Meet eight party crews doing Australia’s scene proud
Levins & Nina Las Vegas
Where? Sydney and occasionally the rest of the country.
What? Together, separately and alongside a roll-call of their best friends, Levins and Nina Las Vegas have been responsible for some of Sydney’s best parties for the past ten-odd years. From the Nina Las Vegas/Anna Lunoe/Bad Ezzy team-up Hoops to the Levins-led monthly rap party Halfway Crooks, parties with Diplo at Goodgod and the countrywide NLV Presents tour, if you’ve been out in Sydney this past decade, you’ve probably been to at least one party thrown by Levins or Nina.
How? “I first started throwing parties in 2004,” Levins told inthemix. “I was 19 and had a show on FBi Radio and loved playing songs by bands that nobody liked and that couldn’t get any gigs, so I started putting on wildly unsuccessful parties for them to play at. Thankfully they were pretty small affairs, in warehouse spaces and art galleries. A few bands would play and then I’d DJ off my laptop.”
But things picked up. “In 2005 I was booking bands at The Mandarin Club (RIP) and we needed something to happen after the bands each week, so I started DJing off the Popfrenzy Denon CD Players. I was playing new club stuff that was exciting to me at the time, genres nobody gives a fuck about anymore like Baltimore Club, Baile Funk, Crunk and Hyphy. Nobody knew how to Google anything back then so they just saw all these stupidly named genres on my flyers and would come find out what they were.”
“We ended up getting DJs like Diplo and A-Trak to play at The Mandarin Club, this shitty underground spot with a cheap PA, and I stayed in touch with them over the years, playing with them and their crew most of the times they’ve returned to Sydney.” From there, Levins started Ro Sham Bo at The Clare Hotel (“also RIP”) with high school friend Moriarty and Elston (now of Halfway Crooks). Jimmy Sing, who now books for Goodgod, would often DJ there, and “Nina Las Vegas played her first ever set at this party too,” Levins says.
It wasn’t long before Nina started holding her own events. “The first party I officially threw (outside of doing all the flyers and driving all the acts around in my 1984 Ford Lazer for Lev) was with Bad Ezzy in 2007. It was called Hoops, was at the Blue Room (former home of Death Disco) and we booked only females to play.
“Both Ezzy and I had been going to all the Ro Sham Bo parties and, rather excitedly slash drunk, planned our all girl venue at Splendour earlier that year. At the time we were constantly out supporting our best friends at their gigs, and although Levins actually booked me to play my first ever show with the Ro Sham Bo crew, it was pretty uncommon for a girl to play within our scene. Not because the guys didn’t want us to be there, just none of us really had the balls to admit that we wanted to do it too.”
When? As ever, this year’s looking large for the pair. First up: “Halfway Crooks fifth birthday is on April 5 – we’re throwing a Player’s Cruise on a goddamn boat! All aboard the rap ferry! We’re doing a Halfway Crooks party as part of Vivid this year too and bringing out some friends from the States to play it with us,” Levins told us. “Goodgod is still kicking the lockout in the dick and throwing huge parties four times a week, you can catch me playing at roughly one third of them.”
If you dug the first NLV Presents tour, you’re in luck. ”[There’ll be] definitely more crew tours Ã la House Party and NLV Presents,” Nina promises. “Of course when Anna Lunoe’s home, she has no option but to play with us as Hoops.”
What? With a record label, online magazine, video productions (sometimes for Skrillex) and a regular roster of parties on the go, Perth crew Pilerats certainly know how to keep busy. Events-wise, the past few months have seen them bring Seekae, Oliver Tank, Giraffage, Jagwar Ma, Willow Beats and more to the West Coast.
“Last year we held our first annual Circo Festival and it definitely goes down in the books as a highlight so far,” the Pilerats dudes told inthemix. “Perth turned up in fine fashion in the middle of winter to celebrate music from the national and international underground. And the projection show on one of the stages provided some intense eye-gasms that won’t be forgotten anytime soon.”
How? The story of Pilerats coming together sounds just how you’d expect it to: debaucherous. “Most of us met at uni, something we’ve all dropped out of now, and decided to throw a party in a 70s mansion that was getting demolished during our ‘studying’ years. We had an open bar, DJs playing in a basement and drained out a pool for bands to play inside. 10 riot police cars and 1000 people said everyone had a really great time.”
When? Keep an eye on Perth venue The Bakery’s roster of events and you’ll see Pilerats parties pop-up regularly. For the first half of 2014, they’ve got some big projects on the go. “We’re really excited about the record label and have some amazing releases slotted for the next few months,” the Pilerats team told us. “Right now we’re deep in Circo planning mode and are getting ready to roll out some long overdue changes and surprises for our digital magazine app.” Or if they’re being really honest about what’s on the cards for this year? “No sleep”.
What? House, disco rarities and anything conducive to dancing is the order of the night at Sydney’s Pelvis, held regularly at Goodgod. All-vinyl sets aren’t uncommon, and the Pelvis crew go in with the mission of making each party their best yet. “Our best party always seems to be the last one we had,” they put it. “Our Underwater party in February was the latest, with wet ponytails, pruned fingers, caked on salt, all senses were indulged.” (They also do a brilliant line in both all-out decorations and kooky teaser videos for their parties – visuals matter to these guys.)
How? “In 2012 we began throwing parties to satiate a somewhat selfish desire: hosting a party that we would like to go to,” team Pelvis told inthemix. “Luckily other people also liked what we were doing, otherwise it would have been very embarrassing. Thanks, everyone.”
When? You’re in luck if you want to see what Pelvis is all about – their next party is on this Friday. As for the bigger picture stuff? “Pelvis in 2014 is about dancing more often for longer. Also hosting parties across the border, and working on creating more content to share with the world. Mixtapes, edits, clothing and possibly some of our own audio productions.”
Where? Sydney…and the internet.
What? Not only do Moving House throw very cool parties around Sydney – like last year’s big prom-themed bash – they’re also the people responsible for Toilet Room, the Boiler Room parody that was both hilariously on-point and home to a great mix from UK dude Paleman.
“The most talked about party we’ve probably done was in a friend’s photo studio on Kippax Street for Gary Busey’s birthday,” Moving House’s Patrick Chambers told us. “Gary Busey never did show up, but Ben Fester, Preacha and Tandoori Boogie did, and we really got a good sweaty vibe going. We had a good amount of time to prep for that one, and put extra effort into the visuals and location deck-out, which is important to us, and can really elevate a party from good to great. Music is always our number one priority, but people expect more than that these days. You only have to look at what Pelvis does at GoodGod for evidence of that.”
How? As they put it: “Moving House is the lovechild of four mates with a mutual appreciation for quality house music. We started throwing parties on a bit of a whim in March of 2013. It was Good Friday to be exact, and we decided to take advantage of the public holiday, as every licensed venue was closed for the night.”
“In retrospect, the house party probably generated a little more interest than we anticipated, and after the house and courtyard maxed out, people continued to fill the back alley and then the closest street too. We were about 600 over capacity, and needless to say the 8-odd squad cars and bevy of detectives that showed up weren’t too happy about that. We didn’t get fined, but we did get a noise abatement and there may or may not have been an arrest too, which left a bitter sweet taste in our mouths, especially for a peaceful bunch like us. Despite the rough end to the night, it certainly set the bar high for our following parties.”
When? Yes, there will be more Toilet Room to come. And that’s not all: “People can expect a one year anniversary party very soon,” Moving House said. “We feel we have a bit of a duty to Sydney now, what with the new lockout laws hindering the freedom to party. We will also be collaborating with some other local purveyors of party to put together some bigger events in the coming months.”