Jackster, Tazman & Mike McGrath: They’ve been clean for 2 years now

On Friday 28th November the very well known Clean & Serene team are throwing a fantastic party to celebrate their success of 2 years running in Sydney. DJ Jackster, his Co-founder DJ Tazman and resident DJ Mike McGrath, will be celebrating in true style, with guests DJ Bob Frisky & Luna. Happy Birthday to the Clean & Serene Team.

When I arrived in Sydney a month ago, I read a column on ‘inthemix’ by a guy called DJ Jackster. I casually emailed him to get info on clubbing in Sydney. He mailed me back and said ‘you’re on the guest list tonight for Clean & Serene, come down and check it out’. I dragged my fiancĂ©e with me & the rest is history. I had an absolute ball at their party and met some really cool people! It was great to catch up these busy DJs and find out who this ‘Betty’ really is…

Can you go through what you might do in a typical day, organising the well-known Clean & Serene events?

Jackster: I’m the worrier of the 3 and always worry no-ones gonna turn up so for me it’s emailing, texting bribing people to come down. I’m responsible for all the creative output as well, all very exotic stuff. I never relax until there’s enough people and I know everyone’s having a good night.

Tazman: Along with keeping down a full-time job, I usually find myself following up with our ever-growing membership list as to which we have coming along for another monthly dose of “funkychunkysexy” house music. As the night ever draws closer, it’s a case of making sure all of the decor, equipment and other last minute essentials are organised so that the night can run as smoothly as possible.

Mike McGrath: We all work fulltime so most of the preparation for C&S happens before the day. Nonetheless the day of C&S is spent emailing or calling some of the regular C&S crew to remind them that the party is on that night. Taz, Jackster and I will probably chat a few times during the day finalising guests lists and working out whether we have enough gaffer tape or not. Once the working day is finished I’ll quickly drop in at home, change, pack my records and head off to the Burdekin to set up.

How did the name Clean & Serene come about?

Jackster: As I settled my bill checking out of the Betty Ford clinic in August 1999 my tax invoice had this really cool stars logo and “Clean & Serene” underneath it. As the social workers collected my few belongings and helped me to the waiting white van I thought “what a great name for a club night”…and the rest as they say is history….

Tazman: Clean and Serene was the brainchild of Jackster and myself. Having befriended Jackster in 2001, we discussed about starting up our own night once he emigrated. The name was chosen in reference to an organisation that was established as a sanctuary for those who enjoy life’s excesses. And so the idea was born. Mike joined us in early 2002 and we have been like the 3 musketeers ever since (all for one, one for all).

Mike McGrath: I think Jacko thought of it when he was last in rehab.

Do you ever fight over what tunes to play?

Jackster: Being a Cancerian I don’t fight I just pout and sulk. There are times when I play after Mike, I’m convinced he broke into our flat the night before, rifled through my record bag and wrote down all my tunes! Seriously…there’s always so much good music around it’s not a problem.

Tazman: Fortunately my style of music differs from Jackster & Mike. So to date we haven’t had to fight over tunes. I tend to play a bit tougher, with a percussive edge. Whereas the lads are a bit more vocal driven, I provide the “chunky” in “funkychunkysexy” so luckily we don’t end up fighting over tunes.

Mike McGrath: No, but quite often if I am playing the last set most of the tunes that I was planning to play will have already been played by either Jacko or Taz and I end up having to dig deep into my box to find some different tunes. I return the favour when I am playing first though.

What’s been the highlight of your DJing performances this year?

Jackster: Together @ Home’s 1st Birthday – playing an hour long cranking set to a packed main room at Home dressed in a Sgt Pepper’s Uniform! Also playing the closing set at Kink’s Hed Kandi party when Mark Doyle decided to get up and play b2b with me for the last 45 mins

Tazman: My highlight for the year would be the Clean & Serene party in July. It was a fancy dress party known as “Dirty & Delirious”, which doubles as both Jacksters & my birthday party. Having literally just gotten off a plane from the UK, I hotfooted it to the club and it was one of our biggest nights ever!!!

Mike McGrath: Making my debut at Kink earlier this year was definitely a highlight, mainly because I got to play on the same bill as Mark Moore. His work with S Express was what originally turned me on to dance music. Playing the Lunacy party at Jindabyne was also a highlight. My biggest highlight has definitely been managing to stay upright and play the final set at the last Clean & Serene, was also a warm up for my Bucks Night.

What made you want to work together?

Jackster: Taz was the only DJ I knew when I moved to Sydney so didn’t really have much choice. Mike paid us both a hell of a lot of money to cut him in. Simple as that.

Tazman: Jackster and I came up with the idea about starting a night and had already formed a good friendship. Once I met Mike and found what a top bloke he was, the decision to work together wasn’t hard at all.

Mike McGrath: I feel like the lawyer in The Castle. It was just the “vibe”. Both Taz and Jackster are friendly, genuine guys and we shared enough musical similarities to make me think that working with them would be a good idea. So far, so good.

What’s the worst party you’ve played?

Jackster: Inferno nightclub, Ayia Napa, summer 2000. Playing funky house in the gangster ridden home of UK garage. I feared for my life after I knocked back the 10th request for 2 step during my opening track. I paid some big bloke to carry my records out and meet me outside!!

Tazman: As a favour to a friend, I played at his girlfriend’s birthday. She (along with her girlfriends) didn’t appreciate House music. I had request after request for commercial pop, rock and r’n’b. Not that I have anything against anyone’s taste in music, but that’s just not my cup of tea. Hence it was the longest 5 hours of my life!!

Mike McGrath: A corporate gig a couple of years ago. I was booked to play “funky stuff, nothing commercial” and ended up playing to a room of alternative rock fans. Needless to say I didn’t go down very well.

What makes your party stand out from the rest?

Jackster: I don’t think it does. I think there are a number of smaller nights like ourselves all trying to do the same thing albeit with different types of music. That is to offer an intimate, affordable, non-pretentious, good night out clubbing experience without compromising the quality of music. I think we do that as well as anyone else but I think all smaller nights going up against the “Big Boys” are worthy of respect and support. Sydney is a tough city to run a night without full page advertising, huge mailing lists and $25 entry prices. Lasting 2 years in that environment is something to celebrate.

Tazman: We have always tried to remain true to what we started out as, a night which was created for our mates, to get together on a monthly basis. C&S has always been regarded as more of a house party than a club night, and it’s something the three of us are very proud of.

Mike McGrath: The C&S punters generally are a friendly, fun loving bunch that just want to have a good time. The attitude of our guests makes our party unique.

Who is Betty I keep hearing about?

Jackster: My cheque bounced and Betty’s been chasing me ever since.

Tazman: Betty is our Patron Saint of Clubbing. She watches over us and provides us with the inspiration behind our night – thanks Betty. I don’t know what we would do without you!!!!

Mike McGrath: Betty is a lovely lady with a bit of a “fatal attraction” to Jackster. We don’t like to tell her about what’s going on because Jacko gets a bit embarrassed.

Clean & Serene celebrate their 2nd Birthday this Friday, November 28, at the Burdekin. For more info, check out ITM whatson HERE.