9 acts you totally forgot played Stereosonic
With Stereosonic done and dusted (well, for this year, at least), it’s time to take a look back at the festival’s illustrious nine years of existence and the myriad acts who partied on our fair shores. Looking at the 400-plus artists who performed at Stereosonic over the years, there are bound to be a few curious choices, especially as the festival established its vision while EDM took over the world. Here we take a look at nine artists you totally forgot ever played Stereosonic.
Fedde Le Grand (2007 & 2009)
Put Your Hands Up For Detroit dropped in 2006. Stereosonic had its first edition in Melbourne in 2007. It was a match made in heaven. After appearing as an international headliner at the first Stereosonic, Fedde Le Grand returned for the nation-wide 2009 edition. He’ll never again (probably) reach the impossible heights of …Detroit, but he’s still maintained his standing as a big-name international selector (even launching the world’s first dance music ballet in Amsterdam last year).
DJ Mehdi (2007)
Signing to Ed Banger records, DJ Mehdi was a pioneer when it came to blurring the boundaries between hip-hop and dance music. Working in such tracks as his Daft Punk Aerodynamic edit, Mehdi won hearts at the inaugural Stereo in 2007 – crowdsurfing his way through the end of his set. The beloved French producer-DJ was announced to return to Australia for Summadayze in 2011-2012 before his tragic passing.
2009 is when it started to really take off for Deadmau5. After a low-key maiden voyage to Australia in 2007, the Canadian provocateur returned early in 2009 for Good Vibrations (RIP). Compare the scale of that set to that of his late-2009 return for Stereosonic and you’ll see how quickly things can blow up for an artist. It was also during his visit for Stereo that Deadmau5 managed to get quite pissed off at the inthemix forums. It was the early days of an illustrious career in internet trolling (and music).
The Japanese Popstars (2008)
Irish then-trio The Japanese Popstars were at their peak when they touched down for Stereo in 2008, touted as one of the hottest house acts on the planet after the release of debut album We Just Are. After building a solid and devoted fanbase, The Japanese Popstars (now a duo) haven’t flat-out announced a retirement of the moniker, but it is being rested while member Gary Cunnan focuses on solo project Confute.
The 2008 Stereosonic threw up a mixed bag of artists, sampling from pretty much every form of dance music it could find. Tucked away in the line-up was a live set from Vitalic, bringing his fearless brand of hard-hitting house to Australian shores. The timing was right with La Rock 01 rising to the level of club anthem. Vitalic went on to provide the soundtrack to the supremely underrated 2012 film La leggenda di Kaspar Hauser.
Miss Kittin & The Hacker (2009)
Remember electroclash? You might recall one of the genre’s biggest anthems being Frank Sinatra, from the team-up of Miss Kittin & The Hacker. Almost a decade on from the single’s release, the duo hit the Stereosonic stage, almost bookending the track’s influence and summing up ‘00s jaded hipster ennui in the process. Miss Kittin & The Hacker have maintained respective solo careers since, both still performing on a regular basis across Europe (and The Hacker even recently visited our shores).
Grafton Primary (2009)
It’s with a balance of warm-hearted nostalgia and cringe that we look back on the electro explosion of the late ‘00s. While the 2008 edition of Stereosonic was ruled by locals such as Sneaky Sound System, PNAU and Midnight Juggernauts, the 2009 line-up signaled a move into fully-fledged EDM territory with headliners Deadmau5 and Axwell. Still, Sydney outfit Grafton Primary snuck onto the bill, still riding high off the back of sorta-breakthrough 2007 hit Relativity. They released a full-length LP in 2013 with little impact, and it’s been fairly quiet on the Grafton Primary front ever since.
DJ Sneak (2010)
When it comes to house purists, they don’t get much purer than DJ Sneak. The second-wave Chicago legend has made a habit of calling out big-name EDM talent, and isn’t shy of returning blows when called out by the likes of Deadmau5. Which is why it’s surprising to see the self-proclaimed House Gangster amongst the 2010 line-up headlined by Tiesto and Calvin Harris. DJ Sneak is still touring constantly (though his 2014 NYE visit to Australia was cancelled at the last minute due to back troubles), and he still pulls no punches when it comes to speaking his mind on contemporary DJ culture.
L-VIS 1990 (2010)
Could Stereo have been one of our pre-eminent underground tastemakers? In 2010, James Connolly had only just began recording and releasing as L-VIS 1990. In that same year, he linked up with Bok Bok to establish the Night Slugs imprint, which to this day remains one of the most respected labels in the UK underground.