmatched. Since first seeing them on an out-of-the-way stage at a Big Day Out some years ago the dudes have really come into their own as a live act – as shown with their festival-headlining status overseas right now. I wouldn’t discount the love that’s about for Sydney threesome Art Vs. Science either. Seeing them live can turn even the most ardent detractor into a fan so despite having more of a foot in the indie world I reckon they’d have plenty of votes thrown their way. But as this is the first year we’ve had a Best Live Act category the votes might take into account more of a live legacy leading me to tip towards old faves like The Presets, Pnau and Sneaky Sound System. It’ll be interesting which ever way it goes!

Moving forwards, what’s your take on the crop of nominees for Best Track this year? From MaRLo’s Beatport topper The Island to this year’s Defqon.1 Australia anthem, Psychedlic Wasteland from Toneshifterz it’s a little something for everyone. Do you think the Defqon.1 massive can get that Toneshifterz track, with all its dying-robot noises, over the line?

Jack: I’d say it’s a very real chance, especially given the groundswell of support around all things Defqon.1. I’m not going to lie: I’m not on intimate terms with all the tracks in the Top 15 list, but there are certainly some blockbusters on there. For the most part, it’s a pretty ‘festival mainstage’ selection, and I reckon there’ll be plenty of deserved love for The Astons. A couple of ones stood out to me. ShockOne really tapped into the mood of the moment with his wubb-fest Crucify Me Part 2, while Part 1 shows he’s got the anthemic drum & bass thing down. This will come to no surprise to any of his followers! It’s always interesting when an Australian act who might not be a ‘household name’ at home is doing big things internationally. Case in point from this list is Jaytech, who (despite a dedicated following here) has been really embraced in Europe and the US as one of the flag-bearers of Anjunadeep. His track Paradox is great to see in the Top 15. Who are you rooting for?

Dave: Well do I need to profess my love for Cut Copy again? If so then I’d love to see their epic six minute romance jam Need You Now get up but given the strong competition this year I reckon it could easily get overlooked. It was interesting to see where the industry votes went to nominate these 15 songs with Dirty South’s Diddy remix getting a lot of nods from the DJs who’ve smashed it out. And clearly there was love for The Aston Shuffle’s debut album with Your Love and Start Again both getting into the list. Your Love was a monster of summer that you could hear where ever you went, but I’d be stoked to see Start Again get honoured as it’s really the sleeper hit of the lot. Are enough people into quirky disco-pop to have heard of or even vote for Luke Million’s Arnold? That’s wishful thinking on my part as I love that tune. In the end I think it could go to any one of the songs nominated as there’s such a diverse crop in competition for it. Similarly wide open is the other new category in this year’s inthemix Awards, the Festival Moment award. Knowing that Aussie dance fans have experienced a helluva lot of moments at festivals over the last 12 months it’s a big call to pick out just one highlight. Do you a have pick for this one – besides what I’m sure was your standout moment of interviewing Wynter Gordon at Creamfields this year?

Jack: You’re right, Wynter has made it hard for others to compete. Maybe the festival moment unwillingly burnt on my memory is being on the wrong side of a fence that guys were using as a urinal at Creamfields, but that’s not really the point here. I think the only festival I went to in the last year where I wasn’t working was Playground Weekender, which is always very special, but I think my personal highlight of Dixon and Ame’s sunset slot is perhaps a little too small-scale. I’m really into this new category – I reckon the five ‘moments’ are all worthy in their own ways. It’s going to be very interesting to see how it pans out. I remember having a good vantage point down on the crowd for both Tiesto at Stereosonic and Skrillex at Creamfields, and it was, as they say, electric. You can see why DJs hurry back here. I’m going to be predictable here though Dave and throw my vote behind The Likes Of You tent at Future Music Festival. From interviewing Richie Hawtin at length and hearing how invested he was in this new Plastikman live show, then seeing it come to life at the festival, it was a true ‘moment’.

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