August 22, 2014

If You're Thinking of Spinning in: OZ

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Australia is a big place, where’s the best opportunity for DJs looking to get their Oz on? The East Coast is more DJ-centric, specifically Melbourne, according to Andre Cato, a DJ industry educator and owner of 12am. 

OK, I’ll bite: Apparently, Melbourne boasts DJs of all styles 7/24. It’s cool enough for DJs like Carl Cox and Eric Powell to make their home away from home—both own businesses and homes here. 

But I’m not an arena-DJ, so what hope do I have of edging out Carl Cox for a gig? As they say here “Down Under”: none. But DJs in Melbourne are lucky; not only is there a thriving club, bar and party scene, but it’s also the headquarters for many of the large DJ companies—Pioneer, Numark, NI and M Audio all have their headquarters in Melbourne and regularly run ongoing product training, endorsement opportunities and launches.

Fine, but is Melbourne the sort of place where I can wear my Gucci glasses and rasta hat—you know, let my freak flag fly? Melbourne is a multi-cultural melting pot, according to Cato, “Whether you wear Gucci glasses and lip gloss, a rasta hat and dreads or a Turban with a twist of Bollywood…”

I only wear lip-gloss when I drink… “Over recent years we have seen the landscape changing in Melbourne,” Cato tells us. “We are hearing less of the Sasha and Digweed sets of old, where we would go on a 5+ hour journey with the artist, and we are seeing many more DJs being put on the lineup in shorter 1.5 – 2.5 hour sets.”

Sounds like to “Get Over” in the “Down Under,” I gotta bring my commercial set, no? Music with a commercial edge, meaning ticket or bar sales, will always win over creativity, according to Cato. “However, in Melbourne many venues are breaking ground in VJ and audio entertainment and driving the more commercial venues to far more exciting projects for DJs.”

Do I gotta bring my own stripper pole? Cuz that’s a bitch to check… “Even the best Hip Hop DJs walk around now with a USB drive, computer or CDJ under their arm to perform,” Cato tells us. “When I helped Pioneer launch the CDJ1000, back in May 2001, we found it hard to get any professionals to even turn up. Within six months of that launch, all DJs travelling to Australia started using CDs….They don’t get lost on planes so easily!”

Book em?: Room680, in Hawthorn; The Palace (previously Metro Nightclub) in the City; and Prince of Wales Band Room in St. Kilda has always been the favorite for DJs.

Who am I gonna call?: The more a promoter knows about you or the more they can find out from your social interaction online is a massive help. You need to remember that Australia is a long way away from many of your hometowns, so be prepared to educate people on who you are as an entertainer. Videos and audio from previous gigs will always help showcase you and what you can offer Australian audiences.

 Tip: When you call a promoter, tell him you think Australian Rules football should be applied to golf.

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