A voice booms from the speakers: “Hot Dub engaged. Time travel initiated. Five, four, three, two” – and the first notes of ‘Rock Around the Clock’ begin. Suddenly, we’re not in 2014 anymore.
Sydney mashup maverick DJ Tom Loud has a time machine, and he’s got the dial set to 1954. There’s only one way back to the future, and it involves a whole lot of dancing, laughing and lip-synching through the biggest hits of each decade. After its maiden voyage in 2011, some passengers breathlessly described this retro explosion of confetti cannons, disco staples and old-school video clips as the best night of their lives.
Tom, your DJ career began in the comedy scene. How did Hot Dub develop from there?
I started DJing in 2001 because I was a raver, but I discovered that comedy festival after parties are where the real fun is. Everyone always dances…and that’s the kind of vibe that I really enjoy. That’s where Hot Dub came from!
But why a time travelling dance party?
I’m somebody who really gets bored of hearing one genre of music. When I go out I don’t want to hear house music for six hours. And I think there’s great music in every genre and every era…people worry too much about credibility. If ‘Call Me Maybe’ is your thing, then just roll with it!”
What was it like when you took Hot Dub away from the comedy festivals and into the club scene?
That’s been a really learning curve for me. I did a college tour around the UK where everyone there is 17, drunk and doesn’t give a shit about you. You have to work out a way to stay true to the reason why you were booked…but also make them rock out and have a good time.
So do you change things up in each set, or do you stick to a formula that works?
Every gig is different in terms of which songs I choose and how fast I go…but there’s always that journey through time. You start with the old music that people might know but might not rock out to often. Then you get to the '70s disco that really gets people going, then to the '80s where you hit them with cheesy numbers that they really know and love. In the '90s you get moshing. You don’t normally see a dance floor where everyone is dancing – there are always some people who are too cool. But not at the Hot Dub.
Got any signature dance moves?
Well, I’ve been told that I dance like a background girl in a Nelly music video – there’s more booty shaking in me than in most straight men.
UPDATE: The Friday show is now sold out, but tickets are still available for Thursday.