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

Interview with a Butler

by Taran M

On Sunday just passed it was my pleasure to catch up with one of Melbourne’s rising pound for pound DJ’s and friend of Substance, DJ Alex Butler, or as he casually refers to himself as “The Alex Butler Experience”. It takes a bold and brash personality to adorn themselves with the title “Experience”  and for those that don’t know him, you would simply write it off as DJ wankerism 303. But to those afforded the luxury of being in his inner circle, it’s actually more of an ironic middle finger to the conformity of what a DJ is nowadays, done with a ball’s out this is what I have, if you’re not laughing at it you should be stomping your ass off to it. So with beer in hand and recorder set to stun I set about interviewing Alex at the home of his own branded “Sunday Sessions” at the Terminus in Abottsford.

Substance: So mate how is that Tasmania came to lose you, what did you do with the second head?

Alex: I was living in Tasmania and one day got a phone call from my brother, basically telling me to pack up my shit and come over to Melbourne to party with him. So three days later I packed up my life into my car came over on the boat and was straight to Hard Kandy on the Friday night. They perform the operation to remove the third head before you get on the boat.

Substance: So you’re a real boat-person, wow you’re my first. So before you came over to Melbourne you had had your first experience in real big clubbing/ partying. Tell us about it?

Alex: Yeah I had been over here on a sporting trip to Melbourne in 2003 and was pretty buggered and after thirteen days of games. On the Friday night my brother said “Fuck it, I’m taking you partying”. So we hop into his car and after about half an hour of driving I asked where we were going. I found out we were going to a party, at a castle in the middle of nowhere. Was a bit shocked and had no idea what I was in for. Got to the front of the castle and I was amazed, I hadn’t seen ravers or set foot in a proper club before and there’s Kryal Castle done up to a T, I was amazed. I met Scott Alert back stage and when the night was done there was no looking back, I spent every Friday at Hard Kandy for the next three to four years.

Substance: When you first started getting into the scene did you know that you wanted to be a DJ/ Producer. Asking because you have been in the scene for awhile its only the last few years we’ve seen you really step up to the plate?

Alex: Nah, wasn’t like I wanted to get into DJing immediately I just liked to head out and party. I had a few friends that showed me the ropes, mixing wise and producing. It wasn’t until about 2006 that I started getting into the tunes, bought some decks and gave it a crack.

Substance: So you started playing electro house and Trance with Kandy at the start of your career and you’ve definitely headed into a more bushy sound, what are you preferring to play at the moment, What’s the Alex experience offering listeners at the moment and where is it heading?

Alex: I’m playing a hybrid of prog trance with definitely a more psy sound. It’s a universal sound, crosses over but it’s definitely got a tough feel to it. On the flip side I do like to get down and dirty and have a bit of fun playing electro house still. I’m definitely pushing the prog psy as my definitive sound though. I’m starting to produce tunes in this vein so that’s where it’s all heading.

Substance: Worst gig experience? If you had five robotic dancing chickens would that have helped the gig?

Alex: I ran an after party for a Substance, nothing worked, it was at Pony, which was a miss-booking in terms of a venue, we were heckled by people that saw us play there the last week, even though that was our first night. At the end of the gig we grabbed our shit and we broke out.

Substance: How important is the crew that you hang with n the EDM?

The support from the guys around in the early days, like the Substance crew was important. More so now my mates like Simon Murphy and Jordz have given me the avenues to get the gigs I’m getting. It’s great to have mates around me doing this cause the main reason I started this was to have fun with my mates.

Substance: Tell me about the beach party you and Simon destroyed New year? By all reports it was just a docile little affair until you and Simon got on and fucked shit up, is it true you laced the water with stimulants?

It was a docile party to begin with and was pretty tame during the day lots of people sitting back relaxing , the sun went down, we started bashing out the prog psy and shit got loose, started rocking it. I wish we could afford to lace water with drugs, unfortunately we are not that rich.

Substance: Use the words “Mint”,  “Fresh” and “slapper” to describe the average situation behind the decks:

Alex: (Laughs) I’d like to think the tunes I play are pretty fresh, I like looking out at the mint chicks on the dance floor until the lights come on and they’re all slappers.

Substance: What is the one artist and or event you would give your left nut for a gig at?

Alex: Rainbow Serpent Open or straight after Neelix, market stage… Go hard or go home!

Substance: You’re really into Neelix?

Alex: Yeah he got me into that prog sound, everytime i see him play he never disappoints, he steered my sound towards a more rounded prog sound, definitely diverted my attention from hard trance.

Substance: So we’re at Sunday Sessions at the Terminus which you run with Simon, what is this all about? Is this the Dr. Jekyll to your Mr. Hyde?

Alex: This is more just for us to have an outlet to hang with our mates, play some chill out hip hop. We just thought it would be a nice change of pace to cross fade some tunes and enjoy a beer garden with a mean parma.

Substance: What’s the biggest problem that the Melbourne EDM is facing and don’t say clubstep!

Alex: I would definitely  say it’s the stigma that some venues still have to partying, more so a throwback to the damage caused by bad crowds and negatively geared press towards the EDM as a whole. Liquor licensing and councils are slowly become more of a problem for venues.

Substance: Whore yourself again, Where are you playing next? What are you upto?

Alex:  I’m playing an electro gig at Hard Kandy, with “The freak” Daniel Johnston going bananas on some tough electro. Then there’s a party coming up in a couple of weeks, ill post it underneath the article…. I’m also playing a two hour prog set down in the Otways in March, that’s going to be a good little doof.


For more info on Alex and upcoming gigs visit his Facebook page.
You can catch him playing every second week at the Sunday Sessions at Terminus Hotel in Abottsford.

Substance Chrissy Rooftop Party

by J-Slyde

Substance Chrissy Flyer

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, Especially at Substance HQ. Taran M is doing his best impersonation of Santa Claus, J-Slyde is spiking the Eggnog and with Simon Murphy and Rich OK rounding up the reindeer things are getting into the Christmas swing.

So it’s time to deck the disco ballz with booze, Slurp through the sounds in a one horse open sleigh and tell the three kings to take an afternoon off as The Substance Christmas party calls the first noel of Electronic music into effect.

The regular residents will be caroling all of their substance Classics along with some very special guests in what will be THE LAST ROOFTOP PARTY at the Terminus Hotel before the apartments of sin go live. So make a list, check it off twice and get your ass down to the Terminus Hotel on the 18th of December for the last Substance Party at the Terminus Hotel and we all know nobody rocks the rooftop like the Substance Crew!!!!



Taran M
J-Slyde feat Ru C.L
Rich OK
Simon Murphy
Muska (Mixed Messages)
Dave Juric (Clarity)
Darko (White Noise)
recoil (White Noise)



Sat, Dec 18th






Terminus Hotel. 605 Victoria St, Abbotsford



$10 early-birds avail from promoters or by emailing
Only 50 released! First in best dressed!
$15 general tickets available from promoters and ONLINE via FestivalTix


18+ Event, Venue reserves the right to refuse entry if your (not) funny looking or it looks like you wont dance.



We’ve been lucky enough to secure the very talented Ru C.L for this event. Regarded as one of Melbourne’s finest and most talented MC’s, he’ll be teaming up with J-Slyde to offer up an energetic rhyme filled peak-time Breaks set. Expect nothing, be ready for everything!
Read below for a brief run-down on what he’s all about…



Ru C.L Bio Pic“Ru C.L” a.k.a. Rueben Campbell, is one of the most dynamic artists to emerge from the Hip Hop/Dancehall and Reggae scene. A ‘Jahstralian’ (Jamaican/Australian heritage) based in Melbourne, Ru C.L is an explosive entertainer with world wide appeal.

His talent is evident on every track of his first album “Straight Down The Line” a collaboration with Katalyst and executive producer Geoff Barrows of the acclaimed Portishead. This truly world class album was mixed and recorded in Bristol UK.

In his new Album ‘Brimstone & Fire’, Ru C.L returns with a skill-filled, exciting, unique, lyrically clever Hip Hop album. The production on this album has a classic Hip Hop universal sound, with a similarity in vocal delivery to the likes of Nas or Mos Def. Ru C.L is able to effortlessly cross between many genres. Hip Hop, Reggae, Dancehall, Sing Jay, Soul and R&B. ‘Brimstone & Fire’ leans more towards classic Hip Hop, however there is evidence of his diversity in this album. Ru C.L’s range of musical skills will always keep audiences eager to hear what is coming next. This Jahstralian charismatic performer is set to relight the fire with his new Hip Hop master piece ‘Brimstone & Fire’. Look out for this album to be released in 2011.

Ru C.L performs in various capacities which includes acting or as an MC for events such as Raggamuffin Festival 2010. His reputation within the Hip Hop, R&B Reggae and Dancehall community, has seen him share the stage with acts such as Jurassic 5, Pharcyde, Talib Kweli, Pharoahe Monch, Guru, Super Natural, Estelle, Z trip, Mob Deep, Sly & Robbie, Mad Professor, Mighty Sparrow, Lee Scratch Perry, The Wailers, DJ Craze and many more. Ru C.L toured and performed nationally with the Black Eyed Peas & John Legend.