In the hot seat this month is Australian DJ Slinky who brings the rousing sounds of funky/electro/nu-skool breakbeat to Mumbai city. Here he is talking to The Record about his favourite tunes, his most memorable gigs and his top tip for aspiring DJs.
The Record: Tell us about your Indian experience so far.
Slinky: Itís been great. The audience is very young ~ in the sense of being introduced to different styles of music. You go into a club here and one song will be tech house, the next will Bollywood, the next will be hip-hop, so itís sort of a mish-mash of everything. I find that in Australia and the UK and other parts of Europe, people go to a certain club and they know itís going to be one style of music there. So itís been interesting here in India playing breakbeat with some tech house as well and having people listen to that all night. They seem to be loving it which is really good!
TR: Tell us about how you began DJing.
Slinky: I used to go to psytrance (psychedelic trance) parties in Byron Bay, Australia which was a pit stop for many international trance DJs. I felt sometimes that I could never get another DJ to play all the songs I liked and Iíd find myself sitting down all the time. So I just thought ĎWell Iím going to play all the songs I like in a rowí and so I was playing by chance initially. Then at one party, this DJ played this Chemical Brothers track Leave Home which is the opening track off their album Exit Planet Dust. Once I heard that my feet didnít touch the floor for the whole six-odd minutes! That changed me and I crossed over to breakbeat and started researching who was making the best tracks, going to record shops and buying stuff and getting deeper into the genre. [My inspiration] was a toss up between the Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, Uberzone, Adam Freeland ~ all the main guys at the start of it all.
TR: What is the oddest request youíve got?
Slinky: I donít really do requests but occasionally if people ask for something that fits in the genre and I like it, Iíll put it on. But for someone to request something completely random that I donít even knowÖ One night I had a guy come up to me and ask me if he could put on his own CD in the middle of my set! [Laughs] I would never play something that I had never listened to before.
TR: Tell us about a really memorable gig that youíve played.
Slinky: Thereís 11 years [as a DJ] which is hard to condense! (Laughs) Perhaps one of my best moments was DJing with a friend in my hometown in Byron Bay. Thereís a radio station there called Bay FM 91.3 that does a street party every year. They close off two ends of one long street, and just put up a huge platform and speakers and lights. Getting up in my hometown and playing back to back with my best friendÖ having 6,000 people just absolutely blissed out and going crazy to our tunes was just something to behold. While he was playing one track, I got up in front and lifted my arms up and to see 12,000 arms also go up after you do that was pretty crystalline at that time.
Also, every year for my birthday I used to throw a beach party. Just take a generator, a couple of turn-tables and go down to the beach and set it up. The first one I did was about 200 people and a small rig. It went on all night and it was really cool. After five years of doing that, the fifth one was 3500 people on the beach till sun rise where Iím playing my musicÖ just gave me pins and needles and people coming up to me and saying ĎI came all the way from Melbourne because I heard through word of mouth that this party was great.í People were coming because of the diversity of music and how nice it was on the beach.
Also memorable was playing Supercharged audio in the UK in Brighton where all the biggest names in my genre play like Drumattic Twins from Finger Lickiní Records. It was me starting the night off and having the floor absolutely pumping when they came on. Then having them come and ask me what tunes Iím playing made me feel pretty good because theyíre already huge and for me to be playing stuff they likeÖ that was amazing.
TR: The last few years have seen a large number of people suddenly wanting to be DJs - you've been doing this for a while, what are your thoughts?
Slinky: When I was a kid, you didnít really know what a DJ was. At the most people would think Ďradio disc jockeyí if you said DJ. So that was the definition. Now you show any kid a pair of headphones and turntables and they know the word DJ like itís embedded in their lifestyle. Itís been in England since the early Ď80s when acid house first came in and DJs became really big. Manchester, Happy Mondays and that whole scene was evolving. In Australia it became big around 2000 probably. I guess itís because itís only just making it over to India now and is still predominantly commercial music here Ė Bollywood, R&B and hip-hop Ė but Iím sure itíll evolve soon.
TR: What is the craziest thing youíve seen in the crowd from on stage?
Slinky: I remember this party with a big laser projecting on to the dance floor and this one guy walks on to the dance floor on stilts and his whole suit is made out of bits of mirror! They [pointed] the laser on his suit and because there were so many bits of mirror on him, the lasers went flying out all around him reflecting off his suit. And then someone handed him a mirror ball and when the laser hit that, there were thousands of small rays going out in all directions. You just had to see it to get the full effect. (Laughs)
TR: DJs being trendsetters and all that - how important is fashion to your job?
Slinky: For me personally, I just try and look professional and clean-cut. Iím here to work and do my job, Iím not doing this as a hobby. On every front I try and maintain professionalism, itís one of my key things ever since I began DJing. I donít mess around or get too drunk or wasted and canít play. In general I try and just keep it professional all the time.
TR: What is your top tip for aspiring DJs?
Slinky: One, itís going to take a lot of practice. DJs donít get good without practice and it takes a long time. Practice for at least a year before you go out and get a gig so that you donít embarrass yourself. Some DJs think you can just play anything and people wonít notice. But if youíve got people that are into the kind of music youíre playing they will notice if youíre no good. Also, have the freshest, newest music. Find your own style and donít lose the focus. Once you know youíve got talent find yourself a good agent. The hardest thing Iíve found in my whole career is getting someone to represent you. When youíre small, they donít want you because you donít get that them much commission but thatís when you need the agent. Then when youíre huge they want you but at that time you can get an agent anyway! So if you have a friend that is business minded or good at promotions or whatever, get them on your side straight away because itís always a lot more professional.
SLINKY'S TOP TRACKS
The Darker Phaze ~ Slinky and 8 Ball (CDR Promo)
Dirty Robot Girl (Slinky Remix) ~ DJ Hal (Erase Records)
Sex, Drugs & Rock Ďn Roll ~ Boogie Army (Gene Pool Records)
The Fringe ~ McCurry vs. Cole (N-Mitty Records)
Demons (Stanton Warrior Mix) ~ Fatboy Slim vs. Macy Grey (Skint Records)
Blaster ~ Boogie Army (Westaway Records)
Sex, Drugs & Rock Ďn Roll ~ Boogie Army (Gene Pool Records)
This Town (Andy Page Mix) ~ Subsource (Spinout Records)
Idiots ~ Vandal (Lot 49 Records)
Untitled ~ Blim+Diverted (Promo CDR)
Stayout All Night (Groove Diggerz Remix) ~ Sam Hell (Sinister Records)
You can read our feature DJ Speak in the September 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.
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