Mark Johns Releases New Track “Same Girl”

by J-Slyde

Blushing Panda
(image: YouTube – Blushing Panda)

Two years ago, Naomi Abergel was doing song covers and listening to electronic music as a hobby. When her friend Sable shared “In Paris,” her cover version of the Jay-Z/Kanye West song, to the online community, the DJ and music producer Skrillex was quick to notice Abergel’s talent. A few months later, Naomi Abergel found herself in LA getting signed to OWSLA. She picked the name Mark Johns from her favourite visual artist, Marc Johns.

The Montreal-native released her debut EP, Molino, last year and now she has finally launched her first work this 2017. She released her single “Same Girl” premiered on W magazine and with it came a different – or rather same old – Mark Johns. The song is about friends whom she recently got back in touch with and how they’ve each had their journeys in life. But through it all, they’re essentially the same people.

Check out the song below:

(video: YouTube – OWSLA)

Johns created the song following advice from her mentor, Skrillex, to stay true to herself. Apparently when she was an OWSLA neophyte, the young musician felt a lot of pressure which is why when working on Molino, she tried to “compound all this [electronic music stuff] and make it more condensed.” Her mentor, however, was firm on telling her that she could be whatever she wants. It took a while, but she has now heeded his advice.

Skrillex is also known to do things his own way and has notoriety for experimenting with music – both invaluable qualities if you want to establish yourself in this business. He has succeeded in working with numerous musicians, and even took to the stage not only at EDM festivals but he has also performed on stages catering to rock fans. A bold move many would never take.

Gregg
(image: YouTube – Gregg)

Last year for instance, the DJ opened for the rock legends Guns N’ Roses during the Houston, Texas leg of the band’s reunion tour. GNR fans were hyped as it was the first time the three original founding members (Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan) had performed together in over two decades. The last time they played live together was on the band’s tour supporting ‘Appetite for Destruction’, the band’s debut album that catapulted GNR to worldwide fame. It remains their best-selling album to date and many of its tracks have been used in a variety of other works, most notably in video games like the Guitar Hero franchise as well as the Guns N’ Roses video slots title. Needless to say, the last thing rock fans expected in an event this significant was electronic dance music, but Skrilly – as he’s also fondly known – was able to capture the crowd. The music producer told the Rolling Stone Magazine that his set even “became a big sing-along” at one point.

Such moments have shown Mark Johns that being genuine is still the best way to express your music. She plans on pushing on to this new direction which would eventually allow her to form a stronger musical identity. The 22-year-old is now reportedly focusing on creating her first full-length album.

Visit the official Mark Johns SoundCloud page to check out her other tracks.

Substance: Who we are, where we’re from, what we do

by Taran M

Reflection is always good, especially if you’re reflecting on some of the best moments of your life. The last few weeks while I have not been able to really do anything because of a dislocated shoulder I have been recalled to remember this fantastic little creation I am eternally humbled to have begun and to include three of my best mates in for the ride. Over the last few months I’ve met mutual friends to Simon and Jordan and have been pinged about the early days. For me when I left Melbourne for Sydney, I knew that the best days in terms of careers had been left behind with my best impersonation of an arsonist running over a wooden bridge. I figured that was it, but then again by that stage hard-house was literally being lead into the retirement home and put on dialysis. So no big loss.

Taran M @ Soft Belly Bar

Taran M @ Soft Belly Bar

It wasn’t until I got to Sydney, settled in and started heading out that anything musical really started to materialise in my head. I had befriended a couple of the promoters at “One Love” in Sydney, in the later stages of Melbourne, myself and my wing-man would be found either at One Love or Viper… Yes Viper… Now before you judge, the music was fucking mint. Electro house but before shit got really, really synth driven. I’m talking “Closer to me” Chab, “Manderine Girl” Bookashade and Pryda/ Prydz. This kind of eclectic mash of electro and tech where genre kinda got a little tossed and lost. My problem however was the crowd. This was typified by the horrors of going to One Love in Sydney. I’m not hating on Sydney per say, especially the friends I have up there to this day. But there was just something wrong about the crowds there and also to a lesser extent Melbourne. The pretention attached to Sydney crowds and house/ electro drove me bat shit crazy. Especially as in Melbourne the crowd at One Love was essentially the revolver crew, just getting more fucked and rocking, but even then the crowds at Viper and Prince were definitely not the PLUR riddled kids that I had learnt to. I learnt swiftly that the Rave mentality of “Do you want some water? Are you ok? where are your friends?” didn’t exist, especially at Viper where the mentality was definitely more along the lines of “you can get more with a kind word and a gun, than just a kind word.”

J-Slyde, Taran M, Simon Murphy - Substance @ SoftBelly Bar

J-Slyde, Taran M, Simon Murphy @ Soft Belly Bar

No shit I got attacked and almost killed by a Red back spider in Sydney. Well that’s a gross exaggeration, I didn’t nearly die, but I learnt a lesson about socks and leaving them on a washing line. So whilst recovering from that, on the couch, ice pack on the foot and listening to tunes and the prospect of returning home to Melbourne already set in stone I spoke to Jordan. I explained the rough ideas I had. “What genre’s?” “Everything” “How?” “I don’t know?” “What venue?” I don’t know” If you remember Peter Vankman and Ray Stanz at the start of Ghostbusters after they have been kicked out of the University. That was it. The only difference being I didn’t make Jordan mortgage himself to the hilt, although it would have been nice to have an abandoned New York Fire Station as our operations. We at least I had a plan to roughly execute. We nutted out the name after coming up with four potentials, I wish I could remember the name of the others but they were woeful. We had a lot of things in set, however Jordan suggested and I agreed I needed to find maybe one or maybe two more people. I didn’t have to look far. I remember the day I called Simon up clear as day. I was leaving Sydney, I had packed my truck, just finished a conversation when I figured Simon might be up for this. I called him up sitting on the edge of the back of the truck. After explaining it to him, he seemed enthused, when he told me he had started spinning tunes, I to was enthused. My neighbour in the block of townhouses I was living in came outside wearing literally nothing but her shorts and bra (She never wore tops due to the heat) and she was about as enthused about me leaving as I was enthused to see her half naked. I had spoken to Rich about Substance and with little persuasion I had him involved as well.

Uber Maneuver (Rich OK & Blinky) @ SoftBelly Bar

Uber Maneuver (Rich OK & Blinky) @ Soft Belly Bar

Taran M & J-Slyde - Soft Belly Bar

Taran M & J-Slyde – Soft Belly Bar

The venue wasn’t hard to find in the end. For most EDM crews finding a venue that hasn’t been tapped out or already been used is growing to be something of a black art. I stumbled across the Soft Belly Bar on a drunken night out. After talking to the owner briefly and explaining what we were all about the owners was pretty down with having us. I have walked past that venue with so much fondness and I genuinely look back at those parties back in the early days with so much love that there isn’t an emoticon to describe exactly how I feel. There was just such a loose, fuck everything vibe to the parties that helped really carry that mentality all the way through the Substance parties as a whole. At any time you could walk into the venue itself and here cracking techno from Simon, walk out the back for an hear Richo destroying a breaks set. Go to the toilet to find fifteen people in a cubicle, walk back out and Jordz is doing what he does best. You know a venue is happy with you when you no longer have a bar tab and you are allowed to randomly take things like a bottle of Vodka to the DJ booth in plain sight and get a nod of the hat. I never wanted to leave this place, the derelict furniture, the smoking in the alley and the general looseness that included driving to Shepparton to play bush doofs at 1am, throwing a DJ off halfway through his set because “Fuck hard trance” and then there was someone’s mate climbing onto the DJ table and pole dancing to MSTRKRFT’s remix of Wolfmothers “Woman”. It was a small venue but we had it packed every night, all our mates and some really fucking amazing nights. What’s more some of the talent that we had along for the ride was an amazingly humbling experience. People with so much energy and passion for getting loose and playing tunes. The likes of Blinky, Kaysh and then there was the guy that we absorbed into our operations so quickly Mouka or Sam if you’re lucky enough to know him. Seriously, Girl Talk would shit bricks at how unbelievably astute this guys ear for mash-up is.

Mouka @ Termius Hotel Rooftop

Mouka @ Termius Hotel Rooftop

The whole philosophy about what we were about was simple and could be explained in the Renegade St. Kilda Beach party that never happened. We thought we had kept everything low key enough and god was it a hot day. We had setup everything and were literally about to drop our first tune for soundcheck when the council rocked up. What do you do when this happens? Move operations to someones backyard. I mention this because as I remember in our timeline this party occurred before the Substance that never was. Soft Belly had been sold to and I have no problem saying it a complete and utter wanker. We always brought in our sound system, assured they had installed a club sound system through the venue we walked in having arranged nothing in the way of sound. What greeted us was the equivalent to a home theater set up and after deliberating on whether or not to go ahead, Jordan and I decided that there was no way we wanted to compromise what had been such a good thing, on such a shitty sound system. The venue itself had also had numerous complaints regarding noise (A member of the board of liquor licensing lived in the apartment block next door) and we unfortunately had to dust our hands and throw middle fingers. It was a damned shame because we all still have so much love for the place and Les the original owner, this signified the beginning of what I can remember being a particularly dark period for us as a crew.

Simon Murphy finds some cover at Terminus Hotel Rooftop

Simon Murphy finds some cover at Terminus Hotel Rooftop

We were homeless, it is what in battle most military units call “Losing the initiative” or losing the momentum. It took us awhile to find a venue and we did in Highlander Bar. In itself a very unique space, which we truly believed we could make our own. However be it its location, or maybe just being so used to Soft Belly Bar it never really clicked that well for us. Don’t get me wrong we had some great moments in this place, one special moment would be Mouka finishing off one Substance with his mash of “You’re not alone” and “Going in for the Kill (Skream rmx)”, having the whole crowd standing and singing along in the forlorn vibe of Highlander is something I will never forget. But we couldn’t get the crowds we were getting at Soft belly and myself, Jordan and Simon all felt like there was something askew. I can’t remember exactly when or how we called it quits from Highlander, but I remember thinking that it was no big loss but at the same time thinking, where do we go from here. Especially after our first birthday at Roxanne’s Parlour. However Jordz and I got to head up to the Gold Coast and play one of the coolest parties I’ve ever been to and we had some pretty cool side room gigs along the way so it was not all doom and gloom, we were just homeless again.

Simon Murphy & Taran M @ Highlander Bar

Simon Murphy & Taran M @ Highlander Bar

The best part was about Simon, Jordz and Rich was that in our own way Substance meant a lot for us. That was why we got through the hardest part of this lull. I think as well it was never about money. If it was we would never would have got this far. For every bad patch, there is a good patch and we found what would be the best parties we threw at the subsequently last venue we held a Substance at.

I really can’t remember exactly how we found the Terminus in Abottsford, but I do believe Alex Butler introduced us in some way to the venue through one of the bartenders. This seemed like home, the moment I inspected it for the first time. This is before the overhaul, before the apartment complexes swarmed to fit every square inch around it with accommodation. It was this rank, rundown almost country style pub with what was an open air function area, bar attached with a smaller enclosed area leading to another bar. The owners were happy as these two rooms were seldom used and the timing was simply to for our sound not to interfere with their downstairs clientele after 11pm. The place literally looked like a deceased estate and having not found a suitable venue we decided to give it a crack.

Danny Bonnici @ Terminus Hotel Rooftop

Danny Bonnici @ Terminus Hotel Rooftop

Luke Chable @ Terminus Hotel Rooftop

Luke Chable @ Terminus Hotel Rooftop

These parties were without a doubt some of the loosest, shenanigan ridden parties I have ever been privy to be engaged in, or attend. Whether it be Simon Murphy DJing in Plastic garbage bags, Danny Bonnici playing what I think is probably the best set Substance ever saw, Blinky getting kicked out before his set, only to have Jordan, Simon and I smuggle him in or Jordan drinking beer from the tap of the bar. The Irish invented the word “craic” for times like these and they were off the wall, if members of the crowd are willing to vomit into their glass and then keep drinking it, just to stay on the dance-floor, you are doing it right. We didn’t have a bar tab after the first Substance, but the venue kept a record of how much we drank, the last tab ran at I think $5000. Without a doubt these parties left an impression on everyone who attended, I love hearing people discuss the Terminus days because they were a perfect way to finish this thing off. Why did it stop? I’ll tell you why, I wanted out. To be honest I felt like I was already “An analogue clock in a digital world” but I simply had lost the real motivation to really keep up with the enthusiasm that Simon and Jordan had for running parties.

Terminus Hotel Rooftop

Terminus Hotel Rooftop

It came up in conversation with some acquaintances a month ago that I took the name and Jordz and Simon started up Prognosis to counter that. I was mortified, for the record Prognosis was on the books prior to the last Terminus gig happening, I even helped Jordan with the name. We all went our own ways with the agreement “It’s not a Substance party unless we are all involved”. That wasn’t me saying it either, it was Jordz and Simon. Whether or not this ever happens is anyone’s guess really. But you never know in this crazy world.

Without doubt the most amazing things about Substance for me was to watch Simon and Jordan take their game to the next level from the last Substance party. There is no better feeling than watching your close mates go on to achieve so much and to stop and think I’ve watched them do this the whole way. They say that something rises out of the ashes, this is true, but truth be told the fire has never been put out. Instead Jordan and Simon have been able to take the fire from Substance and start their own equally amazing brand in Prognosis. To be honest that is what Substance has been and will be about for me.

Viva La Substance.

– Taran M

Mouka, Taran M & J-Slyde - Terminus Hotel Rooftop

Mouka, Taran M & J-Slyde – Terminus Hotel Rooftop

Enter The Void: Loop launches new state-of-the-art sound system

by Simon Murphy
Void Acoustics

Void Acoustics Air Motion Array

Audiophiles, tune selectors, dance floor enthusiasts and weekend warriors rejoice… Our favourite lil club has invested in some serious auditory artillery and it sounds amaaaaazing!

As far as audio systems go, there are favourites across the globe that always spring up in people’s minds. Brands like Funktion One have become (rave) household names and big systems with big sound enchant all whom cross their paths. Whilst the average punter just wants it to be loud, all those in the know understand that the real magic being done when the system is tuned perfectly to suit the venue for which it is installed. With this in mind, the lovely folk at Loop went speaker shopping and when they surveyed their options there was only one that would perfect the sound at their venue, Void Acoustics.

Void’s globally renowned sound systems, with their distinctive red speakers, are currently installed at electronic institutions like Ibiza’s DC10. High-end systems engineered to not only fill the space but also to never compromise on sound quality. The installation at Loop has come about through extensive planning and testing which will mean that the volume will increase as the arrangement holds the sound where it needs to be… on the dance floor.

J-Slyde and Simon Murphy were invited down to the launch of the system and took their Mahala pal Dave Juric along to see just how good it sounded. All agreed that there is a remarkable difference and each of the lads was licking their lips at the chance to play some tunes on the new system. The sound is crisp, clear and with further improvements already planned, it’s only going to get better.

Luckily for us this Saturday plays host to our debut on the new system as we welcome Melbourne legend Phil K for the feature set of the evening. Mish’Chief and Sebastian Wild round out the guests lineup with the usual Prognosis residents, J-Slyde, Simon Murphy and Aaron Static, in tow, along with vdmo Kstati providing mind-bending visuals for the duration. The team are ready to give the new sound system one serious working, so make sure you come down this weekend to experience the amazing sound in person.

Prognosis Persuasions: Simon Murphy

by Simon Murphy

In this new article series we’ll be catching up with featured artists from our upcoming Prognosis events to give you an insight into their musically minded brains. Expect to hear music that’s been getting airplay in their DJ sets, stuff they’ll be planning to play at Prognosis and generally tunes they’ve been vibing off. To open the series, and in the lead up to our December edition of Prognosis, we are very pleased to welcome Simon Murphy! -ED

simon-murphy-persuasions

Tis the season to be merry and the summer season is in full swing here in Melburn town. The festival folk are kicking up dust, the club kids are staying up past their bed times and the vibe around town is one of elated enthusiastic energy.

In the lead up to the final Prognosis event for the year, I thought I’d take some time to share some of the sounds I’m digging at the moment. No particular order, no obvious choices, no particular theme, just tunes I’ve dug up recently that have struck a chord with me musically. So many to choose from, so many missed, a snapshot in time of musical inspirations.

See you at Loop!!

Tom Hades – Theory (Original Mix)

Hades is an artist who I always keep a close eye on due to his diversity and ability to move between sounds and deliver high quality audio artillery. From his darker, staunch techno through to more delicate pieces like this, Hades regularly pops up in my sets and you can hear why… This has summer written all over it.

 

The Tweakers – Reina Roja (Original Mix)

An inspiring mainstay on the global techno fixture for a long time now, Funk D’Void has earned his place through tirelessly delivering consistently good music, through both his DJ sets and his productions. His label Outpost is one of my all time favourites. Supporting him this year was a huge honour and this tune encapsulates a lot of what I love about his music.

 

Stephen J Kroos – Kraton (Original Mix)

One listen to this and anybody who has seen my sets at Prognosis will immediately recognise the elements that appear in a lot of the music I play. This track has gritty glitched out sounds amongst captivating melodies and a solid bassline. Fair to say I listened to this on repeat for a while.

 

Anthony Megaro – Sensation (Original Mix)

A gem I found whilst digging through the deep dark corners of Beatport. This tune brings some of the club sensibilities that fill the airwaves each week at venues across town but has little a twist that shakes things up and keeps me interested where other tunes would have lost me. Definitely summer dancefloor fodder.

 

11-11 – Indian Summer (Original Mix)

As a long time Guy Gerber fan, when I heard he was teaming up with Diddy to release a collab album, I was initially completely gobsmacked and then quite intrigued. The result? Pretty bloody amazing. There are quite a few highlights on the free album but this one has found its way into my sets a few times. Solid production as always from Gerber. A great early Christmas present.

 

Gabriel Ananda – Earthed (Original Mix)

One of my all-time favourite producers and DJs, Gabriel Ananda has been one of a handful of artists who have continually inspired the musical direction I have followed. His radio show Soulful Techno has tempted me with tunes I’ve had to wait months to own and his personal output have found their way into lots of my sets. This one isn’t a new one but is one of my favourites for the year and will continue to get air time from me.

 

Tube & Berger – Imprint Of Pleasure (Adam Beyer Enhanced Dub)

Another tune that is by no means new, but which captured my attention since I first heard it, is this gem from one of the hottest labels of the year Suara. Adam Beyer one of the undisputed kings of techno gives this track a feather touch and creates an enthralling journey through the melodic side of techno. I still can’t get enough of this slow-burning bliss. Quality all the way.

 

Uone – Connections (Timmus Remix)

The pairing of two Melbourne lads on this tune appearing on Sprout Music is a big thing and the tune delivers the goods. Quirky, bass laden beats with mass dancefloor appeal. Has been pulled out a few times when I’ve played sets needing some lower bpm booty shaking action plus there’s just the right amount of dusty dancefloor action for me.

 

Deepchild – Haitian Rum Runner (JSTX Remix)

In the last few months I’ve had the chance to play some solid techno all around town and this track has popped up on a lot of those occasions. One of Australia’s most successful exports in the house and techno sphere at the moment Deepchild has had his tune Haitian Rum Runner given a solid techno workout and the result is this stormer. Bass heavy techno beats.

 

Kiasmos – Looped (Original Mix)

To wrap up the list I’m including a track that hasn’t been played in any of my sets but is more reflective on the type of music I listen to for inspiration. The long awaited release of the Kiasmos album on Erased Tapes, with all its expectation, proved even more amazing than imagined. Electronica fused with classical orchestral mastery and delicate soundscapes into an album of timeless beauty. Olafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen pair up on their Kiasmos project with brilliant results. Immerse yourself in this album with a glass of wine and your best headphones.

 

Hit-up our Prognosis Soundcloud page to listen to the entire selection!

Photo by Noxid Productions

Dylan Griffin: AU Underground, DJing & Why Melbourne is Better

by J-Slyde

In the lead-up to our August edition of Prognosis, J-Slyde sat down with Dylan Griffin for a quick Q&A to grill the man on everything from the reasons behind his recent move to Melbourne through to future plans for his hugely successful podcast series, AU Underground. Read on for more!

Dylan Griffin

You’ve just recently moved from Sydney to Melbourne. What spurred on the move? It wasn’t just because Prognosis is Melbourne based, was it?

18 months in Melbourne town has flown by and it now feels like home, my other love besides music is wine, and the wine scene and the electronic music scene is more vibrant here and more to my taste and I wanted the change.

There’s big rivalry between Syd and Melb, have you noticed much difference as far as the electronic music scene goes? Melbourne’s is way more vibrant, right?

Haha, putting words in my mouth. Im going to try and be the diplomat here… they are different scenes both with their pitfalls and highlights, for example the dance floors can be slightly more energetic in Sydney than Melbourne, but in Melbourne the people are refreshingly less concerned about the hype and the look than the more image conscious Sydneysiders. And lets just say I connect a lot better with the music coming out of Melbourne and have made some very dear friends that made me feel like I was finally home.

In the decade since you’ve been DJing at a professional level you’ve manage to rack up a huge list of support slots for a bevvy of globally respected artists such as Max Cooper, Gabriel Ananda, Boris Brejcha and Kosmas Epsilon, to name but a few. Who were some of your favourites to support?

I’ve been very fortunate with some of those support bookings. Mostly for the sentimental value, the highlight would be my first role supporting a big international and that was warming up for Kosmas Epsilon (when he was at the height of his popularity) many many years ago that Subsonic had booked me for. I was super excited and with a packed room right at peak time trying my best to show some restraint in a heaving club.

Many will be familiar with your AU Underground Podcast series which has now been going for just over 2 years. Can you explain the premise behind the series and why you started it?

After working closely with record labels for many years I had made some great connections and relationships with producers… I also felt like I had gotten to know the Australian dance music scene intimately across the 3 major states NSW, VIC and QLD. I wanted to do something with that and coupled with the desire of having something of my own whilst still being a big proponent of Australian electronica. At the time there was also no podcast series firmly focused on exclusively Australian producers and DJs and I wanted to fill that void.

You’ve featured some hugely talented local acts and artists since AU Underground’s inception. Without picking favourites, can you pinpoint a few recent highlights? or a good place for a new listener to start?

Ignoring what I see as my then droll and nervous presentation I think 002 Trinity is a great place to start and still one of my favourites, other recent highlights include YokoO, Robbie Lowe and Christian Vance.

What’s planned for future editions? Can you let us in on who you’ll be featuring next?

Dean Benson from well known Melbourne crew Stable Music is up next. And AU Underground is going to take a focus on festivals and event crews over the summer too.

Do you think AU Underground has helped progress and open doors for your DJing career, or do you look at them as totally separate entities?

That wasn’t the purpose but it would be silly not to see that AUU has helped raise my DJ profile, no doubt, and the two go hand in hand. I listen to loads of music and do test and feature local producers in a lot of my sets.

Your DJ career has seen you not only traveling interstate, but also playing internationally in places like India and Thailand. What has been your favourite international gig so far?

Kolour in Bangkok has to be one of my favourite events, amazingly professional, sold out shows in unique and incredible venues, whether it be surfing wave machines at the show or playing a gig 20 stories high on a rooftop to a thousand people, these guys know how to throw a party !

Dylan Griffin Live @ Eclipse

What were some of the main differences when playing to overseas crowds?

Male to Female ratios on the dance floor can be a big one, especially so in India where it is so male dominant. And of course the taste in music can vary quite a bit.

Which leads me to my next question… Popular genres and “in” sounds can differ vastly from country to country, do you find yourself adapting your sound when you play overseas? or, on an even smaller scale, interstate gigs?

I’ll definitely take a little bit more cheese to some parts of Asia as back up in-case some of the more underground sounds aren’t as easily digestible, haha. Melbourne certainly has a different palate. I also notice Queensland, particularly Cairns, do go for the more progressive and up tempo style sounds than the other states, I think due to the big influence the Open Records imprint has up there. I really like the variety and change between countries and states to be honest, it can give me a chance to play something I wouldn’t normally play and in some cases take more risks.

What can we expect from your feature set at Prognosis on Aug 23rd?

Im gonna dig up a few old classics I think and put them into a fresher context with some new stuff I’m really digging at the moment as well some unreleased Subsonic Music tracks that I haven’t tested yet!

And last but not least – top five tunes that have influenced your DJing the most?

That is an almost impossible question, hahaha… shit! So here is 6 instead, of mostly all old tracks that inspired me and helped shape the way I wanted to move people at different times over the years..

Trentemoller – Moan (Trentemoller Remix)

Joris Voorn – Deep side of the moog

Layo & Bushwacka! – The big dream (Martin Buttrich Remix)

Stephan Bodzin & Marc Romboy – Ferdinand

Extrawelt – Soopertrack

Stimming – Melodica

For more on Dylan be sure to check out his Soundcloud and AU Underground.
You can catch him playing at Prognosis on August 23rd @ Loop

Return of The Murphy!

by J-Slyde

Simon MurphyRight hand man to Substance/Prognosis and generally awesome bloke, Simon Murphy, pulled up stumps and headed off over eight months ago on a trip to the northern reaches of Australia. Some said it was a pilgrimage, others mused that he was chasing love and some just thought he was running from the police. Whatever the reason it was, Murphy has now returned home, and whilst he may be slightly thinner and a little more tanned, his love and passion for music and life in general has never been stronger. J-Slyde caught up with the man to talk about his epic journey and what’s in plan now that he’s back in ‘Burn city.

Disconnected, with little-to-no access to the internet, and thousands of miles away from nightclubs and the music scene you love so much, one might question the reasoning behind your trip. What spurred on the decision to journey so far away from home?

Adventure. I had been working for the same company for over 7 years, going through the motions like a drone and living for the weekends. Things were great but as cliche as it sounds, I knew there must be more out there for me. My fiance had been working contracts as a nurse in remote indigenous communities for almost 3 years. This work and the stories that accompanied it always captured my imagination. Rather than continuously being away from each other for weeks or months at a time, I took a leap of faith, quit my job and headed north looking for adventure. Thankfully the universe stepped up to the plate with some assistance as everything seemed to fall into place. I got a great job working in the community that my partner was stationed and we set up base for the next 8 months. The work was tough but incredibly rewarding. A side of our own country that few see or fully comprehend. As well as working we had a bunch of time to travel, explore, hike etc so we really made the most of our time. Initially I thought I was taking a risk leaving my secure job etc but the gamble paid off in ways I could never have imagined.

So the North of Australia is somewhat of a desolate place full of snakes, crocodiles and other dangerous animals. Manage to get yourself in any hairy predicaments?

Thankfully the only hairy predicament I found myself in was being a full day’s return trip from the closest hairdresser with only a set of blunt clippers and a very patient fiance to tame my fro. In all seriousness though, there are a million and one ways a person can get themselves in some form of danger but a little common sense and preparation should alleviate the majority of these. This city boy’s camping expertise and survival skills extended about as far as a dedicated addiction to doofing and I lived to tell the tale. I saw crocs, snakes, spiders and just about every animal you can think of but these things just made the trip even more special. As someone who has done their fair share of overseas travel, one of the most rewarding parts of this year has been seeing just how amazing our own county is. I implore anyone with even the slightest desire to travel to move Australia up on their list because it has so much to offer.

And did you get a chance to experience much of the local night-life? Any Simon Murphy guest DJ slots at the local pub?

Living 4 1/2 hours from the closest major centre (Katherine) and 8 hours from Darwin meant that the closest thing I got to nightlife or DJing was running a disco for the community at the local primary school. Using a single speaker complete with hideous distortion, a laptop laden with dance-pop-rnb and two strings of fairy lights, these discos were definitely a favourite amongst the local kids with the tracks of choice being Hocus Pocus – Here’s Johnny and Bomfunk MCs – Freestyler (plus some Aqua and LMFAO thrown in for good measure). Besides a few obligatory deck pests, my ‘sets’ (select all – add to playlist – play random) were usually well received. The closest pub was a 90 minute drive on a busted up gravel road so I lived the dry life for the majority of the time I was away. I missed my turntables and my records like crazy but listened to loads of music in my spare time.

Despite the fact you’ve had such limited access to the internet you still managed to grace us with a handful of phenomenal mixes chock-full of new music. Was it hard piecing them together being so disconnected? or do you think it offered you a fresh perspective?

Minimal access to internet was definitely a major inconvenience and meant my tune purchases were limited to a number of huge binges. Having so much time to think, overanalyse and generally self sabotage any mix I started preparing was initially an issue but once I cut the crap and let the music inspire me, the creativity flowed. I definitely got a fresh perspective as I wasn’t buying tunes with particular gigs in mind, I was buying music that resonated with me and started from there. If I hadn’t have had my music with me I would have gone bonkers. For the last 2 months of the time in the community I didn’t even have a TV which increased productivity on the music front tenfold.

You graced Melbourne for a weekend earlier this year with a bit of a whirlwind guest DJ appearance supporting Max Cooper. Did you enjoy being able to support one of your idols?

Loved it. As I never really knew how long I was going to be away for, saying yes or no to gigs back in Melbourne wasn’t easy but I simply couldn’t resist coming back for a show by one of my biggest musical inspirations. It was an offer too good to refuse and I set about making plans to make it possible. 2 days travel time either way and flying out of Melbourne less than 8 hours after the gig finished was totally and completely worth it. Max Cooper is an incredibly talented artist whose music I have been a huge fan of for years so having the chance to play the warm up set was a huge honour. I flew back up north on minimal sleep with a mild hangover and huge smile on my face.

You didn’t have much time to adjust back to Melbourne living. Did you find it hard switching into “nightclub-mode”?

Yes and no. I had been away for 4 months at that stage so hadn’t been anywhere near a club for that whole time but fortunately I had a couple of weeks to prepare and get my mind back on track musically which was a huge help. It’s the chance to play sets like this that drives me to immerse myself in my music with the aim of playing the perfect tunes each time I step up to the decks. Preparation meant the game face was on from the start. Rather than being overwhelmed I was as excited as a kid in a candy store. I had really missed the loud music and party vibe so had a ball.

The contrast would have been amazing. Did it help give you much perspective on the trip?

Walking into a nightclub that had as many people in it as the whole community I was living in was definitely eye opening. Seeing so many happy familiar faces made me feel at home pretty quickly. I feel very lucky for all the opportunities I have had this year. Going back up North straight away was still exciting and I had a bunch of awesome fresh memories to keep me going.

I heard there was an interesting technical issue during Max’s set in which you had to spontaneously fill in for him briefly. Care to fill us in?

This is true. In a blink of an eye I went from dancing stage side to stepping in to play about 5 tunes when minor technical difficulties could have derailed the music completely. Although it wasn’t in extraordinary circumstances, I relished the chance to play some tougher tracks to keep the floor happy. Everything was patched up pretty quickly though and Max came back on to play a bunch more tunes which everyone, including myself, was thrilled about. These things happen, it was all part of the fun.

So you’ve teamed up with Fabel to form the aptly named super-group “Murphy’s Fabel”… what can we expect from your debut set at October’s Prognosis?

Over the years, Fabel and I have always recognised a lot of crossover in our taste in tunes but also a huge amount of variation in what inspires us musically and gets played in our sets. We have played a number of the same events over the years and this has given us a good sense of each other’s musical direction. Our set will be a fusion of our distinct sounds into something a little bit different. We are working towards a set that tells our musical story and will hopefully be playing some of our own material for the first time too. I’m really excited to be working with another DJ who is so passionate and driven when it comes to music.

Is this likely to be a recurring collaboration? and more importantly, can we expect some official Murphy’s Fabel releases?

This will definitely be a recurring collaboration as Fabel and I have been jumping into the studio whenever possible and working on a number of projects. Both of us have different strengths which has helped the creative process flow with some promising results to date. Fabel has classical training on a number of instruments, has travelled the world playing music and has a creative flair that has been further tuned through her years of DJing. I bring to the table a brain hardwired for electronic music in its many forms and OCD tendencies when it comes to sound design (which may in fact be a hindrance haha).

And whilst we’re on the production tip, how have things been progressing in the studio as of late?

I’m not going to lie, it has been a slow process, not due to lack of motivation, moreso a desire to want to learn the intricacies of the software and hardware before diving head first into something that I’m not completely ready to tackle. Now that I’m back in Melbourne and have a network of more advanced and established producers to bounce ideas off, i’m hoping that the pace starts to pick up a bit. With each new element I learn, I get further inspired so i’m excited to get stuck into it in a big way.

We heard you pieced together a bit of a mobile studio that you carted up north during your travels. Can you fill all of us budding producers in on your kit?

Due to space constraints the set up I took with me was verrrry basic. I had my Macbook Pro with Ableton, an M-Audio Axiom 25 Mini, my Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro headphones and a bunch of random samples collected over the years. Not being able to get more samples and sounds had its drawbacks but in the end it just gave me more time to learn the program and play around with sound. My natural curiosity into experimenting with sounds has meant i’ve kept myself amused with what I have had at my disposal.

Now that you’re back what’s plans for you as far as your music and DJing goes?

My time away has given me a chance to focus on the direction I want to take my music and i’ve come back even more determined to start writing some music and to play tunes to anyone who will listen. We have a great network of extremely talented artists and DJs in Melbourne and a scene that continues to evolve which I love being a part of. My music addiction has taken me this far and I look forward to embracing any opportunities that come my way. Some plans have been made to start a monthly podcast that will be broadcast worldwide so i’ll hopefully get this off the ground soon. Stay tuned.

Having only returned for a few days, the bookings have already started rolling in. Where can we catch you playing?

True that. I’ve been lucky enough to be booked at some of my favourite events over the next couple of months. You can catch me on 3Fold Radio, at Prognosis debuting Murphy’s Fabel, Boris Brejcha High Tech Minimal, Strawberry Fields Festival and Earthcore. The summer silly season is well and truly kicking off early with an abundance of quality shows. In the meantime, people can jump on my Soundcloud.

Annnd to round things off. Your top five survival tips when living in the Australian desert:

  1. Water. You’ll need A LOT. The outback shows no mercy.
  2. Crocs. Know your crocs. Freshies are scared of noise and splashing and will generally stay away. Salties will hunt you down and chomp you into bits. Don’t tempt fate.
  3. Music. Take more than you think you’ll need because internet is scarce and school disco just won’t cut it.
  4. Explore. It’s a big place and there are so many incredible things to see. Speak to the locals, they’ll tell you what you won’t find in tourist guides.
  5. Tyres. Cheapies get ripped to shreds and if you have a blow out…. you’re gonna have a bad time.

Interview by J-Slyde

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