A shining exponent of disco and house music in Australia, Sydney DJ, producer and record label owner Husky has kept dance floors moving locally and internationally for more than 15 years. Husky will play alongside Spaniard David Penn in Brisbane, at Prohibition Fridays on 20 April.
Q. Husky, you have made your mark in Australia’s disco and house music scenes with a career that spans decades, and an extensive catalogue of record releases. How did you come to be so engrossed in this style of music? Do you remember the first time you heard it?
A. I was initially introduced to house music when I was about 17, through some tapes some friends had at McDonald’s (I was a manager!). We used to crank these DJ mixes and tracks on a shitty sound system after the restaurant had closed while we were cleaning up, and these memories are still fond with me. Hearing this music inspired me to dance and I knew I wanted to play it.
However, it was only when I started working with my now studio partner, Yogi, at Sanity Dance Arena, where I grew a real love for house music and educating myself a little more on the genre, artists and the industry itself. I just loved the fact that you could go to a club and hear music for the whole night that you had never heard before (a stark change to the way things are now!), and this inspired me to be a selector.
Q. For those that don’t know, what is it like to be a part of the scene in Australia? In your opinion where are the best clubs, and who are some other Australian artists and labels that are doing house and disco proud?
A. To be honest the scene has never been better here. With the rise of the home studio there really are some incredible artists that have just popped up with some incredible music. Personally, I really like music from Avon Stringer, Yolanda Be Cool, RÜFÜS, and recently Human Movement, who have a lush new release on Defected Records. There are stacks of others too, but I could rabbit on for hours here.
Personally, I love playing anywhere around the country but always have a soft spot for certain clubs here in Sydney, like Civic Underground and Home nightclub. Also, the day events at Cafe Del Mar are really drawing some memorable moments and crowds, so that’s hard to beat! Melbourne is always a fun city to play too and their scene seems a little more underground and willing to hear a bit of a journey. I am also really excited to be coming back to Brisbane though, as from what I can see, the crowd at Prohibition is really fun!
I don’t think it’s a matter of finding something that’s the ‘best’ because it’s down to the crowd on the night and the vibe of the room at the time. I have had some incredible gigs playing to 50 people in Adelaide vs 800 people at Coogee Pavilion on a Saturday night.
Q. You haven’t gone it alone this whole time – in addition to your solo career you’ve been part of the duo Random Soul, with vocalist Yogi. You two launched Random Soul Recordings way back in 2010, a label that has more than 50 records to its name. It’s mostly been your own work, with remixes by some major heavyweights. What an amazing accomplishment. You must have some stories to tell! Are there any you would like to share? What have been some of the more special moments along the way?
A. Thank you! It’s been amazing, and I would not swap it for anything. We have travelled the world and played some incredible places, and this was all sprouted from the music and the label’s ability to connect us with global DJs. It’s been amazing to work with the likes of Miguel Migs, Grant Nelson, Inaya Day, Chuck Love, Full Intention, Jay-J, GIOM and many others.
One of our most fond memories was playing events with Jay-J in Miami – we would basically just try this ‘live show’ where we would all split up parts of the track and do them live… nothing was planned but it all just came together and was something the clubbers there had never seen before. I was DJing, Yogi was playing keys and singing. Jay-J played the bass, Chuck Love was on about 10 other instruments (French horn, flute, guitar, tambourine) and Rico was playing trumpet. Magical moment.
Q. You must be a very busy man, as you’ve also been running your own label, Bobbin Head Music, since 2014. The label’s latest release is a track of yours called “Can’t Shake It Off”, with vocals by Australian X-Factor contestant Nat Conway, and remixes by Mark Di Meo and Alaia & Gallo. How did this record come together? What’s next for Bobbin Head Music?
A. Yeah there isn’t much spare time these days with Random Soul starting to pick up speed and Bobbin Head Music (being my own baby) which requires a lot of attention. ‘Can’t Shake It Off’ came together pretty quickly and I got lucky to snag a little time from Nat Conway as she is also very busy working on multiple projects herself. She dropped some amazing vocals and the original came together nicely as a smooth ‘night starter’ or poolside summer jam. I wanted the release to connect a little more to various clubbers though, so enlisted the Italian house legends Alaia & Gallo and then LA based Mark Di Meo to do a slightly more underground soul vibe. The release has done really well so far so I am very happy with it. It’s always nice to have messages from people as they enjoy the release, and also being tagged in radio posts from around the world as they play the track, great stuff!
Up next on the label is another release from myself featuring a US based vocalist, Letta, and Scott Diaz on the remix. I love having the platform to release my own stuff, but the label was also always designed to shine a light on music I was really into, so I’m on the hunt for some fresh artists to throw out there.
Q. Working with vocalists is something you do on the regular, which is unfamiliar territory to a lot of aspiring electronic music producers. Do you have any advice for music makers who want to work with singers? What are the tricks of the trade?
A. I don’t know if there are any tricks to be honest. But I think just be open and honest with anyone you want to work with from the get go. Keep things fair and even and give any artists you work with the opportunity to be creative and do their thing. It’s obviously important to have vision for the work, but I don’t like the idea of going into a record trying to make something that’s already been done, or recreate another track. Things always do their best when they happen organically and both artists are vibing the work. Some other advice is to pay your artists! Keep the scene alive by sharing the love 🙂
Q. Your latest record is a collaboration with Arcade 82, on Sam Divine‘s label DVINE Sounds. Arcade 82 are a UK duo, and the track is on a UK label. Do you have any more releases on international labels in the works?
A. I do! I have just signed two new releases. One to Angelo Ferreri’s MONOSIDE recordings, which has recently had releases from David Penn, Art of Tones, Kevin McKay, J Paul Getto and Angelo himself of course. This one will be out in June. Another has just been snapped up by Lupe Fuentes for her label, In The Loop, which is due out on May 4th. Stoked on this one, as Lupe has been playing it around The States lately and say’s it’s been going down really well.
I think it’s important to keep spreading your wings outside of Australia and focus less on the scene here. The advantages of getting your name out internationally will make it so much easier to get gigs overseas.
Q. The Bobbin Headcast and Random Soul Recordings Podcast serve as showcases for music from your labels, and any other quality tracks that you are digging. But podcast and music publishing platforms like Beatport, Traxsource, iTunes, SoundCloud and Mixcloud didn’t exist when you started out as a DJ. How has the digital age changed the way you reach your audience?
A. Good question. Street press like 3D World was the big news pusher for dance music in Australia when I was getting started. Along with the UK’s big ones like DJ Mag and Mixmag. I used to buy these religiously and then read all the music reviews and charts and then hop down to the record store to hopefully pick up some of this music. Now, everything is available at your fingertips. This is great in so many areas, for example: having a fan from Macedonia drive three hours to my last gig in Bulgaria because I posted the gig on my social pages, is an obvious advantage of this new connection. Being able to reach fans from Mexico to Russia is obviously a massive new tool at an artist’s fingertips now, along with being able to post on multiple social networks to connect fans that use particular platforms is a huge advantage. Everyone chooses their form of social media they like for connecting with music and their hobbies, so being able to talk to them directly is a huge improvement.
However, it’s hard to ignore the advantages of a record store in bringing the scene together in one place. I miss bumping into the working DJs of Sydney over the smell of burning incense and freshly pressed vinyl.
Q. You’ve played music to groove, funk and soul enthusiasts in Sydney for 15 years, and at some big events overseas as well. What have been some of the highlights? Where else will you be travelling to this year?
A. Hard to pick a favourite here so I’ll mention a few highlights. Playing overseas is always exciting. It’s fresh, new and you are never quite sure how the crowd will react.
I will always remember gigs I have done in Europe. I have played in Sofia, Bulgaria at a club called Carrusel which was really fun, then i took a 7am flight to Zurich (via Berlin) to play at 6pm in Zurich at a university party called Sanapa. This was basically a huge hall filled with 500 dancing uni students who loved underground music. Was amazing! Then I played a two hour set in Bellevue club that same night from 1-3am. That was a memorable one as the crowd just got stuck in. I have also done a few gigs in Ibiza and these are always super fun. Everyone is on that island for music and having fun, so it’s a party everywhere you go. Dubai at 360 was also a memorable gig. Playing outside in 35 degree heat in one of the most amazing locations in the world.
At the moment I don’t really have any plans to travel too much as I am focusing on this year being a music year. Last year I travelled and deejayed in just about every continent, so a break from travelling too far in 2018 is ok with me!
Q. Brisbane clubbers can catch you at Prohibition Fridays presents David Penn & Husky on 20 April. No doubt it will be a really fun night. What do you have planned for the gig?
A. I have not played Brisbane for a few years, so I am really excited to be returning to the most vibrant venue in the city. I have those new tracks I mentioned above which I will be playing, along with my new release which is dropping on Vicious recordings on the 20th! ‘Lost Without U’ will be getting a nice premiere at Prohibition 🙂 Apart from that, it will just be whatever music I am feeling at the time, some old, some new. I always try and energise my sets with working with at least 3CDJs to add multiple layers on tracks though, so expect to be moved! Nothing is ever really planned. So, we’ll all just have to turn up and throw down 😉
>> Husky on Beatport
>> Bobbin Head Music on Beatport
>> Random Soul on Beatport
>> Random Soul Recordings on Beatport
>> Husky on Google Play
>> Random Soul on Google Play
>> Husky on iTunes
>> Bobbin Headcast on iTunes
>> Random Soul on iTunes
>> Husky on Facebook
>> Bobbin Head Music on Facebook
>> Random Soul on Facebook
>> Random Soul Recordings on Facebook
>> Husky on Instagram
>> Bobbin Head Music on Instagram
>> Random Soul on Instagram
>> Husky on Twitter
>> Bobbin Head Music on Twitter
>> Random Soul on Twitter
>> Husky on Mixcloud
>> Bobbin Head Music on Mixcloud
>> Random Soul on Mixcloud
>> Random Soul Podcast on Mixcloud
>> Husky on SoundCloud
>> Bobbin Head Music on SoundCloud
>> Random Soul on SoundCloud
>> Random Soul Recordings on SoundCloud
>> Husky on Spotify
>> Random Soul on Spotify
>> Husky on YouTube
>> Random Soul on YouTube