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Things you learn backstage at Future Music Festival

When Future Music Festival kicked off in Brisbane on Saturday, inthemix was naturally there to capture the action as it unfolded. While our foremost goal for the day was to film some (awesome) footage of what was going on for the fans front-of-stage, we also made note of a few highlights from backstage. In the build-up for this weekend’s Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide events, we’ve decided to share a bit of what goes on behind-the-scenes with Skrillex, Die Antwoord and the DFA crew and reflect on what we’ve learnt.

Skrillex gets around…

Despite playing the relatively early time spot of 4pm, Skrillex seemed to have brought the majority of the festival to Las Venus for his performance. While there’s normally nothing like fighting your way through thousands of sweaty fans to understand just how packed a crowd is (we did that too), it’s only from the side-of-stage vantage point that the immensity of the audience became clear: every inch of ground space is filled, people are climbing the bleachers to get in and (so it seems) every single audience member is jumping in-sync to the bass. Also side-of-stage are The Stafford Brothers, who hang towards the back of the set-up, speaking to some of the other congregation assembled for Skrillex’s set. After one final thunderous drop with First of the Year, Skrillex jumps off the podium, collects a packet of Camel cigarettes from a roadie (who’s been waiting with them diligently for the last few songs), fist-pumps and lets out an excited “Woo!” before quickly disappearing into the car that’s waiting behind the stage to collect him.

But that’s not the last we’ll see of Sonny Moore today: rather than retreating back to his dressing room for the remainder of the day (not that there’s anything wrong with that), Skrillex seems intent on checking out what else his touring contingent has to offer. He’s spotted at Sven Vath’s set at The Likes Of You stage and even jumps on stage to tag-team with Knife Party on Zoology. Come headliner time, we walk through Aphex Twin’s side of stage just as Skrillex pops his head around the corner. A fan standing right next to the barrier spots him and Skrillex graciously obliges with a photo. We stop to speak him briefly (again, he’s gracious) before he raises his litre-full bottle vodka in salute and strolls into the pit for the prime Aphex vantage point.

Die Antwoord are no joke

At the Likes of You tent, Die Antwoord’s Ninja, Yo-Landi and DJ Hi-Tek make an inconspicuous dash onto the stage, disguised by hoods and giant jumpsuits – Yo-Landi, however, distinguishable by the fact that she looks literally half the size of the other two. But a few songs into the set, a young audience member barges on to the stage and Ninja angrily tries to push him away. At first the scruff looks like it could be part of the show, but when a troupe of security run backstage to pull him away, it’s obvious it was just an over-zealous (and soon to be ejected) festival goer.

While security are dragging him away, Ninja runs backstage in pursuit of the trespasser looking pretty pissed-off – for all the talk of Die Antwoord being a “joke” band, in this off-camera moment Ninja looks every inch the hyper-aggro character he’s made out to be. Likewise, when I walk past Ninja and Yo-Landi later that evening having dinner and nervously half smile at Ninja, all I get back is a steely gaze. I still love them, but yes: Die Antwoord are pretty intimidating in real life. It seems the Likes of You tent’s following act, Sci+Tec boss Dubfire, feels much the same, writing on his Facebook: “While it’s been a bit challenging playing after @DieAntwoord, I must admit I’m really digging them :-)”.

Chase & Status love the live thing

We speak to Will Kennard from Chase & Status about graduating from a DJ set-up to a full live band with a frontman and drummer. “With acts like The Prodigy and Pendulum setting a precedent for what you can achieve in a band set-up, we started to think when we were writing our album No More Idols: will this track make people go crazy at Glastonbury?” he says.

So how did they feel seeing Skrillex up there with a much smaller set-up than theirs? “I was almost a bit bitter about it,” he laughs. “I can’t believe it! I’m only joking. Sonny is such a character; he’s an infectious guy. When he’s on the mic, it’s a bit different from what we do, because our frontman Rage is always telling people to go absolutely crazy, and Sonny has to tell them to calm down a bit!”

Sven Vath is having a ball

Looking right at home in the Likes Of You tent (well, he pretty much is at home there), Papa Sven was in his usual fine form. Check out his own gallery of happy snaps below for proof.

The DFA crew’s a tight bunch

But as we’re filming a tour diary with DFA duo Holy Ghost, a decent chunk of the day is spent following the pair around. We kick things off with a interview with the band (Alex and Nick), but our position right behind the Ear Storm Records stage means the heavy wubbs of Kill the Noise pretty much drown the conversation out. While the others take the interview reins, I hang back and talk to Holy Ghost!’s manager and ask whether all the DFA guys hang out together on tour. “Well, James [Murphy] and the guys are really good friends, so they hang out a lot,” he responds.

Come 6pm, it’s time for Holy Ghost!’s set at the tucked-away DFA Records stage. It’s a hub of DFA activity: with most of the acts having the dressing rooms situated just adjacent to the stage, the various performers come and go and as Holy Ghost kick off, Juan Maclean hangs back to watch the set. Soon, Pat Mahoney and DFA’s leading man James Murphy join us, and the pair begin to lug massive bags of vinyl onto the stage with them for their DJ set – a far cry from Skrillex’s lone Macbook and Trigger Finger.

Of course, this only scratches the surface of what went on during the day. Check out our full review from Brisbane Future Music Festival to hear more!