Part of becoming an adult is learning impulse control. As we mature, we learn to fully consider the consequences of our actions. Over time we realise that what might feel good right now may not actually be in our best interest in the longer term, and that by spitting the dummy we may well be cutting off our nose to spite our face. Some of us learn this more readily than others, and some of us are better at defending against moments of weakness than others – but by and large, most of the time most of us are reasonably good at thinking things through a bit before we act.
With that said, there is something cathartic about giving in to impulse. The immediate payoff of immediate action, and the thrill of the risk associated with taking action in the heat of the moment are both pretty compelling, even if not always for the right reasons. This pleasure was reinforced recently during a series of arguments I had with a small kitchen appliance. Everyone has a breaking point.
I look back fondly on the 3+ years I spent living in Calgary, Canada. While I could write volumes on the many amazing people I met during my time there, Area709 patriarch Wes Straub stands out as someone who has really had a profound impact on my life. Without getting all misty eyed, lets just say he is a pretty good guy.
I was honoured to contribute a one hour guest mix to the 100th episode of 709 Sessions, the radio show Wes mixes for Digitally Imported Radio. The mix was broadcast around the world last month. Unlike most of the rest of my podcasts, this mix has been sequenced in Ableton Live, and so contains a number of edits and layers beyond what I could be able to mix live. Those with an ear for detail will appreciate that the first few minutes of the track include synced and processed audio captured during my most recent New Years party, where I road tested the rework that starts the mix off. Enjoy!
In 1965 the Byrds released a song that, drawing heavily from the Book of Ecclesiastes, equated the changing of seasons to the changing phases and fortunes of life. It is an apt metaphor.
As children we may have dreamed of being race car drivers or royalty. In our teenage years we wanted to be rock stars. Now as adult life brings forth its many opportunities and limitations, the goalposts and intended future paths shift further still. As a good friend returning home from a gig at 5AM a few weeks ago found out from his cab driver, everyone has their own opinion on what is age-appropriate when it comes to career and life choices.
Whether you are looking to leave your mark, live your dreams or leave it all behind and start again, decisions to change direction are never easy to make. At the same time, perseverance in the face of difficulty and doubt is critical to any long term success. Sometimes you need the courage to stick it out, sometimes you need the courage to make a change, and determining which path will pan out best is rarely easy. Perhaps The Clash had it right after all.
Australian wine country is truly spectacular. A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to spend a long weekend on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia, in a little town called Willunga. Nestled in the hills of McLaren Vale about 45 minutes south of Adelaide, Willunga is within spitting distance of more than a hundred wineries, and just a few km away from a number of beautiful beaches. It is also home to a pretty good pizzeria. My kind of place.
This mix was recorded a few days after our return.
Despite the rise of social media, there really is no substitute for face to face engagement with friends and family. As mentioned in a few recent podcast episode writeups, the tyranny of distance is a recurring theme for all of us with our hearts in more than one part of the world. As we are not yet blessed with the clear calendars and fat wallets needed to see our friends and family for more than what seem to be very fleeting moments, when the stars align and friends from far away are in town, little incentive is needed to drop everything else and bring forth a celebration, however brief it may be.
This mix is exactly that. An impromptu celebration of a very brief visit of a very good friend. It was mixed live on a lovely spring evening as the backdrop to spirited conversation and a long overdue reconnection.
Spring has finally arrived here in Melbourne. In fact, with temperatures forecast to rise above 35C in the coming days you could say that we have bypassed spring entirely and headed straight into summer. With the warmer weather comes the inclination to head out to the beach, and spend less time indoors.
I recently shared lunch with my good friend Marsh in Flagstaff Gardens, a lovely inner city park. We talked through how we find it hard to spend as much time as we might like working on our music. As a part of that conversation, we talked through how finding the time to do things is really about priorities.
In both our professional lives and our personal lives, there is never enough time to tick off everything on the extended to-do list – and so prioritisation becomes about trying to leave the right things undone. We may not have time to do everything we want, but as long as we can say we did what we felt was best at the time, then we should be at peace with the things we never got around to.
There is something about catching up with old friends that puts the passage of time into perspective. Our circumstances, locations, and priorities evolve as our lives move from one stage to the next, but I would like to think that our essential character remains the same. For this reason, there is a special magic in catching up with the wow-we-have-been-friends-for-a-while crew that is both irreplaceable and priceless.
Having moved halfway around the world, I do not get the chance to see my good friends in the northern hemisphere very often. As such when we are able to get together, we try to make the most of it.
This mix was recorded in Toronto on the last day of the August long weekend. I recently learned this holiday is called Simcoe Day. Four DJs, a high end sound system, friends from three continents and sweeping views of the Toronto skyline on a warm summer night made for a very special evening indeed.
It’s the fading hours of the Labour Day long weekend in Canada as I write this, and while it wasn’t a three day weekend here in Melbourne, I still had plenty of reason to recall the Canadian holiday. As the last long weekend of the northern summer, Labour Day has a lot of special memories – for me and doubtlessly for many of you. Ten years ago I was a new uni graduate working behind the counter in a record store, putting every spare dollar I had towards vinyl. One of my jobs was to take the new shipments each week and record samples of their best bits for uploading on to the store website, and one of the side effects of this job was being tapped into the mainline of quality tunes as they came out each week. Alongside colleagues Marsh, Meg and Jules we spent hours listening, recording, and swapping back and forth.
Somewhere along the way I decided to start playing in nightclubs, and having played a few warehouse parties and weekday evening sets I was ready to throw my hat in the ring for a proper residency. As luck would have it, a local trance promoter was holding a mix contest to select their next resident. The mix I put together won me that residency, and was the stepping stone to my being invited to run my own weekly events there six months later. The club was called Altitude (now Eden Bar) at the corner of Russell and Bourke streets here in Melbourne.
Ever since then, the recording of that mix has been sitting on my hard drive as “Mix 020 – Labour Day In Canada (Deliverance Demo)”. This past weekend I went for a run and, recalling it being the holiday up north, I dragged the mix back on to my phone. It was a fantastic listen. As a slice of mid-noughties 130BPM+ progressive, techno and trance I think it still holds its own, and with a decent set of headphones it’s an excellent reminder of what well-pressed vinyl records can sound like. It was mixed live (and in fact was only supposed to be the test run for the proper mix to be recorded the following night).
As a mix it’s pretty banging and well removed from what I’m playing these days. As such it’s not a part of my podcast, but for nostalgia’s sake I’ve uploaded it to our server. Those keen to for a trip down memory lane can give it a go here: (right click to download).
For three and a half years I lived in Calgary, Canada. Tucked into the foothills of the sunny side of the Rocky Mountains, its a city full of lovely people, and a city with a buzzing dance music scene. Returning for a visit a few weeks ago I was honoured to be given the opportunity to play a two hour set on a Saturday night at my favourite place in town. With an incredible sound system, positive bar staff and a clued up clientele, Habitat Living Sound has for years been a centrepoint of the Western Canadian progressive house scene. It was a real buzz to play a proper set there again, and even better to see so many familiar faces. The evening was rounded out by Pallares and Isis Graham, and despite the jetlag it was a sensational evening.
This mix is the live recording of that set, recorded from the booth on Saturday, August 8. Regular listeners will likely recognise a few of these tunes, with this set pulled together to showcase for my Calgary friends the sort of music that has been stuck in my head since my last trip through town. Thanks again to Cary, Isis, and Cowtown. To many happy returns!
Just seven days until I fly back to Canada for two weeks. A week in Toronto with friends and family, a weekend gig in Calgary, and then the better part of the week in the mountains. Looking forward to the break and the upcoming adventure!
A guy named Max once told me that every record I fall in love with changes my sound as a DJ. As my music collection continues to grow and expand, I continue to fall in love with records, which is why I have invested in a new Stanton ST150 turntable. Along with the latest edition of my favourite elliptical stylus and some impressive record cleaner, my return to the ST150 has a bit of a nostalgic vibe to it. It is a great turntable to mix on physically, and in a dark room it is very easy on the eyes.
This mix is equal parts modern and nostalgic. With bits of vinyl both new and old, it has plenty of introspective melodic grooves for your next intercontinental trip.