GT: Guiding you through spring
There’s no denying Groove Terminator is one of the longest serving identities on the Australian dance scene. Not bad for a boy outta Adelaide, especially considering he’s now sitting pretty in his new base of Los Angeles, California, continuing to spread the word of GT far and wide internationally. He’s swinging back to Australia this month to launch his latest mix CD, the first Clubber’s Guide To Spring on Ministry of Sound, so we tracked him down to find out a bit about GT’s history to date.
Who is Groove Terminator when you close the lids on the decks and put the beats to bed?
My name is Simon. I make and play music. I am a DJ for life. I laugh at my own jokes. I live with my girlfriend and our two dogs in West Hollywood, Los Angeles. I think I have the best mates in the world, none of whom live within six hours flying time of me… I walk my own path.
You began DJing at the age of 13, that’s no easy feat. What did your mate think of that?
Honestly, I don’t think any of my mates were that impressed, being a DJ didn’t become a cool thing until the very late 80s with the arrival of acid house and warehouse parties. I started doing a radio show with two of my mates from high school in the beginning, but then the next year when I changed schools I got another show with some other kids, however as I was in control of the panel I was the “DJ”, if you know what I mean. That said, I remember in my senior year at high school when me and my mates were clubbing a lot, the ones that had dropped out and were hairdressers or working in retail used to have our show on in the shop. They loved it that they knew someone on radio, so I guess they ended up being impressed!
You do it all – DJ, recording artist, producer, performer, mixer and remixer. What’s your favourite part of what you do?
It’s a weird thing, [but] I’m sure it [also happens] to others in similar boats. When you are in the studio a lot you start longing for the road, airports, room service, hotels, clubs, gigs and the attention. Then when you are on the road all you want to do is be locked away in a dark room making music and not talk to anyone.
Do you find being involved in every aspect keeps your style individual, or does it make it harder because the standards you hold yourself to are higher?
I’m not sure how to answer this question as I’ve always pretty much followed my own path from the onset. I’ve just done whatever I felt like doing at the time, whether it worked out or not. I guess I’ve always veered towards a road-less-travelled sort of mentality, and I’m thinking that requires adhering to a certain type of standard for oneself to remain happy. I have a very high level of commitment to my work, such as the fact the show must ALWAYS go on… I think I’ve only ever cancelled two gigs in my life and have been a no-show for maybe two or three in my 20 year career.
Your beats have rocked dancefloors across the country and the world since the early 90s. What is it that keeps you up there with the best?
I think I keep getting repeat bookings by venues, promoters and clubs because I do something they like, the kids dance and hopefully the bar makes some money. I try to maintain a good working relationship and rapport with the people that are paying me to, basically, have a good time. I’m consistent, even when I’ve been on the rare occasion “tired and emotional”. I still get up and do what I’m booked to do.
Your album ‘Roadkill’ was one of the first I ever owned. ‘One More Time’ and ‘Here Comes Another One’ echoed through my house over and over again. Is that the aim of your game, to keep your music fresh in people’s heads?
Shucks, I’m glad you liked it, I tried hard to make it memorable. When writing music I really wish sometimes I could write one of those incredible minimalist tracks that are timeless booty shaking numbers, like Booka Shade or Carl Craig, or even my old DJ partner HMC did. But, it’s just not in me… I need to have huge “knock you over the head” hooks, grooves and sounds, and generally a really noisy thrashy vibe going on to keep me entertained in the studio. Unfortunately that doesn’t always transpire to a great track, but seven times out of 10 it can, so I aim to keep hitting those seven.
What goes into your live sets, do you tend to mix the old with the new?
Absolutely, one of the best things about the digital revolution is having the ability to have a 500GB hard drive full of amazing music from the last 30 years ready to drop when you think the moment is right. So many times over the years I’ve wished I had all my tunes with me at once, and these days I can. Brilliant!
Does your style of set depend on where you are playing?
It used to be that you’d play more “journey music” in Melbourne and they liked it “harder” in Adelaide, or “more hits” on the Gold Coast, but not really anymore. You may drop a tune or two in one club that you wouldn’t play somewhere else, but these days if the flyer has your name on it people are expecting YOUR sound, so you gotta do what it says on the box!
You’ve performed in Ibiza, Tokyo, London, France, Germany, USA and of course around Australia. Do you have a favourite place to play?
A great night is a great night, geography doesn’t come into it. My fav place to play for many years consistently has been Brisbane, it has a lot to do with who I was working for as well as the crowds. Also, Brisbane was the first time I ever played outside of my hometown of Adelaide, and that same person who booked me in 1992 also booked me to play GPO NYE in 2007.
You produce and are involved with a lot of remixes. What do you look for when you’re picking a tune to remix?
When I was doing the Tonite Only thing we got to pretty much have our pick and that’s a great position to be in. I really appreciated as it wasn’t always like that, back in the day you pretty much took whatever you could get your hands on to do the work. I tend to steer away from doing remix work these days, as I sometimes feel like I’m giving my best ideas away for someone else’s glory, but that said if I’m really feeing a track I’ll happily have a crack at it.
GT tours the country with Raye Antonelli to launch Clubber’s Guide To Spring (Ministry of Sound/Universal) this September and October:
Fri 12 Sep – Met & Code, Auckland – Groove Terminator & Raye Antonelli
Sat 13 Sep – Arthouse, Sydney – Groove Terminator & Raye Antonelli
Fri 19 Sep – Academy, Canberra – Groove Terminator
Sat 20 Sep – Family, Brisbane – Groove Terminator & Raye Antonelli
Wed 24 Sep – onefiveone, Wollongong – Groove Terminator
Fri 26 Sep – Syrup, Hobart – Groove Terminator
Sat 27 Sep – Platinum, Gold Coast – Groove Terminator & Raye Antonelli
Thu 2 Oct – Discovery, Darwin – Groove Terminator & Raye Antonelli
Fri 3 Oct – Vegas Mode, Perth – Groove Terminator & Raye Antonelli
Sat 4 Oct – HQ, Adelaide – Groove Terminator & Raye Antonelli