My Defining Records: Gavin Keitel

Gavin Keitel is a true Melbourne institution. From his long-standing residencies at Sunny and Onesixone to mainstage slots at the likes of Summadayze, the man can always be relied on to deliver the right record at the right time.

This weekend, Keitel will headline the first edition of the Darkbeat Local Sessions in Melbourne – an accolade that speaks volumes about his standing in the scene. He’s also the perfect person to kick off inthemix’s new Hometown Heroes feature series.

For this feature, we asked Keitel to share with us ten defining records from the course of his career. It was a task that didn’t prove easy for a DJ who has never been pinned to one strain of four-four, but his choices tell a compelling story.

New Order – Blue Monday

I learned to DJ at a skating rink when I was about 14, and it was a track at high rotation there. At the time, I was already collecting music across the board – 7-inches, 12-inches, whatever I could get. This particular record was from the days of Cold Chisel and AC/DC, and Blue Monday just stood out to me. When I got into clubs in Darwin when I was 16, I just played it every night. The track itself had a bit of a renaissance a couple of years back when electro really took off.

Pete Lazonby – Wavespeach (Junior Vasquez remix)

I was just starting guest spots and playing more regularly at Sunny in Melbourne, which is an amazing underground club. This track in so many ways represented the true underground, dark sound. That breakdown in the middle where the kick comes back in, it’s just this subtle lift in the record. It just used to blow the roof off the place.

LSG – Netherworld (Vinyl Cut)

A lot of these tracks represent points in my career, and this one was when progressive was king in Melbourne. I probably played this one too much! But it was just one of those tracks when you were doing the 5am set at Mansion, and you played that and people would just connect on the dancefloor. This is a standout track on one of my all-time favourite LPs. Every time I hear this, I have fond memories of such a positive time in my career.

Sasha – Belfunk

Progressive was really big in Melbourne. Apart from when Hardware were doing their techno parties, progressive was the sound on the mainstage. When Summadayze started here, progressive was pretty much the sound all day. This track really typified the best of progressive – I’ll still play it now at the right time and location. At Sunny’s tenth birthday, that was the track I keyed my set around.

Classified Project – Resurrection (Subculture Relaxation Mix)

I got onto this before the Sasha Global Underground came out, and it was from memory a b-side. The a-side was a bit more trancey and club-friendly, and a lot of people jumped on that mix. I played progressive a little differently from the big names, or tried to anyway, ‘cause it was hard to separate your sound at the time. I had five years on a Friday night at Q Bar in Melbourne from three till five am, and people would wait for me to play this.

Laurent Garnier – The Man With The Red Face (Original)

It’s got all the right elements and it’s unique. It’s not an easy track to play as a DJ. It’s a guaranteed floor-filler, but it can be wasted quite easily if you don’t think carefully about how to present it. It was a real crossover – it’s true techno, but I played it in progressive and house sets. I did a 4pm set at Summadayze when it was becoming massive. I was slotted between two trance DJs at 135 BPMs. I let the record before me play out, and started with The Man With The Red Face. People were a bit unsure in the first minute, but by the time it had really lifted, you could see people up on the hill get up, and when it really takes off at three minutes, the whole place was absolutely heaving.

Nathan Fake – The Sky Was Pink (James Holden remix)

This is one of those tracks that true techno DJs like Mike Callendar played, but also progressive DJs. It made it into so many different sets. For me, it was a time when I was pushing deep, slow techno in the Sunny environment. It was the homeland for progressive, but it was getting a bit tired and that was one track that helped me change the fundamental sound of Sunny.

Moloko – Forever More (Francois K remix)

Amazing, amazing record. Combined with a legend like Francois K, this was just an anthem at Onesixone. I played 3:30 till 6am for four or five years. The venue shut at 10am, so this was the peak of the night. Quite a loose atmosphere, low roof, amazing sound-system, 300-people capacity. It was a magical residency and this was one of my key tracks – I’d play it every second week. It’s got a slow intro, and at Onesixone it’d be plodding along, and then the vocal comes out of nowhere. When the vocal dropped, the club seemed to let out a collective, “Fuck yeah”. You got that overwhelming glow out of the room.

Marc Romboy/Blake Baxter – Freakin

Really dirty. It’s such a big bassline with a bit of acid that comes in halfway through. I just played it to death. No one was really playing it a whole lot, everyone was playing house, and this was just dark and deep but not noisy. As soon as that bassline drops, you feel it in your chest and knees.

Oliver Huntemann – 37 Degrees

I got this track early from Steve at Rhythm & Soul. He gave it to me on promo, and I knew straight away that it was going to be an anthem. That proper, almost true electro breakbeat makes it quite dark. It could be quite confronting for a house crowd, but I dropped that at Hot BBQ in Melbourne and it was really huge.

Rejected – Let’s Go Juno

Joris Voorn does have a formula, and you can hear it in his kicks. He probably has some presets he overuses a bit, but to be honest with you, the guy’s a genius. This track is so simple with its old school repeated synth stabs and again I played it to death. After people picked up on it, I let it go for a while, and now I hold it for the right time and place. It still really works.

Masomenos – Pierre Et Le Loop

It’s just fantastic – it’s not house, it’s not techno, it’s not tech-house. It’s deep and moody and they get the rhythms right. There’s always enough in their records to keep it interesting. Almost every track they’ve released in the last couple of years I’ve bought. I’m very fortunate in Melbourne, as I get a lot of warm-ups for internationals. I have a captive audience; a full floor and a good sound system. This track generally always makes it into those sets. It takes a while to build and you can see the dancefloor start to fidget a bit, but then there’s this beautiful synth breakdown and people just look back up at me like, “Right, I get it now. That’s fucking fantastic.”

Gavin Keitel headlines Darkbeat Local Sessions 001 this Friday 9 July at Brown Alley.