Delving into Darwin Deez

Thank Baba for Darwin Deez.

When you’re born into a world where your parents are disciples to an ‘out there’ Indian Mystic, Meher Baba, you’re half African American but completely white in skin tone and have Jerry curls that are more reflective of being Jewish than that of mixed race ancestry; ending up in showbiz seems inevitable. But thank Meher Baba that Darwin Deez did. It would be a dull world indeed without him and his music.

Borrowing his last name ‘Deez’ from his bass player Michelle Dorrance, Darwin (aka Darwin Smith) is a beautiful contradiction to the current electronic trend of today’s music industry. One such treat is his self-made mash-up album of hip-hop and samples from the movie Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, titled Wonky Beats. “I did most of it on tour. I was just looking for a little fun project, something to get the creative juices flowing again. I don’t know where I got the idea from but I remembered a Lil Wayne song which I had already sampled,” Deez explains proudly. While he laments his inability to record anything with a guitar on tour due to being confined to his laptop, his next mix tape project is another matter. “I came up with the idea of making another mix tape focused on Paula Abdul songs exclusively from her album Forever Your Girl.”

As an artist, Darwin is very much at home with the unconventional, greatly reflected through his freeform vocals, modern lyrics and quirky melodies. A perfect example of this is his modern-day love song Radar Detector. Speaking about the film clip, “Radar Detector was made with a lot of help from the director. I’d had ideas about the video and it was better that they were rejected (though it was frustrating at the time) as the video was a success and that’s all that matters,” he tells. Where other artists have failed, Darwin has succeeded in maintaining the synchronicity of his style within the clips (even with minimal creative input) via his insightful self-branding. “I kind of like pick out some trends from six years ago, like my moustache and my headband, and they’ve stuck,” he notes.

Returning to Australia for Groovin’ the Moo Festival, Darwin’s fans are not just limited to ticket holders. Fellow touring artist AC Slater, whom Deez previously toured with as part of Parklife in 2010, credited Darwin’s live show as being the best live show of 2010. “His set is just pure fun” says Slater. In return, Darwin himself was caught enjoying some dubstep during AC’s Melbourne set. “I got really into techno at Parklife. That was fun.” When asked if he would allow AC to recruit him into a new “Rat Pack” during Groovin’ the Moo (AC creating ‘Team Trouble’ while on the Parklife tour, read out AC Slater interview for more) Darwin replies, “Maybe we can take the friendship to the next level. I think we could make that happen.” This fan certainly hopes so.

Michelle Sawyer, March 2011

Darwin Deez likes this interview, do you?

Groovin’ the Moo 2011: Bendigo Review

It’s more than just the fresh country air that makes the Moo one of the best festivals going.

There was not a vacancy sign flashing along the Calder Highway Hotel strip into Bendigo’s centre. Benders was packed tighter than the King Gees of a trucker.

True to form, the typical friendly/family country attitude was in full swing; from the Lions Club running the car park, to the VIP media tent filled with familiar faces with their plus one pals, (the free friend media pass greatly appreciated by us working folk). There were no warm up acts on this bill, with crowds gathering early to catch locals The Holidays, The Jezabels and Horrorshow.

Darwin Deez proved why he is voted one of the best live acts around with their fun set which featured not only their fab tracks, but some fancy-pants choreographed band dances, that could only be Deez. I will admit, I’m partial to anyone who also shares my affection for Enya’s Orinoco Flow. Just as crazy was Datarock dressed head to toe in their trademark red tracksuits – the ultimate in festival attire. The mostly chiffon shirt, shorts and onesies wearing crowd must have missed that memo.

Princess Washington showed us why she wears the crown as Australia’s best vocalist with her bang-on pitch performance. As The Go! Team wrapped up in Moolin Rouge, I moo-ved back over to The Udder Stage to catch House Of Pain. The grassy paddock of the showgrounds shook as ten thousand fans launched off their feet to Jump Around.

Gyroscope, as all good Aussie blokes do, BYO’d Betty the Blow Up Doll to the party. She proved to be one of the best crowd surfers I’ve ever seen. The Drums lead singer, Jonathan Pierce matched her with his own twists and turns as he moved on stage like the bastard child of Talking Heads and Joy Division. It was wonderful, and got my tastebuds for quirky moosic prepped and ready in time for Gotye.

The day had turned to night as Wally, aka Gotye, showed off his incredibly eclectic range of musical talents. Art Vs Science was also very vocal, attempting to make the first ever indoor/outdoor shower tent, sweaty stuff to say the least. Whilst the bulk of the crowd flocked back after the Aussie trio finished to see Birds Of Tokyo, I stayed at Moolin and enjoyed the synthetic stylings of AC Slater. The extra dance space much appreciated as my fellow hardcore Dub Step fans and I flung ourselves about.

I’d like to say I remember more of what was a fantastically fun day, but frankly after The Wombats, my brain jumped the fence and became lost in a spin of sound by UNKLE and Cut Copy.

Michelle Sawyer, May 2011.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2011 – Opening Night Allstars Supershow

Reviewing comedy is no laughing matter.

It was certainly a night for star gazing as the comedy constellation shone over the Palais Theatre for the Melbourne Comedy Festival’s Opening Night Allstars Supershow (30th March 2011), because even the D-grade stars (otherwise known as TV weathermen) were out. But I wasn’t there to rubberneck the audience; I was there to review the show. Being Gen Y, I’ve annotated my feelings on the stand-ups through emoticons.

:-) (Smiley Face)
Tim Minchin: His unique darkness and penchant for twisting a sweet story about having a baby into one about accidental murder (all to music), was a clever complement to the traditional stand-up list.
Tommy Tiernan: Good, but safe opening, sticking with what he knows – jokes about Ireland and Irish people.
Fiona O’Loughlin: Her performance was solid, fresh and original. If it meant to awaken awkward repressed childhood memories, job done.
The Pajama Men: Literally two guys in PJs doing skits felt like being at a mate’s place late on a Saturday night watching them go to town with random observational physical humour.
Jeff Green: Why is it, out of his entire set, all I remember is that he was recently married and a slow driver?
The Sandman: He’s still got it, nuff said.
Carl Baron: Simple, understated brilliance.
Hannah Gadsby: She’s funny; just wish more of her relaxed, organic humour would come through on Adam Hill’s Live From Gordon Street.
Caroline Rhea: A genuinely good import who’s happy to be approached by her fans. Just don’t ask whether the cat on Sabrina is real or not.
David O’Doherty: His hips don’t lie. Very curious about what’s over the O’Doherty rainbow.
Eddie Ifft: I feel very self conscious about my driving now. Cheers Ed.
Mark Watson: Like his material. Hot, hot, hot.
Carl-Einar Häckner: All my dreams have come true – a Swede, an Elvis jumpsuit and a banana – brilliant.
Sam Simmons: Some things are better left unsaid and it’s a good thing Sam knows this.
Arj Baker: Refreshingly funny, insightful new material and if what he said is true, newly single – nothing but wins.

:-( (Frowny Face)
Paul Foot: We’ll chalk this up as a “rookie mistake”. His talent was evident (being produced by non other than the Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding), but he’d forgotten to consider to whom he was performing. Gay Jokes and the Melbourne Arts community don’t mix like a rum and coke.
Blue Grassy Knoll: Buster Keaton film footage timed with their 1950’s style sound was artistic, but it didn’t hit the mark for the last set of the night.
Nazeem Hussain: Being the ethnicity that Nazeem is was the only reason he got away with making fun of terrorism and call centres. You gotta be in the club to make these skits work – or it’s not really PC, felt a bit like watching the token black guy in a teen flick. Aside from that he was funny.

:-/ (Annoyed Face)
Felicity Ward: Demonstrated a cat going to town on their privates during dinner. I like cats but I don’t like seeing a grown woman try to lick the lower half. She did manage to find the one audience member who was a genuine cat lady to speak to though.
Peter Helliar: Followed Flick’s anus licking cat impression with a dog sucking on a footballer’s balls. Surprise, shock, horror, Helliar’s set was all about sport. Didn’t work on TV, doesn’t work in stand-up. Epic Fail.
Smart Casual: Two guys and a guitar. Song was ok, but all been done before, better.
Garfunkel & Oates: Their love song with lots of profanity and subtle hints of sadomasochism did not live up to the hype.
Charlie Pickering: Spoke about The 7pm Project. I know comedians take their source material from their own lives, but think this shows maybe ol’ Chuck should get one.Yawn.
Greg Fleet & Mick Moriarty: Jumper Pants. Um, yeah so where’s the joke?

Michelle Sawyer, March 2011.

Sawyer Vs Bag Raiders: The Rematch

Singing into laptops at Malaysian airports, Mothers sharing cabs with The Chemical Brothers… Welcome to the world of the Bag Raiders.

The last time we spoke to the Bag Raiders’ Chris Stracey, the band’s musical exploits were confined to a DJ booth and hit single Shooting Stars… it’s astonishing how much can change in just six short months. In October of 2010, Chris Stracey and Jack Glass had just begun showing off their new live act at Parklife, which was then followed closely with a national live tour to celebrate the launch of their eponymous debut album. Add to that the release of their single Way Back Home, complete with all-in-one-take film clip starring themselves, a trip over to Brazil as part of the Smirnoff Night Life Exchange, a stack of local New Year’s shows, Good Vibrations Music Festival and a collaboration with Dan Black. “We did around, including Parklife, close to 30 shows. Our national tour finished on December 7 in Perth on a beach… that was like a really cool way to end it, but it was a pretty intense couple of months,” states Stracey.

Having expanded their talents from simply being confined behind the decks as a traditional DJ act, the Bag Raiders are now are a fully functioning live band; complete with electronic drums, keyboards and vocals. Understandably it has been an adjustment for the dynamic duo to bring it all together. “Neither of us are really singers, but both of us can kind of sing, so we thought we may as well do it ourselves. And since we had all male vocals on the album as well, it was just a lot easier, especially logistics-wise because we didn’t have just one guy who did all vocals,” he admits.

One of those vocalists was UK producer and DJ sensation, the aforementioned Dan Black. “Working with him was kind of weirdly hilarious because the whole thing took place on email. There was this moment when we were kind of re-singing the vocal lines in the chorus for suggestions to send to Dan as to how it could work at this Malaysian noodle house in the airport at Kuala Lumpur. People were staring at us going like, “Who are these weirdos, singing into a laptop next to a bowl of their noodle soup?” With their collaborative single, Sunlight racing up the Billboard charts in the US, Bag Raiders are set to tackle the American market head on as part of Ultra Music Festival 2011.

The pinnacle of festivals for electronic artists combined with the achievement of being billed against one of Stracey’s own personal inspirations, The Chemical Brothers, is something he is incredibly proud of. Though he admits he has yet to see them live, Stracey’s mother of all people beat him to the punch with a chance encounter during a shared cab ride on a rainy day in Melbourne. “She said to them, ‘Oh my son’s in a band’”. Before they leave for Miami, Bag Raiders will be squeezing in a show at Melbourne’s premier weekend party/nightclub, Superdisco. Asked if he still has time to watch his favourite show, Grey’s Anatomy on his laptop, Stracey happily replies, “Yes I totally do! I’m currently on top of that and am now up-to-date with Private Practice (as well).”

So while it’s great to see these deserving Sydney lads blossom, it’s good to know that some things will never change.

Michelle Sawyer, February 2011.

A Quick Q & A with Laidback Luke

Laidback Luke is about to embark on his first Australian solo tour. After owning crowds at Winter Sound System in 2010, the Dutch DJ is about to show some of Australia’s most iconic houses of dance some love. Giving us one of our best Q and A’s yet, Laidback Luke shows us there’s a lot more to love about him than just his music.

The last time you were in Australia was for Winter Sound System 2010, where you played on the Godskitchen stage. I got to see your set at the Melbourne show, how was that tour for you?
Yeah, that tour was fine! It’s always good to play in Australia. I still think it’s amazing how much support I get and how many people know my music.

You really seemed to be enjoying your set. What are your memories of this set that have lasted?
Melbourne’s Godskitchen (stage) was kind of weird to play as I’m not a trance DJ. But it was certainly cool to give it a shot and bring some trance 2.0. Experimenting a lot with it now. It’s the emo of trance meets the sexyness of housebeats. I always enjoy my sets as I just love DJing!

You had the crowd peaking! What’s your secret to getting both yourself and the crowd pumped? Have you tapped into a formula of sorts over the years?
I do enjoy the dance floor energy a lot. Back in the day I experimented a lot of how this works actually. It’s a way of bringing the tracks and to have a balance in your sets. I like to keep it explosive.

Having done big dance tours like Winter Sound System and now doing your own tour, which do you prefer?
I don’t know yet! It will be interesting to see how this tour goes. I know Australia is a festival country so I’m taking a bit of a risk of only doing clubs now. Fingers crossed!

Coming from the Netherlands, you’ve worked a lot with the guys from Swedish House Mafia (Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso & Steve Angello). Have you felt influenced by what these guys are currently doing with house music in your own work?
Yes for sure! Mainly Steve Angello changed the way I produce back in 2005. Seeing how he worked in his studio was a revolution to me. I adapted their way of working and it worked so well for me! I still incorporate a lot of their production ways into my sound.

Do you still get excited when you’re at a club and you hear someone shout out “play Show me Love”?
Hmmm well kinda! I’d do love to always bring and play my newer stuff though. But I get it people know me for that and if someone requests the song, I’ll play it no doubt!

You have worked with some of the big names lately; David Guetta, Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Diplo and Christina Aguilera – who have been your favorites?
It’s really hard for me to say as I enjoyed all collabs very much! It’s just about having the chemistry and the excitement in the studio when doing so. This way you always get to a good result.

You’re playing at some iconic dance venues during your tour (Billboard in Melbourne, Platinum on the Gold Coast) is there anywhere on your tour that you are particularly looking forward to playing at?
Some places I know and some I don’t. It’s really hard to say. City wise, I really feel comfortable in Melbourne but maybe it’s good for me to get some needed tan as well in the Gold Coast as it’s wintertime in Europe now. Freezing!

What is your favorite place in the world that you’ve played?
At the moment I really enjoy playing the US and the UK. The amount of support I get there is mind-blowing at the moment!

Your Laidback Luke logo looks a lot like a Transformer Autobot logo. Where you a big fan as a kid (or are you just a big kid who’s still a fan)?
Yes, I’m just a big kid who’s still a fan! I’ve always been a fan of Transformers. To now finally have a logo that links to that, and me often doing the robot dance behind the decks (ha ha), is a dream come true!

When you first got into music you were a lot more into Hip Hop than house, taking your name from Snoop’s track Gin & Juice. Why did you decide to become a house DJ rather than a rapper?
Lol! I was never good at rapping omg. At one point, Hip Hop lost it’s party energy to me. This energy I found in House music and just fell in love forever with it.

Would your rapper name have been different from your DJ name?
Most likely! I probably would be called Little Late Lowlife Luke as a rapper ; )

Having your own label, Mixmash, you would probably get approached a lot by wannabe DJs trying to give you their work. What’s the weirdest thing a fan/wannabe DJ has done to try to meet you?
Awww, well no! I believe all DJs who approach me are very serious about it. Sometimes people get impatient by waiting for my feedback, or some kids will have an attitude. Other than that, no weird things at all! I’m very open for new talent. I think it’s all about the next generation and I work hard to keep this house music thing going and to pass it on. I’m training an army on my forum on www.laidbackluke.com kids who I trained that came from there are Afrojack, Bart B. More, Avicii and Angger Dimas amongst others! More on the way…

Michelle Sawyer, December 2010

Acid Jacks

Burn Outs, Cats, Echo Friendly Gardening – can’t work out the connection? Read on.

This is usually the part where I’d write a blurb about the interview, pick out a few unusual subject topics, but really it’s hard to know where to being with this one (for obvious reasons should you choose to read on).

So should I call you Acid Jacks, Antonio…

Just call me Anto. My mother doesn’t even call me Acid Jacks, though sometimes I’ll be walking down the street and these dudes will be doing burn outs and then someone will yell out ‘Oh it’s F***n’ Acid Jacks”. I tend to provoke that kind of response, though it’s a bit embarrassing in front of the wife and kids.

Have we started?

Just switched on my recorder then.

That’s ok you can just make up a beginning.

I noticed you seem to have a bit of an affinity to cats? You called your first EP Apocalypse Meow.

I definitely in the last year or two have become really obsessed with cats. I’m actually allergic to cats. But I was playing at this club in Melbourne, Superdisco, who are also obsessed with cats, all their marketing revolves around cats, and I thought this is my thing. And cats are cute!

So are you a fan of LolCats (http://lolcats.com/)?

That’s the weird thing, I haven’t quite caught up with cats on the internet yet. Amazingly.

I kind of think that cats are really vile animals, like they kind of only come to you when they feel like it. The opposite of dogs. Dogs are great. Dogs are like your best friend. Cats are like your lazy flat mate. They’re all “oh yer, what’s going on, maybe I’ll rub past your leg”.

Cats are all “what have you done for me lately”.

But they’re cute! Like cute with a big K. Have we started?

Yep, all legitimate questions. I’ll do a music one. How was your show (for Sonic Boom Box Roadshow) in Sydney with Andy (Murphy)?

It was ok.

Was he being a bit of a superstar about his Inthemix top 50 poll ranking?

No I think I freaked Andy out a bit. We don’t often play together and it was one of those things where he knew I was playing after him, so he got like “oh, I want to impress, maybe I’ll play techno or something”. I think that freaked him out a bit and then I came on and was like, “hey man this place is full of girls, just play like some Afrojack and shit that they know, for a bit”. I like to sort of rope them in with the hope that I’ll play some songs that they might know the words to and then I f***ing rape them. That’s my thing. From that point of few it was a good show. And the last half an hour I just went in to dub step.

Never seems to fail at the moment.

Where are we going to go from here. I know from there I went to drum step. And then I went to hip hop. That’s my thing. I know, it sounds horrible. It’s kind of like the stranger with the candy.

Is Dubstep what DJs play if all else fails at the moment, the new Top 40?

Yer, it’s a bit like that isn’t it. I think it’s one of those things, and I’m pretty open to genres. When I started DJing 15 years ago I was a drum and bass DJ. So my journey has been everything from house to tech house, hip hop, rock, you know whatever it is, Acid. My evolving was sort of like, don’t be afraid of the genres.

There’s good music in whatever the genre is. The minute we start bottling down and go ‘oh no, this is dubstep so there for its that crowd’. It’s really strange when people start to peg what they like based on pre conceived ideas of who likes that music. Like when people go.

I think that’s more so, where I come from, like “you didn’t come to think, you came to rave.” It’s all good on the tour of cool. My buddy Generik, he’s a Melbourne DJ, he came up with the tour of cool, because he’s on a constant tour of cool. Everything is good on the tour of cool.

Acid Jacks is a pretty apt name for you then, because to me, Acid kinds of moulds everything together.

That’s an interesting way of thinking bout it. Over the years I’ve coped a lot of crap from purists, because if you have a name which sounds like a genre then you’re gonna just open yourself up to “oh, play acid music”. “Dude you tell me what is Acid music, it’s 2011, this is acid music.” It’s all house music in 2011.

To me acid is like a philosophy, its not about a specific sound, I can do that and I do do that, my whole new album is based around 303, but it’s kind of like I don’t make a point to say ‘this is an acid track’.

How come you’re not coming to play the Roadshow gig in Melbourne?

I am playing the one with Calvin Harris. I think the press releases have been a little bit Andy biast. Cause I’m with Modular, a lot of my shows haven’t been listed I think for the PR. I’m playing the awesome shows ok.

Hey I’m not judging.

I’m playing the ones where they wanted awesomeness and Andy is playing the one’s were they needed the little be of extra sell, like he’s got all these Facebook friends. I love Andy though, he’s great.

I have a few quick Yes no Acid questions for you. Do you own a pair of Acid wash jeans?

Ahh. No.

Do you prefer drinks that have lemon and lime in them because they’re more acidic?

Ahh. Yes.

When you play gigs at clubs and there’s a lot of condensation on the roof from the heat, is that actually Acid rain?

Ooh. Yes. Do you want the short answer?

No, you can give a longer answer if you want.

I’m like a real eco warrior, so start about the acid rain ‘cause I could on about it for days.

What’s that all about, one minute you’re a dance terrorist and then you’re an eco warrior.

I’m actually into sustainable gardening. I grow everything.

What are you most proud of that you’ve grown?

My cherry tomatoes and egglplant. I’m just a wog. You wanna a cherry tomato on that? I kind of approach the whole wog thing with a bit of tongue in cheek. As woggy as I get is dropping wogstomper. It’s this very specific type of electro house, which will appeal to this lowest common denominator dance floor. If you need to drop a track which is going to devastate the crowd, then you can’t go wrong with a wogstomper.

Michelle Sawyer, February 2011.

Andy Murphy

To say this Melbourne lad likes a party is an understatement.

His name has been plastered over many of 2010’s biggest festivals, it’s synonymous with Superdisco and Onelove, and is rapidly earning him a place alongside some of the current industry greats. We are talking about Melbourne DJ Andy Murphy.

His latest offering Onelove’s Sonic Boom Box compilation is currently soaring the Australian dance charts, about to commence on a national tour with superstar Scotsman Calvin Harris, a fellow Melbournian, I sat down to find out how this all came about and compare clubbing notes…

How was the Sydney Sonic Boom Box Roadshow gig?

It was awesome, great fun. I always love playing up there, kind of always end up having a big night which is good. It is such a big tour for me, literally doing two or three gigs a week, and on the road for the next two to three months; takes me all around Australia.

How did you become involved with the Onelove crew?

This is my fourth compilation with the guys now. I was literally just doing the 10 – 12 early shift, and kept working at it, got a little bit of a following and got the 12 – 2 shift, started doing my own production, then came the compilations. My first was Smash Your Stereo in ‘07, then last year I did one in January and the one in August.

Those compilations have received a massive response in the dance world.

This time it’s alongside Calvin Harris, and you don’t get much bigger than that.
Did you get to meet Calvin previously on the Steresonic 2010 tour?

Yeah, I met him at Stereosonic and he was lovely. We had a bottle of champagne and it was getting a bit crazy, so looking forward to playing with him again, hopefully it will be a big night.

Being a Melbourne boy, I have to ask, did you ever go to Twister in your younger years?

I’ve never been to Twister. I should put that on my resume: “I’ve never been to Twister”.

I’m from the West, so I guess that’s where you went when you were young. Where were the sort of places you used to go when you were underage?

I used to go to Chasers underage, it’s kind of like Twister in its own way, but then I got a love for DJing there, and once I turned 18, I was lucky enough to get gigs at Room pretty much straight away. So Room was one of my first hang outs, then Seven, then Prince.

Prince is pretty cool.

The Prince is my favourite.

It’s a pretty good set up in terms of a venue.

Yeah. I love playing Superdisco there now, which is the new night there on Saturdays.

Are you looking forward to going down to Geelong where there is such a burgeoning dance scene and playing at Home House, which is a little bit like the old Twister?

I’ve played there before. It’s a big venue. I just love playing to big crowds… doesn’t really matter where the crowds are, I find that I can adapt pretty well to different locations and I’m just looking forward to hopefully a big gig down in Geelong.

You’re really all over the place in terms of the amount of festivals you’ve played. You did Falls Festival, which is traditionally more of a rock festival as opposed to one like Stereosonic and Summadayze. Which do you prefer?

They are both great in there own ways. At Falls, I probably mix up what I play a lot more. Like if you’re playing at a festival like Falls and you know that the crowd is going to be there to see some bands, I try and play some more band remixes so they hear something they kind of connect with and know.

There seems to be a trend at the moment were a lot of DJs, like with Armand and A-Trak who are getting together and doing the double up act. Is that something you want to do?

Well I am already working with a lot of different artists, but I have this side project called Jam Express, which is with DJ George who used to be signed to Defected and has come from a really traditional house background. We’re working on a new disco sound very similar to Armand Van Helden with Duck Sauce at the moment. I think these collaborations are great. You’re putting two heads together and as the saying goes, two heads are better than one.

Or three heads, if you look at Swedish House Mafia and what those guys are doing for dance.

Exactly.

Speaking of those guys, you recently went to Miami and New York, did you do a G6 and have a SHM moment or anything like that whilst you were there?

Ahhh, I did party a lot (laughs). I got my party on in style, especially in Hollywood and recently in Vegas as well, but didn’t do any G6’s just yet.

I was so naive my friend asked me at New Year’s if I wanted to do one and I was like “What’s that?” So he replied “Like the song”, and I was like “I still don’t know what that is”.

Well actually, embarrassingly, someone mentioned a G6 to me the other day and I was like “What’s that?” and they said “Like the song” and I replied ‘What’s the G6 song?” So I’m even more naïve because I hadn’t even heard of the G6 song. (laughs)

My final question I’ve been busting to ask, is you did a whole bunch of YouTube clips to promote your INTHEMIX Top 50 poll vote. Where did you get that florescent yellow jump suit? Was it a jumpsuit or was it a two piece?

It’s a two-piece. It’s a matching Adidas tracksuit. It’s not mine, I swear

It’s not something you would wear again like at a gig?

Might come out again. At an ‘80s do or something, or maybe I need to do a new video this year.

Michelle Sawyer, February 2011.

AC Slater

Just a cool guy living the NY dream, really…

It’s hard to call somebody cool and not have it come across as condescending these days. But that is exactly what AC Slater is – just one very cool guy. He’s the dude everyone wants to be friends with, who goes beyond just being the ringleader. He is the man who prints up the matching “Team Trouble” T-shirts. Having cemented his skills as part of the Parklife 2010 tour, AC is about to come back to do it all again for Groovin’ The Moo in 2011.

Whilst AC Slater certainly has earned himself an array of dedicated Aussie fans, he is just as big a fan of Australia. “For me Australia is like number one. I’m not just saying that (because you’re an Australian) but it’s my favourite place to play. I don’t know why but the energy is just incredible there and the people are just hungry for music. I love it. It’s just so much fun,” he says. Having recently finished a tour of Canada, AC Slater certainly proves himself to be quite the connoisseur of parties. “I feel like Canada is somewhere between, in terms of personality, of the US and the UK as far as parties go. It’s just wild and they just love anything and are so open to new music.”

During his tour with Parklife, AC formed (what he lovingly dubs as his f***ed up family), Team Trouble with a few of his fellow touring artists Uffie, Chiddy Bang, Jack Beats and Jesse Rose. When asked if he would recruit fellow Groovin’ The Moo artist Darwin Deez to his team he replies, “I hope so.” With Darwin also part of the Parklife tour, AC Slater credits his fellow US artist as “Amazing. His set’s are just straight fun”, though laments that he was not able to see the full set due to a scheduling issue; something he hopes won’t happen again this time round. And it seems that the admiration is mutual, with Darwin caught dancing ardently amongst the rest of AC Slater’s followers during his Melbourne set, something at least this fan hopes to witness again.

AC SLATER – “TAKE YOU FEAT. NINJASONIK” from Trouble & Bass on Vimeo.

Based in Brooklyn, near the infamous NY music hub of Williamsburg, AC confirms to Citysearch the hype surrounding the mushrooming musical Mecca. “Yeah it’s really cool. It’s a nice little community. You see people all the time and it’ll be like A-Trak and whoever. I really enjoy living here a lot,” he beams. While he may have recently moved to LA to avoid the New York winter, AC will always be a true New Yorker at heart and remains humble as he describes how it all started. “When I was younger everyone called me AC, it’s my initials, and then people started calling me AC Slater (from Saved By The Bell) as a joke. So when I had to pick a DJ name I just kind of went with it as a joke and it stuck!”

It’s fair to say, the US teen TV show has had more than just an influence on his name with AC using samples from the show in a number of his remixes. Faced with the choice of who would feature in a Saved By The Bell skit music video, AC laughs as he reels of the lead characters. “I would probably put Drop the Lime as Zack, I’d have to incorporate my whole Trouble and Bass crew in there and maybe make Udachi Screech. We could make, Moby Mr. Belding.”

Michelle Sawyer, March 2011.

Arj Baker’s Eleven @ Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2011

Two words – Honey Badger.

In what Arj himself calls one of his most ‘revealing’ shows to date, the Jogger-Americanis, a regular visitor to our sunburnt country, certainly knows his territory (that being our territory), delivering a stand up show of exactly what we Aussies want to hear. His knowledge of Melbourne’s botanic gardens alone should be enough to grant him citizenship.

Taking a massive assault on mother nature (not because he hates her but just because he can and someone needs to), his ex-girlfriend, Neapolitan ice-cream, honey badgers and a childhood pet; Eleven is not so much a reveal into the man himself but to his art for building a joke. So is Eleven worth the price of admission?

As Arj encourages his audience ‘if you liked the show, tell your friends to come see it. And if you didn’t, tell them to come see me anyway and bring them down with you.”

Michelle Sawyer, March 2011.

Drop The Lime – Sawyersays.com Exclusive

Rockabilly, Manhattans & James Dean; these are the things that maketh the man, if you are Drop the Lime.

In a world where the DJ is rapidly taking over the title of ‘Pop Prince’ (or Princess), Drop the Lime remains refreshingly different. Always one to add a twist, Drop the Lime combines traditional genres – Latin blends with progressive house beats as smoothly as a Manhattan on the rocks (stirred not shaken). Having played at Stereosonic in 2009 and returning on a national tour in 2011, Drop the Lime has grown affection for one of our premiere dance clubs, Superdisco.

“I love the Prince. I love, love, love it. It’s one of my favourite clubs” says Luca Venezia aka Drop the Lime. Joining the Princely party will be Melbourne DJ Acid Jacks, one of many converts to Luca’s Trouble & Bass label. “We’ve been chatting and doing a few tunes together. He’s got a little bit of the rockabilly sense like me and we’ve been doing a bootleg of the track Wipeout by the Safaris. We share that Italian connection, so it’s always fun to hang out with him”, says Drop the Lime.

More than just a fan of James Dean, his affection for rockabilly has inevitably etched its way past his Grandfather’s lime green 1950’s motorcycle and greased hair to now heavily feature in his music. “I used to release music under the name Curses, and I made a song where I sampled the saying ‘You’re tearing me apart!’” His latest single, Hot As Hell, is a tasty example of what to expect from his highly anticipated debut album Enter The Night (due out May 2011). “I grew up on it (rockabilly), I never wanted to incorporate it into my club sound, but over time I started playing a lot more of it. Eventually it just made sense and people started catching on.”

Fellow Brooklyn based DJ AC Slater (also signed to Trouble & Bass) is a strong supporter of Drop the Lime’s music, dubbing his smash single Sex Sax as the best track of 2010. Luca explains “Sex Sax is such a festival tune. Believe it or not I actually made that song in Australia when I played at Stereosonic. I invented it as a DJ tool to transition between more organic live sounds to really hard techno sounds and everybody just kept asking me “What’s that tune?” So I made it into a real song.” Drop the Lime is just as open in his own praise for artists AC Slater, French wunderkind Surkin and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Hamm. “Rather than do a remix, I would love to do a collaboration (with QOTSA). Talking about it right now is the first time I’ve thought of doing it, but I would love to. I need to make that happen.”

With a large following in Europe thanks to a residency at UK Mecca-club Fabric, Drop the Lime remains unusually quiet when it comes to his presence on social media. “I don’t know how long that’s going to last. I think I’ve learned my lesson where you see a lot of people tweet and blast out whatever it is they have on their mind. I think that if you’re at a certain level (like at festivals) then it’s okay, anything goes. But I’m not there yet. I still think there’s a long way to go. I haven’t reached my goal yet of where I want to be and I don’t want to f*** it up by talking about some girl’s boobs on Twitter. The boobs will twitter themselves.”

Michelle Sawyer, April 2011.

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