Category Archives: Writing

Dave Clarke

When I found out I was to interview Dave Clarke about his latest album The Devils Advocate and his imminent tour of Australia, I was a little nervous. I had heard he was a horror to interview, but now I think it’s because he’s a complex individual and most of the music press is like the press in general – it finds complexity discomforting and unwieldy. The thoughts and the knowledge Clarke relates are more suited to academic texts than a short interview designed to fill up advertising space. I found him to be quite personable, if a little brisk, but it was rather early in the morning in the UK, and most people are grumpy in the mornings. Initially I thought the Devils Advocate was a reference to the mash of styles over the album. Clarke assures me my presumption was wrong. “It’s more to do with my personality”, he states. “I like to make people think a different way and play devils advocate.” Through the course of the conversation I began to get a sense of what he meant.

Other people I’ve interviewed who have burned by record companies in the manner Clarke has been come across as jaded, and I was curious to know if Clarke was the same. “I was already jaded. I came to planet earth a jaded person,” he jokes. “I wasn’t the only one who was screwed by them, there was Felix the House Cat, Thomas Schumaker, Timo Maas and others. But you deal with it and you move on and hopefully you put it behind you as best you can.” However, from bad things come good, and Clarke’s first single after this episode was an “internet-only” download. “That worked out really well,” he says. “I was just a little nervous to see if people were still interested (in me), and I just wanted to do something fun with it.” The single went on to be so popular a run of about 12,000 was released on vinyl. “But,” says Clarke, playing devils advocate, “this was a long time ago. Now you’ve got to take Moore’s Law into account – computer power doubles every 18 months, and this was 6 computer generations back. People’s download speeds are much faster now. It was at the very inception of pay-per-track, but if it was released now who knows… Maybe we wouldn’t have to come out on vinyl,” he muses. “But I still think it would because DJs would want to play it (on record). Then again, there are some DJs now who use digital files in lieu of vinyl, so maybe it wouldn’t have sold so many copies.”

On the topic of downloading, Clarke has some very definite views. “I think it sort of was inevitable. I think it shows that record companies weren’t thinking when A) they were charging so much for CDs when it was a relatively old technology when it appeared and B) when they didn’t realise they could actually sell them online, it had to take a couple of teenagers to prove it. I think it’s a shame because I like the tangible evidence (of music), but then again saying that I’ve just bought a terabyte of hard drive space to store all my CDs on and then download them into my iPod; and use it as an archive. I don’t know,” he pauses, “you can’t always hark for the old days all the time but I think it’s a shame people don’t go into record shops as much and you know, have that ‘hi-fidelity’ moments that we all hope for,” he says, referring to the book by Nick Hornby and movie by Stephen Frears.

Although he’s a technology freak, reportedly owning a light switch that cost over £500, he’s always been rather traditional about making music. “I haven’t ever used any plugins for anything whatsoever,” he says surprisingly. “A while ago I tried to heavily invest in cutting edge equipment and it never did what it was supposed to, so I decided from that point on I’d use it for sequencing and to go hardware on everything else. That’s pretty much what I’ve done up until now.” In doing a remix for DJ Hell, Clarke is branching out a little. “I’ve just ordered a computer as a stand-alone software sampler so I can run that in conjunction with my system, see how a software sampler runs compared to a hardware sample and if I get on with that I’ll move across. But when it comes to VST instruments, I’ve never been a big fan of synthesising. I like to synthesise samples, but I can’t really be bothered with attack, delay, sustain and release because it just bores me to tears.”

His latest album has collaboration with Def Jux’s Mr Lif in a tune that can only be described as hiphop, which is odd for someone known as a techno DJ and producer, although he began his career playing hiphop. “I was thinking about wanting to do hiphop, and I didn’t want to go down the usual route of using someone who’s famous in a big commercial way,” Clarke says. “Someone suggested Lif, and I went to see him live and I liked what he had to say, I liked his presence, attitude and lyrics. After a lot of talking we got together in the studio a few months later and found it very easy to work with one another.” Similarly the collaboration with Chicks on Speed was an enjoyable experience. “I recalled them from years ago in Munich, just hanging out and getting drunk with them, and there again we worked well together and it was a lot of fun.”

With such a diverse range of genres on the album, I wondered if this now reflected in Clark’s DJ sets. “I can split myself down the line (between DJ and Producer). When I DJ I specifically play techno, and electro is some other stuff thrown in, but when it comes to making music I’m a lot more wider… I have to be; I couldn’t survive just making one style of music, I just couldn’t do it”, he sighs.

As the current tour is a DJ set, I wanted to know how Clark would work his new material into it. “I don’t really concentrate on any of my own stuff when I DJ, I’m actually kind of embarrassed by playing my own music,” he confesses “I’ll actually play one or two of my own tunes in a set, but generally I get a great kick out of other people’s music. I always feel a responsibility as a DJ not just to promote your own music,” he says “I don’t know if that’s just me being silly, because a lot of other people do it, but it just doesn’t feel right. To go and play 6 or 7 of your own tracks and raise your hands in the air when you’re playing off vinyl or CD just doesn’t look or feel right, I dunno, it just leaves a bad taste.” I mention how PWEI’s Clint Mansell once said in an interview that listening to his own music felt a bit like masturbation. “Maybe I just like to masturbate in private,” Clarke retorts with a smile.

Concord Dawn

In the past five years, Concord Dawn, comprising the duo of Matt Harvey and Evan Short, have become one of New Zealand’s highest profile and most respected dance acts. Slamming head first into the drum n bass scene with their impressive, hard-as-nails anthem Morning Light, the pair has not only infiltrated the UK-centric scene, the album has gone platinum in their home country, and any respectable drum and bass DJ has at least one of their tunes in their box. Even after an awful experience whilst last in Adelaide, Matt Harvey, is a very friendly, chatty guy. He found time to chat to us about not only that experience, but also a lot of things beside. Other DJs have had similar things happen to them in the past, and have left Adelaide bitter and regretful, but Harvey doesn’t share that sentiment at all, and is in fact looking forward to coming back.

But first, a little history. “Evan and I have known each other since we were 11 years old,” Harvey begins, in a think New Zealand accent. “We went to the same intermediate school, and we were in a band, and I think we were in the same music class, and we played rock and roll songs at school assemblies and that,” he laughs. “Then we went to different high schools, lost contact for a while. There used to be a thing with the North Shore (the big suburban area of Auckland) where all the kids from the schools would go and do a big choir, orchestra, that kind of thing. My school would host Jazz bands, and I was in the top Jazz combo and Evan was playing guitar. He was looking to kick out the drummer in his band, saw me playing jazz on the drums, and said “you’re still playing the drums… you’re pretty good these days, but are you into the heavier stuff?” I was into that as well, and started playing with him again.”

“Our high school band won the Auckland Rock Quest, the big high school battle of the bands, and we came second in the nationals, and were doing alright for ourselves and thought we ‘we’re the shit’” he laughs. “We used to play at community halls, people’s parties and underage events, that kind of thing, and that rolled along for a while. But then that band split up, and we didn’t see each other for a couple of years.” But with New Zealand being such a small place, fate brought them back together at audio engineering school. “We both had bits and pieces of equipment – synths, samplers, and effects units, and both had something the other one wanted. So then we linked up, put our equipment in the same room, and we both dug each other’s tunes”, he adds.

Harvey was introduced to Drum and Bass in about 1997. “I was at an outdoor all trance party, and a mate of mine who was playing,” he reminisces. “We’d made friends a few months before, he did some of my tattoos and we played the Starwars card game together,” he laughs nervously. “I had been listening to trance all night and was kind of bored of it, and he came on and played drum and bass and I was wasted and it was wicked and that was it, I was head over heals! His name is Aaron and he’s one of the first dnb DJs in New Zealand. He was playing hardcore and rave music when it first crossed over and got called ‘drum and bass’”.

With the release of their magnificent album, ‘Uprising’, Concord Dawn are set to become one of the most talked about acts this year. Their unique fusion of sound includes Slayer samples, as well as guests Tiki from Salmonella Dub and Skribe. Having spoken to Freq Nasty (Darin McFadyen) late last year, who also hails from New Zealand, I asked if they shared the view that radio plays an important part on the scene over the Tasman. “Yeah,” begins Harvey, “Student radio in NZ is really strong, they play a very broad range of music during the day, and a whole lot of specialist shows at night. We grew up listening to that, because commercial radio is quite cack (that’s kiwi for shit). But both of us come from diverse backgrounds,” he adds. “Evan used to play in heavy, HEAVY metal bands, and I used to play more EMO rock, more poppier sort of things, and also jazzy hiphop crossover sort of thing.”

Harvey also thinks the nature of New Zealand’s live scene is an important factor. “If you’re living in London you can go out Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday… every night you can go out to a drum and bass club,” he explains. “But if you want to have a drink here, you’re force to go out to hear something different. And just with the small circle, you know? I’ve known people for nearly 10 years, a lot of guys playing in the big hip hop bands over here, guys who play dub, guys who play in rock bands, guys that are now house or techno DJs. So if you want to catch up with your mates for a quiet drink you tend to go out and get exposed to a different kind of music to what your main focus is.”

This diversity in music leads to originality, and is precisely Freq Nasty’s sentiment. “It means you write more original music”, Harvey says. “If you spend all your time listening to drum and bass you can still write really good drum and bass, but you’re never going to write anything that’s quite innovative. All the tunes that we’ve done that have gone on to become quite big have usually contained something different. We’ve done stuff that’s contained a rock guitar, done stuff with Evan singing that’s trancey but still quite hard… something that dips it finger in another genre and has a little bit of that influence. Just to make waves (in the scene) you need to be doing something different,” he finishes.

Then the conversation turned to their recent experience in Adelaide. “That’s the second time we haven’t been paid for a gig out of about 400 gigs,” he says evenly. “I’m not completely happy about it, though it’s bound to happen. That’s one thing about DJing; you never get paid more if the party does really well… we’ll maybe very occasionally, once or twice… but if a party loses money people try not to pay you, or pay you less. That’s not how it’s meant to work,” he states. “If you work at a gas station and you have a slow day they’re not like “hey mate, we’re not going to pay you today”. We work quite hard at what we do, and it’s a bummer but these things happen.”

But Harvey is philosophical about it. “It’s kinda what you get… If we played for a regular drum and bass promoter then basically their reputation is all they’ve got. If we played for a long time dnb promoter, we’re safe because if he didn’t pay us, we’ve got enough friends in the drum and bass scene, you know, it wouldn’t be cool for him [and his reputation]. But for someone outside of drum and bass, it doesn’t really matter to them, and they can get away with it. I don’t think it’s really anybody’s fault, he’s the fall guy, but these things happen. We’re going to be back in April, so it’s all good.”

Maybe the philosophical side comes from Starwars. Harvey is a Starwars nut. Concord Dawn is the planet upon which the suddenly orphaned Jango Fett was rescued by the Mandalorian warrior Jaster Mereel as a child. (Thanks to our illustrious editor Andrew Street for that info). Harvey, as he mentioned, played the Starwars card trading game, has read the comics, and has quite a few Starwars themed tattoos as well. Or maybe it’s the fruitful looking future, which includes another album and then relocation.

“Since writing tunes together things have been happening. First tune we wrote together got played on the radio down here and by the time we had done 3 or 4 tunes we had been offered a record deal in NZ and then started getting sets and that and it’s all been good from there… we can’t really whinge! But we are planning on relocating, but not to London because London’s HORRIBLE!” he stresses. “We’re moving to Austria next year. We’re going to knock out another album, well, not knock out, you know, finely craft and hone a beautiful album”, he says laughingly, “and then probably tour that, then head over. So we’re looking at heading to Vienna and Austria in about June next year.”

Austria seems as unlikely a place for dnb superstars as New Zealand, but Harvey explained his reasons. “It’s a lot less expensive a city to live in than London, just things like rent and food and beer and that; and it’s really central to both West and Eastern Europe. We’re both taking our girlfriends, so it means we can take trains instead of flying and it means we can take them around. It allows us to spend 3 or 4 days in places, take our laptops and just soak up the atmosphere. We’re probably going to keep it quite mellow, do a gig a week. It’ll probably only be for a year or something, and then move back here to New Zealand,” he adds.

“Basically anything we do apart from NZ is a bonus. We’ve got enough gigs and sell enough records here; we could live off (and have been doing so for years) and save lots of money staying right here. Basically us going overseas is us being greedy really,” he chuckles, “well, not greedy, just trying to make things bigger and better. It’s not exactly a holiday, just a chance to go seeing different things and eat some weird sausages and drink some different beers. I think if we lived in London for a year or so we’d eventually get not so much worn down, but we’d be in the same boat as a lot of other people writing drum and bass.”


Resin Dogs

Resin Dogs seem to be one of Australia’s most well loved live acts. Hailing from sunny Brisbane, they seem to bring the party vibe to wherever they visit, whether it’s a small club like the now defunct Minke bar here in Adelaide, to playing to thousands at Livid and Big Day Out. We caught up with Katch, the DJ of the crew, to talk about what they’ve been doing recently and about their coming tour.

He mentions it’s very hot in Queensland, and also says, nonchalantly, that he’s been “doing a lot of office shit – the record label and that. It’s very interesting; running the record label is an interesting and intriguing part of being in a band. I’m just learning the ropes of all that, dealing with getting stuff out and deadlines. You gotta know what’s going on with your business or else your fucked,” he laughs.

Speaking of the record label, they’ve been rather quiet of late, with no new signings but a few “potentials”. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s a bad sign… quite the contrary, with acts like Katalyst and Downsyde supporting some of the bigger hiphop events around Australia. “I think Katalyst and Downsyde getting huge exposure is great, more of it!” Katch enthuses, “for that style of music as well as the acts.” I mention that I’ve heard the Resin Dogs on our ‘different’ Triple M. “I didn’t even know Triple M played our stuff. Wow, this is great!” he exclaims. Wondering if this extra radio play will impact on the group, Katch is, as I expect, unfussed. “Just means more people are going to hear it,” he says, probably with a wry smile.

On problem with becoming commercial is being pigeonholed and labelled. Katch is rather philosophical about this. “If it helps sell “that thing” to “that person”, you know what I mean, it’s just a description thing. If it helps sell it to the audience to help them get an understanding [of what we’re about] I guess its OK. To me it’s all beats, uptempo, downtempo, whatever. We are a “party” band,” he adds, referring to the classification of the Resin Dogs being ‘party hiphop’, “we like people to have fun, but if we want to tell people about the reign of terror and stuff like that we can bring that along as well. But labels are labels these days – there’s so many brands of t-shirts but it still just a t-shirt. This might sound wanky,” he laughs, “but even if you’ve made one person change, at least you’ve made a change. I’ve had people come up and say “you’ve started me getting into DJing” and stuff. And I feel sorry for them, because now they’re going to spend all their money on records,” he chuckles again.

Talk moves away from the “business side” into the makeup of the band for this tour. I had heard that the band rarely practices, and was rather astonished that they could sound so good together live. “Sometimes there’s no rehearsals,” Katch agrees. “When we brought Abstract Rude out we had a couple of rehearsals, to get him used to our songs, so he knew what he was doing and wouldn’t be walking into it blind and put on the spot. If there’s time we’ll do it, but most of the people we tour with have a fair idea of the songs.” The line up is quite variable, featuring different session players and different guests, ensuring a different experience each time. “We try and keep the main core of the band of course,” Katch says, “but we bring guest acts out who we’ve worked with, or like to work with, friends of ours from interstate and what not.”

Collaboration seems to be a big part of the Resin Dogs vibe, and they’ve collaborated with DJ Ransom, Ben Ely from Regurgitator, Abstract Rude, Lazy Grey from Brothers Stoney, Mad Doctor X, Kenny Dope, Barry Ashworth of the Dub Pistols and more recently The Pharcyde, Jungle Brothers and the wonderful vocal talents of the UK’s Spikey Tee, who’s on tour with them. “We’ve collaborated through the record company ringing up saying ‘we’ve got a bunch of people who you may be interested in working with’”, Katch explains. “Our first record was produced by Robert Reed from Trouble Funk because the record company said “you sound like these guys, maybe you should contact this dude” The Pharcyde were hooked up that way too… We’ve even simply looked at peoples records, found phone numbers on records and got in touch through that. It’s amazing”, he says, “you find records and they have numbers are for the actual artist, because they’re underground or whatever, and it’s quite a buzz!”

Talking about Spikey Tee brings up my favourite topic, sampling. We talk about the impending trade agreement with the USA and what impact that may have on Australia’s recording industry, especially those groups that use samples. “It’s what you do with samples,” Katch says. “People take huge chunks and are oblivious to the whole thing, and there’s those who take it and chop it up and make it their own. If you contact the right people and get proper usage it’s all fine. Sometimes the whole art of sampling is ‘can they find it’ in the first place, a game of deception.” I wondered if the difficulty in clearing samples was the reason why there are two versions of Adore You, one with the original singer Queen Adreena, the other with the aforementioned Spikey T. “It was partly because yeah, fuck, this is going to be a big nightmare clearing this, so it’s like a cover version. But mainly it was the fact that he could sing the part. He had these solo records out on Grand Central, and his vocals just spun me out. When he came out, I think it was 2002, I introduced myself, and we’ve kept in touch since. When he came out to do the Livid festival last year, they hung out with us for a few weeks at the Studio, and one day I just asked him ‘do you want to sing this, coz I reckon a male version of Adore You could be good’. So we got it done.”

As time was quickly running out, although it felt like we could have chatted all night, things turned to the impending gig. Katch is definitely looking forward to coming to Adelaide. “I’ve had some wicked nights at there,” he says wickedly, speaking of times fondly remembered at Minke. “Small and intimate is good, but sometimes it gets too hot,” he says. “The Big Day Out and that you know, are just massive. Good crowds and a massive audience to appeal to, but they both have their merits. If I had to I’d play in front of one person, or one hundred thousand it doesn’t really matter, I’d still play my best,” he adds.

French Maid Alliance

The French Maid Alliance consists of a bunch of mates, some of whom are some musical performers, some just regular punters, who know what they want in a good night out. Dale Tiver is the main organiser, and we spoke to him about the coming party simply called “Blind”, which is supporting the Royal Society of the Blind. The name French Maid Alliance is a nod to the Adelaide rave party crews. “You know the ones with super cool mechanoid Lego men, Transformer logos, and the like. I wanted to turn that on its ear a little bit and make it all about fun”, Dale says cheekily. “‘The French Maid Alliance’ just makes people do a double take, and I hope it encourages people to find out what we’re about.”

So what, exactly is the French Maid Alliance about? “I have had strong ties in the local club/music scene for years,” Dale begins. “I hosted an event just over a year ago called Deliverance with MK-1 and Yoshi, and I had a French Maid giving out free chupa chups, CDs and other treats all night. It was a night where I called in a lot of favours from friends and did everything I could to make it feel like a party, not just a regular club night. For some time I’ve been searching for a formula that could turn the love I and many of my fellow party organisers have into something completely positive,” he continues. “A night that supports musical talent over the established pecking order, and was more about having a good time rather than making money. After spending some time with Rotary, it dawned on me that fundraising for a charity was the perfect way to go.”

Organising any party is hard work, and organising one for charity must be quite a chore. Dale says: “in my experience people don’t mind giving their time to help others if it is well organised. When I put pen to paper and realised what I could create by channelling even a small portion of Adelaide’s musical talent into a charity event, I started the search for my charity. The Royal Society for the Blind were the first organisation I thought of and right from my first approach, they were completely supportive. They agreed that the use of French Maids and other fun devices was the perfect way to counter the stigma that charity events ‘can’t be fun’. They made available all their useful contacts and have been involved in approving every step in the promotional process.”

As for past charity events, the Adelaide dance community has strongly shown it’s support for this event, with all DJs and performers donating their time for free, and others offering free advertising. For example, DJ C1 and Noddy have designed all the flyers and magazine artwork. “There was a lot of work involved in that,” Dale says, “and they deserve credit for the time they gave for nothing”. Further support comes from the kind people at Cadbury/Schweppes and Diageo (the company that distributes Smirnoff/Archers) who Dale says, “have been great from the outset. Both have donated free stock and their time. As a result there will be a launch for a new Archers product on the night and the first 400 heads on entry will receive an Archers drink, Pepsi and a chupa chup”. Other help has come from Blake at Traffic for providing the venue, and “the rest are all my good friends from Adelaide Massive website ( There are a lot of little things to do for a show of this size and I can’t thank them enough,” Dale adds.

Dale’s strongest musical passions lie in drum and bass, breakbeat and live funky acts, so that’s what will be represented at the first party. Yes, Dale has already decided to do some more shows for charity at a variety of different venues, to keep the idea fresh and fun. “To be honest, there are a couple of acts that couldn’t do this show due to other commitments and I can’t wait to roll out the next show,” he says enthusiastically. “I hope to be able to organise these kinds of shows three or four times a year. I have four or five venues I’d like to try, a long list of charities I’d like to assist, and a heck of a lot of talented musical performers I’d like to big up. Hopefully Adelaide gets behind the whole ‘having fun that helps people idea’… I think it’s a winner!” he adds.

The live area inside will consist of Kumfy Klub regulars the New White Sneakers and The Break, playing live funk. Mojo favourites and SA Dance Music Awards Best Live Act 2003 Hooligan Soul, and The Jupiter Sound Project will be performing live Drum n Bass with live vocals, live instruments including Saxophone and Classical Guitar. MC Hype and his brother Piers will do some beatboxing to alongside DJs John Doe, Lachlan Pender and Funky J, performing breaks sets. Techno will feature early in the night care of Fenetik and DJ Anarki, and Mal Chia.

The outside area has the cream of the Adelaide DnB crop, including the SADMA award winners MPK, Patch and Noddy, Canada’s DJ Static, Drumsounds C1, 5158 record guru Mark 7, D-Jon, inbound’s Filter and Fiction, Altitude’s Jayar, Adelaide’s producer extraordinaire Skyver, Turbine’s Khem and Ozone, Rukkas’ Phink, alongside Adelaide Massive favourites Solace, Lucas, Frost, Harass, IQ, Del, Trucker, and Spark. Lyrical accompaniment will be provided by MCs G-Swift, Pab, Stryke, Pase, Mennan, XPress, and Mission.

Also, thanks to the performers and the kind donations of many others, a team of highly skilled French Maids lead by Tasma will also be working very hard at giving out free CDs, tickets to up coming parties, lollies, fruit platters, and many other freebies throughout the night. They will also take care of any dusting that may become necessary! Visual effects will be provided by Yasmin, with Fire Twirling by Toby. There will also be special guest appearances and prices for best dressed and most enthusiastic are also on the cards!

Josie Styles

Given the atrocious state of American Hiphop, is it any wonder that Australian groups like the Resin Dogs, 1200 Techniques and Adelaide’s own Hilltop Hoods are getting tremendous support from not only local radio, but Triple J and even Triple M! Hot on the hills of the Hilltop Hoods release comes Straight From the Art, a wonderful representation of Aussie hiphop complied by Sydney DJ and radio personality Josie Styles. Styles is one colourful young woman, and very passionate about her music. So passionate she ambushed Warner’s attempt to get a well-known and respected Sydney R&B DJ to compile this CD. “Australian hiphop means a little bit more to me than the thought of an RnB DJ putting a record such as this out, so I thought I’d take control, and put out a decent compilation,” she laughs, “They should learn from their last mistakes, have someone who is involved in the scene put it together.”

Collecting records since the early 90s, Styles only started DJing around the traps in 1998 after a friend firmly persuaded her to give it a go. “A friend of mine was running a night in Sydney called Hippo, and he said ‘Josie, I’m sick of watching you play tunes in your bedroom all the time, get out there!’ and I’m like ‘nah, I’m not good enough to play out yet!’”, she giggles, “But he made me because I had wicked tunes. Now I play regularly, and write for Stealth magazine and have my own radio show.”

Styles has a good grasp on what’s hot and what’s not, having worked as a DJ both in clubs and on radio, as well as in music retail. So why does she think Australian Hiphop is becoming more popular? “I would say through with the advent of things like Stealth Magazine, which is getting distribution through tower records; things like the Triple J hiphop show, (aussie hiphop) has been able to cross over to a more mainstream audience. Even though Triple J don’t necessarily play all the right hiphop tracks,” she adds cheekily. She also shares my distaste for American Rap, or RnB. “It’s some… homogenous blend of hiphop and rnb. I have friends in the “Stop RnB killing hiphop” movement in Sydney,” she laughs, “and it’s true, it’s fucking horrid!”

Styles thinks Australia’s raw, underground sound is distinctive and becoming more popular over the mass marketed, over produced sounds of popular American rap. “I think it comes down to the studio equipment. The sound that comes from America is totally different form that out of the UK or here. Their drums, their mics, everything is on a million dollar scale, whereas here it’s more street level, with people making shit in their bedrooms. It’s a little rawer, grittier. People can just sample American hiphop records if they want to emulate that round American drum sound, whereas I think our shit is phatter and grittier and rougher and rawer, and that’s the way I like my sound.” I touched a nerve when I mentioned that some people don’t like the Aussie accent though. “If people don’t have an open mind then I don’t want to deal with them”, she states matter of factly. “I don’t want our shit to be watered down just for accessibility; fuck ‘em! The argument’s been going for over ten years now, and I’m sick of it. As long as you rap how you speak and as from where you’re from, that should be fine.”

I asked Styles if she thinks our hiphop scene will go the way of the American scene. “As long as we don’t fall into the same trap and become bland. I can’t see that happening, there’s such heterogeneity within the genre itself, which I tried to reflect on the album through so many different styles. There’s the cut and paste style of Terrafirma and Blunted Stylus, and the straight up hardcore style of Layla, The Cannibal Tribe and Jobi One, the beautiful organic sounds of Quro, Muskrat & Mostyn.” Styles is also quite aware of the American underground hiphop scene. “I say thank the lord they came out!” she exclaims, laughingly, “because it’s those sorts of cats like Aceyalone, Lifesavers and Soul Position and that that are actually renewing my faith in American hiphop. It’s been lost for so long! All that Def Jux is dope, Stone’s Throw is dope, all those sorts of labels I’m really into.”

Another aspect of Australian culture that reflects on our hiphop scene is our love of live music. The popularity of events like the Big Day Out, The Falls, and sell-out visits by Public Enemy, Jurassic 5 and Cyprus Hill last year more than demonstrates our love of live music. And a lot of the acts that are getting radio play such as The Resin Dogs, Downsyde, and The Hilltop Hoods, are also getting gigs as support acts to these events. “When you do live gigs, that’s when people start to recognise you”, Styles agrees. “Everyone knows that you’ve got to do gigs so that you’ll get known and people buy your records. Seeing hiphop bands live, there’s such an incredible energy at the shows that you want to go out and get the record to capture that moment again. We will hopefully be having a tour to promote the CD,” she adds, and given the amount of South Australian acts on the CD, we’ll get to see it.

“If you look on the CD there’s 5 or 6 Adelaide artists on there, they’re all my boys”, she says. “I really respect the Adelaide sound, I think they’re really funky producers. Suffa is an amazing producer, so are the boys from Terra Firma, Delta is an incredible beat digger, producer and the most incredible MC this country has ever seen, I reckon, especially as a freestyler. Some people may not get the complexity of his lyrics but that’s because they’re so many levels deep.” There’s also a hefty amount of female artists on the album, and I asked Styles if she felt any pressure as a female in a male dominated culture. “It’s as hard as it is for any females anywhere when you’re in a patriarchal subculture, whether it’s in science or in music,” she says. “If you’re up against a lot of men then there’s a lot to overcome, self confidence would be the biggest and hardest. But if you’ve got the skills and you’re ready, get out there and do it; it shouldn’t matter if you’re a girl or a boy it all comes down to the skills. The fact that I’ve got 5 females on my CD wasn’t intentional, it’s because they’re dope tracks, and a dope track is a dope track no matter who it’s by… and no matter what country it’s from either.”

Styles happily informs me that Layla’s Maverick has been picked up by Triple J, and that while there’s no international release for this album, the next one will definitely have a European release. So keep an eye out in stores for this excellent release on both CD and vinyl, and check out snippets of all the tunes and the video of 7 Dayz of Herb by Mas Production featuring Seanie-T at


Krafty Kuts

From the first moment I heard ‘Chunks of Funk’, I was hooked on Krafty Kuts. Here was a track so funky, oozing with so much ‘coolness’ that I simply couldn’t ignore it. After getting down to the big beat sound, which quickly became a pale mockery of itself, out of leftfield comes this stormer of a track with the vocal “not because we can… Coz we want to!” which remains a funky dogmatic greed of my day to day life. At the time I thought Krafty Kuts was black, that’s how funky his sound was to me! Little did I know he was some pale white English Geezer called Martin Reeves. Then, he disappeared for a year or so, subsequently booming back onto the scene with a vengeance.

“Yeah, a few years ago I got myself into a bit of a sticky situation”, Reeves relates over the phone. “I wanted to release some records so badly, and Ministry of Sound didn’t want to release any more records or 12 inches. There was this guy who promised me the world, and I signed this contract that I should have never had done. I wish at the time I had a manager, because he would have said ‘don’t sign it!’ I could not release a single thing under the name of Krafty Kuts for a year, and I had ten records ready to come out, and it was probably my best ever products… it was around the time of Chunks Of Funk, Gimme The Funk, and it was that party hiphop, funky breakbeat stuff.”

As you can probably tell from those titles, Reeves loves his funk. “I think it stems form a constant listening to 70’s style and a lot of black music” he muses. “It’s all I listened to, all I wanted to buy. I was a complete obsessive; I used to get up at 5 or 6 o’clock in the morning at weekends to go to car boot sales.” He explains that car boot sales are something akin to our Trash and Treasure markets. “It hit in the mid 80s, and it was quite a phenomenon; everybody was selling their records, and you can imagine the records I brought… it was just AMAZING! I was just up at the crack of dawn every weekend, wanting to buy records, and that’s how I started my record store, I just bought this massive collection off someone, who said they had loads more at home… He was a DJ and had about 10,000 records at home and just wanted to get rid of them, and that’s how it all became an obsession.”

Reeves is obviously proud of his collection. “I’ve got some amazing records, stuff you wouldn’t even dream about!” he says excitedly. “Stuff that only got released as promos, stuff that never came out, and stuff that is really hard to find.” Along with his outstanding collection of records, Reeves is well known for winning a DJ comp when he was only 12 years young, after never touching a turntable before… or so the legend of Krafty Kuts goes. I had read conflicting reports about this, and decided to clear it up for myself. “I was 17”, he states matter of factly. “I wasn’t old enough to get into a club, so I had to enter an under-18 DJ competition. I didn’t have any turntables, so it was my first experience with real turntables.” Real Turntables? “My best friend, who actually beat me in the final, he had decks but they weren’t technics, but he was really good at mixing on them. The comp had technics of course, and I was so excited to get on them and see what they were like; I had played on his turntables before, but they were belt drives and kept jumping and weren’t really great to mix on.”

“Once he let me have a go on his decks, it was like eating chocolate, but only a piece, not being able to eat the whole thing,” he continues. “Or like eating a pringle… you eat one pringle and you’ve got to eat more. You can’t stop, can you? You have GOT to have another one, there is no stopping!” he laughs. “It’s like when you collect things, if you’ve got that stance in your head, you have to continue it. I had to carry on DJing, I HAD to enter that competition, because I knew if I didn’t I wouldn’t fulfil any ambition. It took a lot of courage really, I wasn’t that good, but I managed to put a few good ideas together, and people were cheering and that, and I thought then that this is for me.”

Reeve’s knack for putting “a few good ideas together” has earned him a lot of respect from audience and peers alike. “I met Q-Bert last year when I was in Australia, and to be honest I thought he wouldn’t have a fucking clue who I was”, he says of one of his brushes with fame. “Then you speak to someone who’s just such an idol to me, and I introduced myself … ‘Hi, I’m Krafty Kuts’ and he says (and here Reeves puts on a generic American accent) ‘yeah, I know, I’ve heard a lot about you, blah blah blah’, and I was speechless! It was like Cash Money too, one of the first DJs I ever saw, and at an awards night last year he comes up to me, gives me a big hug and says (donning the American accent once again) ‘well done Krafty, you deserve it!’ and I’m like ‘oh my god, this isn’t real’… people I idolise coming up to ME, and giving ME respect for winning an award. Not only was it great to win the award, but it was amazing to have someone you admire to give you props, it’s like a double whammy!”

But what is it about the Krafty Kuts sound that makes people sit up and listen? When he did a mix for mixmag called Instant Party, Just Add People, it sold like absolute hotcakes, and is quite a sought after CD, up there with Coldcut’s Journeys by DJs and Andy Smith’s The Document. “It’s kinda about being clever,” he says, “in general, thinking about what people are going to like. That’s the hard thing, trying to choose a collection of records that make people think ‘these work well’. And I think I’ve done that in the past” he says without a hint of ego, “and people have come to expect the unexpected with me, and they think ‘I wouldn’t have done that, that’s a good idea’, and that’s what I try to do.”

His latest mix CD These Are the Breaks captures the essence of Krafty Kuts. “I’m absolutely thrilled with this mix, it’s a proper representation of where I am at the moment and what I do as a DJ. It’s got the party hiphop element on the one CD, and on the other it’s got all the proper really good current and classic breakbeat tunes. I think people can listen to and dance around in their living room, or bop in their cars to it,” he continues. “It’s one of those CDs that I think will stand the test of time, it hasn’t got any throw away tunes… there’s a couple of tunes people will think “that’s a bit ‘now’”, but you’ve got to have some of those on it. I try and capture elements of past, present and future, people listen to it and think “oh my god, what’s that!” or hear a mix and think “how did he do that!”

Similarly, his live shows are much the same. “It’s quite a strange phenomenon, really, because as soon as I walk in I look and feel the vibe, I’ve gotta take in this intense situation within seconds, and think ‘right, where am I going with my DJing’. I always try and do something different; I never play the same set twice, EVER. I don’t sit there and have my records in order, no way, that’s not me. I’m about taking the vibe from an audience into me, and giving it back. There’s certain records that you’ve got to play because they work so well together,” he muses, “but generally speaking, I can be getting into something, and see that they’re down with this hiphop vibe, and then maybe start the breakbeat, play the slower tempo but funky new stuff, and slowly build up, but I’ll play a lot less break beat and cut out my drum and bass tunes… Or if it’s an up for it mad crowd then obviously go for the more up tempo breakbeat stuff and move into drum and bass.”

“It’s the crowd that dictates where I’m gonna go. I do choose records in a small way, but I’d rather let the crowd choose for me, although theoretically they don’t know that. It’s weird; I have to read what they want collectively, and give that to them”.

Freq Nasty

Freq Nasty is one of those people who are just ‘different’. He looks different, with his mass of dreadlocks; he sounds different, with his accent sounding British and Kiwi all at once, and he makes music that is just different, and unashamedly so. The thing is, it works. It works very well. Even the casual listener can hear some amazing stuff off his latest album and know that not only is it different, it is damn enjoyable too. Unlike other producers who go out of their way to make things different, and end up simply losing their audience, Freq Nasty doesn’t lose sight of his listeners or the dance floor.

Darin McFadyen came up with the name Freq Nasty through thinking about sci-fi B-movies. “From all those superheroes from the late 50’s early 60’s that had really stupid names and crazy super powers”, he says, “and Freq Nasty has one of those kind of retro-futuristic sounding names, like it would be one of those retro-futuristic cartoon characters. That was the kind of vibe I was on – a lot of the samples I used at first, and the tune Booming Back Atcha, all the artwork on the first album was themed around that type of sci-fi.”

Growing up in New Zealand, he faced the same difficulties as we do here in Australia – isolation and a very small music scene. There was no internet, so he had to rely on radio, and as here, radio was all about rock music. “I love the intensity of rock music, and always have,” he enthuses. “I’ve listened to everything from AC/DC, which I still love to this day, through to your Carcass and Entombed and bands like that. But there’s also this idea that you end up getting the English stuff before the American stuff and the American before the English, so you’re in this weird mid-ground, and you end up taking on a lot of influences. If you live in England, you get an impact of the American stuff, but there’s a lot of stuff you miss out on, and I think if you live in the States it’s the same thing. But if you live in New Zealand or Australia you get a very wide spread of stuff from Europe and America, and I think in that respect I have an even-handed approach to listening to music, and the way I hear music”, he says of the influences on his music. “When I first left New Zealand I was going to move to either New York or London, and I think the way I make music is very much from that perspective – the American thing of hiphop and funk style, with the progressive of the UK dance scene sums up my sound.”

McFadyen is unashamedly honest about trying to make his music different. “The way it comes about is I just try to make something different. The way Plumps do their thing is amazing in their right, what Aquasky does is amazing in their own right, what Rennie (Pilgrem) and BLIM does is all amazing, so when it comes to me making an album I say ‘right, all this has gone on, I’m going to do something that isn’t really happening at the moment’, and present people with something they didn’t realise breakbeat could be. It’s that simple,” he states. “Someone asked me what inspires me a while ago, and I was saying that a lot of the stuff that I hear out there, but it probably wouldn’t be breakbeat records that inspire me. I appreciate a well done dance record for sure, but I hear an amazing dance hall record or old dub tune, or some mad breakbeat garage tune, some 8-bar tune on a pirate radio station that some 17 year old kid has made, and I think ‘fucking hell, that’s incredible, I could do something with that’, and I twist it up and do my own version, and the way I make it coherent is that I’m always nicking influences from elsewhere, but the other half of what fits in will be that thing I do.”

“And I hope that in a year or two’s time people start listening to it, and people start making their own versions of that, and in a way another sub-genre comes about; in England these things happen so quickly and so easily if a sound picks up” he continues. “And the whole Ragga-dancehall kinda dub-reggae thing is starting to pick up momentum over that mixture of breaks and those sounds and it will probably be a lot prevalent in the next year, year and a half. I’m already hearing records out now that are using those kind of beat patterns that didn’t happen a year ago.”

McFadyen is also about to create a different expression of his forthcoming album Bring Me the Head of Freq Nasty, incorporating a character made for the single into a whole audiovisual experience. “Initially it was going to be a ‘dex and fx’ thing”, he says “but that’s now been translated into the Video Nasty Experience. It’s a character designed by Jamie Hewlett, who did Tankgirl and the Gorillaz stuff, he’s created a Freq Nasty character for the video but then there’s a whole lot of other stuff that’s been created around that, with the character being integrated with real photo’s and film using new CG stuff. There’s lots of graphics and text chopped up, and everything is going to be themed to the album. There’s not a lot of old video and that… it’s not about recontextualising the old; for me, what I’m doing is creating everything from scratch, there’s probably not going to be anything nicked in there.”

Unfortunately, the Video Nasty Experience won’t be coming to Australia this time around, but we can expect it sometime next year. Fortunately, the Freq Nasty website features the kind of thing to expect from this exciting producer, and he’s set to play in Adelaide in December.


Junior Senior

Not a lot of people are very aware of Denmark beyond a two hundred year old play written by some bald hack, popularised for the modern audience by an Australian actor. So it comes as some surprise that one of the biggest “new” things to captivate the American Music Press is a little group from Denmark called Junior Senior. “Nobody knows much about it… it’s very small. It’s very Danish,” says the Junior of the band, Jesper Mortensen, of his home country’s music scene. “There’s a few really big Danish bands that have never made it out of Denmark, because they were lagging behind, they weren’t really original enough, or didn’t have good song writing. And we’ve always been in the shadow of Sweden, especially in the indie scene.” He pauses slightly, then continues in his softly spoken English “It’s kind of weird for us to make it outside of Denmark, we’re the first to make it big outside, and it will be interesting to see how that impacts on the scene.”

Junior Senior developed the name for more than the obvious fact that one is older than the other. “I’m kind of petite compared to senior, he’s very tall, very big boned,” he laughs, talking about his partner in music, Jeppe Breum, “and in Denmark Jesper is a very common name, and in school there would be about 5 Jaspers, and I was always the smallest one.”

If you haven’t heard their infectious ‘Move Your Feet’, off their debut album D-D-Don’t Don’t Stop the Beat, it’s a poppy, up beat tune celebrating music and life in general, and has a happy little animated filmclip to accompany it. It’s been compared to everything from Echo and the Bunnymen to Wham! The rest of the album is just as infectious, and demonstrates a range of influences. “I wouldn’t be able to narrow it down to one influence, but black music from the 60’s – early Stevie Wonder, James Brownthe Rolling Stones, the Ramones, The Clash, Run DMC, the Beatles. I’m personally very into the old black music, and the good disco music, like Chic,” Mortensen says. “I tend to go for good song writing and original ideas, I always appreciate that in music no matter what the style, whether it’s Sly and the Family Stone, or if it’s Dolly Parton, or if it’s Graham Parsons – it can be anyone, as long as there’s something in there, good songs, nice singing, or clever arrangements, you know. But we never set out to be a retro band,” he remarks. “We always wanted to make it into a 2000 band… none of us really wants to live in the 60’s or 80’s or anything like that.”

This remarkable blend of influences has capture the American music press by storm, as well as American audiences, which is no surprise considering the substantial lack of originality in the US pop music scene at the moment. “I think it’s a combination of things why people like us, but I really hope that when push comes to shove its really the music,” Mortensen says. “Everything we do we try and do it slightly different, in our own way, and not be too stereotypical. I think some of our songs are good enough to come out of the indie scene, which goes beyond the selling 500 record thing.” He trails off slightly, as if thinking that was the correct way to get his point across. “We never thought we’d amount to anything”, he continues, laughing. “We’d never thought we’d get outside of Denmark. We always thought we had something, but we didn’t think anyone would actually care about us, so it’s been a pleasure.”

Another thing about the band that’s not stereotypical is the blend of gay and straight sensibilities. Their tune Chicks and Dicks clearly demonstrates the fact that Junior is straight and Senior is gay, and this has been lauded in the US press quite a bit as something rather unusual. “It doesn’t really annoy me,” Mortensen says of this undue focus. “I think to some people that it’s a bigger deal than it should be. We don’t really care about it that much, we didn’t feel like hiding it, because it’s such a big part of the chemistry between us and the music we make. We not really big about saying our political views and stuff, but when it comes down to it, I’m happy that it hopefully helps to broaden people’s horizons, and shows that gay and straight people get along well.”

Some of their unusual achievements to date include being played whenever the Mets hit a home run, and being included in the coming “Worms 3d” video game. “I don’t know very much about baseball, but it’s one of those weird things where you don’t get a feeling about it because you’ve never been to the stadium where they actually play,” Mortensen says of the baseball accolade. The Worms thing came about by the game developers approaching the band directly. “When you’re in a band and you get all these crazy offers all the time, and most of them you reject, because we don’t want our music in all these commercials. Although I lost interest in computer games when I was younger, Senior and some of the other guys who play with us are really big fans of The Worms games, and we chose to be in the game. Maybe get our music out to people who might not have heard it,” he adds.

It appears that the addition in the game won’t really be necessary to further their career, as they play 22 gigs across 8 weeks in America to packed out shows. Their energetic live performance, catchy radio-friendly tunes, and combination of uniqueness yet retro sounds in the Gay/Straight package is sure enough to get them more than enough attention. “All the people seem to like us,” Mortensen says about the current American tour. “A lot of people seem crazy about us, which is really nice,” he adds politely.


Gervase Cooke, the Boy Lost In Music, certainly has a lot to say about music, and we could have chatted for hours if it wasn’t for the phone card giving up the ghost. Getting into dance music because he was self confessedly too pretentious to listen to indie as it exploded into commercialism, he’s become one of the most important figures on the Breaks scene today, and cites Australia as the reason that breaks parties are some of the best parties in the world.

Cooke got the name BLIM because he literally was ‘lost in music’. “I used to write music on headphones in the corner of the lounge room of where I lived so other people wouldn’t get annoyed by it or if it was late at night,” he says of his name. “And I used to do it for quite long periods of time on end, and if anyone come up and tapped me on the shoulder or anything I’d jump out of my skin because I was just somewhere else completely. A blim is a very small piece of hash here in England, the very last little bit,” he adds “so I thought of that and how it could come to mean something else, and thought up Boy Lost In Music, and it stuck.”

His introduction to dance music came from early Warp releases. “I was into indie music and rock, and when it came to about 1988-1989 I was primarily into a lot of indie – Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, and a lot of underground stuff as well; and I went to Manchester because that was really good for that kind of music. Just as I arrived there it exploded on a commercial level, and made me not want to listen to it. Coz I’m pretentious in that kind of way,” he says, and I’m not really sure if he was joking or not. “Then I heard some Sheffield techno, some really early Warp releases, and because I was a scientist at the time, I was studying mathematics, the logic of the way the music was put together was instantly recognisable to me, and appealed to me and made me want to buy some machines to make music.”

Whilst some may think that beginning his musical life from an essentially classical orchestral base of piano and violin would aid him in leaps and bounds, Cooke isn’t so sure. “Learning an instrument growing up as a child is a frustrating experience really,” he says candidly. “Because you kinda don’t want to do it, you know what I mean? You see it as a chore.” So Cooke doesn’t think that it has had a big influence on the way he makes music. “Just the experience of growing up in constant contact with musical instruments, however badly you interact with that” may have had an impact, he says, “but I would have to say it’s intuitively… I have to say I’m not consciously aware of it.”

Cooke started his electronic music career producing drum and bass for Emotif and SOUR, before moving over to Botchit & Scarper with labelmate Freq Nasty. “The simplest way to explain it is I just wasn’t happy doing it anymore,” he says of the change in musical direction. “I didn’t feel it anymore, I didn’t believe in my music, didn’t believe I had an opportunity to make myself heard in drum and bass, for a number of reasons – some to do with the music itself, some to do with the people involved in it. And when I first started to make breakbeat, it made me feel happy, and that’s the choice I pursued. It’s not even necessarily a conscious decision; it was a matter of doing what I wanted, what I liked.”

Cooke is known for making and playing music with a party vibe, and is partly responsible for the term “festival breaks”. I say partly, because it seems it’s a joke that, due to the music press, has spiralled out of control. Certain aspects of the UK music media have pointed to it as a move away from the harder sounds of breaks, but Cooke says, “It’s not a move a way from anything. It was just a joke me and Rennie (Pilgrem) had in the studio one night when we recognised the sound that we were making. I don’t think we deliberately set out to make anything… it was just something that when Rennie and I get in the studio we make music in a certain way – it sounds big, like its at a festival, we’ll call it ‘Festival breaks’, just laughing and joking about it… and one of us mentioned it to somebody and then all of a sudden…” he trails off with a smile.

Cooke believes the real party vibe comes from visiting Australia. “Everywhere I go this year it’s exactly the same,” he says. “I’ve got a digital camera, and at some point in the night I take a picture and everyone’s got their hands in the air, and I’ve got them all in a line, and unless you take close look of the racial mix in the crowd you’d never notice the difference,” he says. “And it’s been the same everywhere I’ve been… all around Eastern Europe where I used to go 5 or 6 years ago and they had a scene but really tiny and small. They all got scenes going on now. I used to play in Israel and it was just dead – it was good, you had a couple of people into it but you couldn’t get a party going. Recently they had a rocking crowd and I ended up playing for 4 hours – they kept the venue open for two hours longer than it was supposed to be! I just played in China and they fucking loved it, and they never even heard it before. They just couldn’t help themselves.”

He cites Stardust in Adelaide and Two Tribes in Perth as the places he started to notice this. “This year all the gigs are like that, everywhere I go. It’s phenomenal, absolutely fantastic,” and you can tell he is really enjoying the breaks scene at the moment. “I think the music has become a lot more fun, and I feel that it’s the British DJs who go down to Australia for the summer bring back that influence.” An unusual statement, considering it’s usually the English scene that has been seen to influence our dance music scene in the past. “Breaks parties are the best parties to go to in this country [the UK] now, there’s no question about it. I wouldn’t have said that if I didn’t think it wasn’t true, it definitely didn’t used to be true,” he states. “You go out now to a breaks night, and it’s a real fucking party. It wasn’t in London for so long. We were amazed to find out that in Australia that was like the norm. In some ways I think Australia’s party and fun vibe has filtered back into England and made the vibe fun back here.”

“You know what I mean, just real fun, proper parties,” were the last words he said to me before the phone card cut us off, and you can see exactly what he means as he hits Adelaide.



Meat Katie

Meat Katie aka Mark Pember hates flying. LOATHES it. You can hear the venom in his voice as he speaks about it. “I’ve done over 60 flights this year, and I still HATE it. White-knuckle ride for me all the way. It’s the take off and landings I hate the most”. Yet why would he agree to do an album and subsequent tour of Australia, knowing that the only way to get here is to fly? “I don’t know… it was stupid”, he laughs, “I love DJing and stuff, love it when I get there… it’s just the flying!” he says exasperatedly. Pember was out here recently promoting the album “Destination Australia 02”, and we spoke in between sniffles as we both had the flu that seemed to wipe out everybody.

Pember got into the dance music scene in the early 90s. “I used to be in bands,” he says of his beginnings. “I started off in bands, and a friend introduced me to samplers, and the first thing I did was sample drums and bass. This was the early days of bigbeat, and it just sounded more dancey, more clubby than the stuff I did previously.” His first foray into dance production was Ceasefire on Wall Of Sound. Pember says, “I split with my partner, and he decided to continue with wall of sound with the name, and I decided to continue with a new project.” That new project was the darker sound of Meat Katie, and for those who wanted to know, the name comes from a film about sex.

Pember has been at the forefront of breakbeat since it moved from being cheesy Fat Boy Slim style breaks to what we know as ‘new school breaks’. The scene has exploded in recent years, and considering Pember once said, “I’m not convinced that Breaks is going to do what Garage or Trance has done. I think it will be a cult scene, healthy but not mainstream” I wondered if his position had changed. “It’s a difficult one, because when I said that I genuinely meant it”, he muses. “It is particularly big in Australia. There are certain acts that I think may break through to the mainstream, but as a scene it’s going to be rooted in the underground – the same as drum and bass. There may be the odd track or two or the artist that goes overground… hearing some of the new stuff, like Plump DJs and some of the Stanton Warriors stuff, I can see the accessibility more so than I did maybe a year ago. But for me, and my own sound, no, I don’t think I’ll ever break into that market. I’d love to, but it’s not realistic for me.”

The recent Destination release is the second in the series, but not many people heard the first mix, done by H Foundation. “There was a problem in that they had only released the Fabric H Foundation Mix two weeks before, so I think EQ had a few issues in that everyone was mentioning the Fabric CD and not the Destination CD,” Pember explains. “And that’s a real shame those guys at EQ are really good and it’s a bit of a shitty thing to happen. But I jumped at the chance of doing it, and I’m a big fan of playing out here and my records seem to be selling well, and I thought this would be a great way to set the record straight as actually what it is that I’m about. By doing a domestic CD I’m hoping people understand my vibe a little better. It’s breakbeat based, but I like to touch on different styles as well, and I saw this as the perfect opportunity to do this.”

Pember’s previous works, such as his track ‘the Hum’ with Lee Coombs, are often dark and tribal, but this mix CD is a lot “lighter”, showing that there’s a lot more to Meat Katie than meets the eye. “I guess it’s how people perceive it. I’m not a moody person, ya know!” he laughs. “Sometimes my music can be mood based, which may lead people to think I’m always like that, but my taste is very broad. I like funky music… I’m not a big fan of cheese, but I do like stuff with a bit of a groove.” This mix CD certainly shows this, as it moves from DJ Shadow to Meat Katie to Matrix versus Goldtrix.

Hum is also the title of his successful club, which is coming up to its 2nd birthday in November. “It’s moved to a new venue, a place called the Fortress, and it’s like two story down basement warehouse venue, and we’ve got a license til 6 in the morning, which is quite a late license for the UK. We keep it quite cheap as well…” Pember says of the club. “We do it sporadically now, every 6 to 8 weeks. Thing is, we get other work – good paying work – elsewhere, and we have families and actually have to make a living as well”, he laughs.

His other project is the label Whole 9 Yards, which has recently released the new Elite Force album. “I’m actually taking a bit of time off, as I have another child on the way which is due in January and I need a little home time,” Pember explains. “I spend a lot of my time running the label, and this will be a great opportunity to put it on the backburner for a little while, to concentrate on the things I need to do.” I wondered if Pember thought it was difficult being a father and working in the music industry. “I think it’s hard having a family and doing ANY job, really” he laughs. “You’ve got a lot of responsibility and all that. I wish I was there a bit more on the weekends… I spend the week producing and running the label, and come the weekends I go out and DJ, and try and grab moments being at home, but now I’m really making an effort to make some quality time. It’s difficult because you’ve gotta make money as well, make ends meet”.

Pember missed Adelaide on this tour, but is sure to return to Australia, most likely after his break in January. “Do you know what? I would love to come to Adelaide,” he says. “It’s a real shame I didn’t have an Adelaide date this time –I’ve been here 4 times now and I’ve never been there! I’m going to harass my agent next time I’m down,” he laughs. In the mean time, get a copy of the Destination Australia 02 CD and prepare for a funky ride through some great breakbeat!