Photography: Tess Jetnikoff

Club Reg­u­lars 013: Andras

Melbourne’s nightlife scene may be under a club-closure crisis, but DJ Andras is here to prove the party is still well and truly alive.

Melbourne’s fac­ing a club-close­down cri­sis. The much-loved Hugs & Kiss­es, Mer­cat and Lounge have shut their doors thanks in the most part to devel­op­ers and sky­rock­et­ing rents. Sound famil­iar? Lon­don, we see you.

But what does it mean for Aussie par­ty­go­ers in search of a knees-up? Head for nature and dis­used ware­hous­es, naturally.

Her­ald Sun warned of unau­tho­rised rave par­ties” way back in 2015, but it appears the gath­er­ings are yet to reach a grind­ing halt – if DJ and reg­u­lar raver Andras, real name Andrew Wil­son, is any­thing to go by. 

Known for his unpre­dictable sets fus­ing elec­tron­i­ca and 90s house, Wilson’s EP, Over­world, explored themes as broad as nature and astrol­o­gy. His weapons of choice? Low-bud­get synths and drum machines. His next album is due for release lat­er this year.

For Mel­bourn­ers read­ing, you might remem­ber him from his six-year stint host­ing the Strange Hol­i­day Radio show on 102.7FM, where he reg­u­lar­ly includ­ed local tal­ent until it sad­ly wrapped last year. Sounds like a decent guy.

How did you first devel­op a pas­sion for DJing/​raving/​music?

I was bit­ten by the bug as a teenag­er, pil­fer­ing CD-sin­gles from JB Hi-Fi, buy­ing records after school at Rhythm & Soul (hi Greg!), under­age par­ties and plen­ty of cola. One x Boss Sam­pler begat one x Numark CJD begat one x Roland Groove­box. I took said groove­box to school and tried to jam with the brass sec­tion of the orches­tra (garbage).

What’s spe­cial about the Mel­bourne club scene?

We had some great bic­cys (pills) in the mid-2000s and a go-hard-or-go-home men­tal­i­ty that is, at least in my mind, an exten­sion of the 6-o’clock swill. When I was com­ing up, an old­er gen­er­a­tion of Mel­bourne DJs were still around to give me a leg-up and I’m thank­ful for their gifts of humour and sar­casm. I missed the orig­i­nal wave of rave but lived through the glo­ry days of St Kil­da, South Yarra and glow-sticks in zip-loc bags. Mel­bourne makes do: what we lack in rotary mix­ers we make up for in straight lines. Take off that cul­tur­al bag­gage and sink into the couch. 

What chal­lenges does your scene face?

The gov­ern­ment needs to be remind­ed it’s called the Cen­tral Busi­ness Dis­trict”, not the Cen­tral Retire­ment Vil­lage”. Glass tow­ers have dis­placed some of the most impor­tant venues around town and there are always noise com­plaints and police inter­fer­ences. We’re fair­ing bet­ter than New South Wales though. Pill-test­ing and oth­er safe­ty ini­tia­tives will go a long way to help cir­cum­vent future harm and should be a priority.

What gets you pumped to go on a night out?

Good grub, a bike ride and a Perth after-din­ner mint is my favourite prep. Some­times I lis­ten to a Bell Tow­ers mix if I’m feel­ing frisky.

If some­one is vis­it­ing Mel­bourne, where do you rec­om­mend they go?

Yarra Bend park trails in the morn­ing to take in the wat­tle trees and the mud, South Mel­bourne Mar­ket for one-dol­lar rock oys­ters and Pelligrini’s for an espres­so. If you have access to a car, head for the Dan­de­nongs to find your­self lyre­birds, junk auc­tions and a tif­fin lunch.

Any oth­er DJs/​promoters/​performers from the scene you’d like to shout out?

Instant Peter­son is years ahead as a selec­tor. Inter­stel­lar Fugi­tives have buck-wild DJ ener­gy. Ben­ny and Liam (6am at the Garage) are all action which is exact­ly what this city needs right now. Make­da is a fan­tas­tic DJ and re-intro­duced me to Tiga, for which I am very, very grateful.

Any dream guests at future parties?

Book locals! Besides reduc­ing your car­bon foot­print, there’s a big pool of tal­ent sit­ting here wait­ing for oppor­tu­ni­ties. How­ev­er, I’ve always hoped Chris Kor­da (from the Church of Euthana­sia) would per­form, talk or DJ here in Australia.

If you could play a set any­where in the world, where would it be?

The Maribyrnong con­crete drains, down the road from my house, in the summertime.

Andras’s new album, Joy­ful, will be released on Beats In Space Records on 1st Novem­ber 2019

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