Meet eight party crews doing Australia’s scene proud
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If you’ve kept up with our New Breed series, you’ll know that inthemix has talked plenty about the amazing music coming out of Australia right now (and we’ll talk plenty more about it yet, because it just keeps on coming). But homegrown production stars aren’t all we’ve got to bang our chest about – just as vital to our local scene are the promoters who bring that talent to the stage week in, week out.
From Sydney to Perth and beyond, right now Australia is home to an army of awesome party crews. Here, we’ve gathered eight of the coolest collectives putting on parties in 2014. While there’s no shortage of clubs hosting great regular nights, this is all about the independent crews throwing great events. If we’d expanded the criteria to labels who host cool shows, the likes of Future Classic and Sweat It Out would have no doubt featured. Likewise, if we were looking at great larger scale promoters like Brown Bear Entertainment or Soapbox, the list would’ve been far longer still. Admittedly it’s sometimes a murky distinction, but we’ve honed in on the party-throwers who aren’t strictly bound to one club or label.
And before you say it, we certainly haven’t ticked off every great party-throwing collective in Australia here – consider this the first in what’s sure to be a long-running series on promoters doing a bang-up job. Because in 2014, there’s no shortage of reasons to party.
Where? Sydney, and sometimes Elsewhere in Surfers Paradise.
What? Every so often, The Basement, Club 77 and various suitably grimy warehouses become the scene of Motorik: Sydney’s sweatiest, most nefarious techno party. Tiga’s played there, it’s frequented by the Bromance Records crew and regularly home to locals like Jensen Interceptor, The Finger Prince, Wordlife, Linda Marigliano and the resident Motorik Vibe Council. And if you leave before the sun comes up, you’re doing it wrong.
“Sometimes it gets a bit banging,” Motorik founder Vi Hermens admits. “But that’s okay, because we have a more bounce-to-the-ounce type policy: if it’s bland boring-dude-techno, we probably won’t play it. This is not the sort of stuff you hear Marco Carola playing for 12 hours at Music On in Ibiza – it’s loopy, jacking, synthesizer dance that’s hilariously oddball type vibes.”
How? “It’s kind of shrouded in the mists of time,” Vi says of how Motorik came to be, though the crew’s key players all came together at Bang Gang. “It was a pretty gradual thing. Andrew and Vivi were the ones who got the whole thing started, but Pat came up with the name and logo, and Frank and Gus brought the spirit of rave (after much persuasion). It was like magic, or something. We basically rented the basement of a comedy club, threw a sound system in it and played a load of records that we deemed fun. This is pretty much the guiding thing behind MTK: it’s just a bunch of dudes and babes in weird outfits and facepaint playing really amazingly fun music.”
When? Motorik just threw what might be their best party yet: the epic Brodinski/Gesaffelstein FMF afterparty (“1300 ravel0rds going for mission ecstasy. We still have trouble talking about it.”) While their next move isn’t Facebook official yet, the rest of the year is looking just as big. “We’re going to rave to infinity, probably,” Hermens tells inthemix. “We’re gonna try tour around Australia more and we’re gonna keep putting on amazing parties. We can definitely 100% say that our hero of darkelectrodance, The Hacker, is gonna play for us, which is really incredibly exciting, and hopefully our extended fam’ like Jon Convex and Mikron will make a few cameo appearances too.”
[Motorik image by Voena]
What? “If there’s any mission statement attached to ICSSC it’d be something to do with making sure Australia sees and hears these new mutations in electronic music as and when they happen, rather than these acts touring here a year later when the tastemakers have moved onto something else,” ICSSC founder Daniel Dalton says. For the punters who frequent the Perth crew’s parties, that philosophy has brought the likes of Lapalux, Ben UFO, Mosca, oOoOO, Ryan Hemsworth, Salva, How To Dress Well, Oneman and more to The Bakery and middle-of-nowhere WA warehouses since 2008.
How? “We started throwing parties in 2008 under the name ‘Bitch Please’,” Dalton explains. “I’d just got back from the UK and discovered Does It Offend You, Yeah?, and Hot Chip, and all this electro stuff that I guess changed the path of my life forever. When I got back to the country all I wanted to do was show people this music so I approached a bar to let us do a monthly club night – which seems so very normal now, but was kind of unusual at the time – and we’ve never looked back.
“Now we’ve set up tours for some 40+ internationals over the last couple of years. All ahead of their time, all with something brilliant to offer the electronic music community at large.”
When? There are a few chances to party ICSSC style in the near future – over the next few weeks you can catch A1 Bassline, Baths and Deadboy all at The Bakery. And from there? “Just keep doing our thing, I guess!”
What? Since 2012, Astral People have been bringing the most forward-thinking names in electronic music to Sydney for club nights, Vivid Live parties and their annual boutique festival OutsideIn. On top of the late night parties, Astral also do artist management, looking after the likes of Cosmo’s Midnight, Rainbow Chan and Retiree. If you want to keep your finger on the pulse, this is the crew you need to watch.
How? “It all started with our launch at Tone, which ended up selling out,” Vic Edirisinghe, one third of Astral, tells it. “Before that moment we didn’t think that hosting events would be such an integral part of our company, but we’re sure glad it ended up that way.”
The last two years have certainly been busy: “We were called on late to the program for Vivid 2013 and managed to put on a sell out event that featured favourites such as Omar-S, Africa Hitech and Jon Convex,” Edirisinghe explains. “Our first birthday with Ryan Hemsworth and a bunch of our favourite locals was pretty memorable too – not that I remember much at all from it. Other than that the Jimmy Edgar warehouse party, Night Slugs at Goodgod Small Club and that little guy known as OutsideIn Festival have all been pretty special events to us for various reasons.”
(Last year’s OutsideIn also holds very special memories for inthemix, in particular Astral People’s artist roster – with the likes of Jonti and Rainbow Chan – recreating The Avalanches’ classic Since I Left You live on stage: jaw-dropping.)
When? First, the bad news: Astral events won’t be as omnipresent in 2014 as they were last year. But there’s a good reason for that. “We’re putting a greater focus on our management roster – we’re now managing 17 Australian artists that are flourishing in the current climate both here and overseas; we’ve decided to put the brake slightly on the constant events and international touring and give them the focus they deserve.
“Besides that we look forward to some more carefully-curated international tours, working on VIVID Live once again this year and, of course, OutsideIn in November.”
What? There’s a few things you can expect from an Animals Dancing event: low lighting, a flawless soundsystem, a crowd who are there for the right reasons, and sets that run until “at least” 8am. Yes, this is one party where you can be sure the club’s turntables are operational. When you look at the sort of names they bring to town, it’s not hard to see why Animals Dancing have established themselves as the leaders of Melbourne’s underground scene: Moritz Van Oswald, Kyle Hall, Tom of England and Willie Burns have all hit the decks lately, courtesy of the Animals crew, with big internationals like Prins Thomas and Motor City Drum Ensemble providing the tunes before that.
How? Ask Animals Dancing how they came to be and you’ll get a typically understated answer: “A few years back we came up with a logo, so we threw a party.” Or as Nick Murray – one quarter of the four-person crew made up by Daragh Kan, Lewie Day and Andee Frost – put it to us when we profiled Animals Dancing for our Looking Local series: “We had been running C Grade parties for a couple of years and got sick of just playing with ourselves all night, so thought we’d start another party to let some others have a go.”
When? The next Animals Dancing party is set for March 28, when Hunee will take the decks at The Mercat. Come April 17, it’s Young Marco’s turn. And so on.