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