Everything's coming up Wonderland
If you’ve attended any big-ticket festivals over the past few years, there’s a good chance you heard one of Alison Wonderland’s sets. The elusive Sydney-based DJ and producer – she prefers her real name and age remain a mystery – has played at Pacha, London’s Ministry of Sound and even the after party at the Grammys, and she’s garnered high praise from the likes of Diplo and BBC Radio 1’s Annie Mac. Yet the classically trained cellist and former bass guitarist maintains she never intended to DJ. “I was just doing it because I loved it,” she tells Time Out. “[DJing] was like playing an instrument.”
This year, Ms Wonderland is all about making a name for herself – she's released new EP Calm Down, and she's sold-out a string of underground warehouse parties across Australia. “It’s funny," she says. "Five minutes before we announced the tour, I said to my booking agent, ‘Let’s treat ourselves to a nice dinner if we sell 200 tickets per city within the week!’”
Wonderland’s ‘work-hard, play-hard’ approach means you can always expect big sounds, bright lights and crowd-pleasing vodka sculls at her gigs. “I do drink,” she says, “But I’m not going to write myself off. No one wants to see you all messy." Which, she admits, "I have been guilty of in the past.” Still, Alison defends her onstage imbibing: “I don’t like drinking out of a glass – I don’t want it to pour over and spill on my equipment. And I just like drinking neat vodka. Maybe it’s my Croatian side coming out.” Despite her bold onstage antics, Wonderland states she’s quite the introvert. “I can’t talk to anyone in the hour before I play.”
For the remainder of the year, Wonderland will be on the road for her cheekily titled 'Rural Juror tour', a 16-date cross-country adventure that will stretch from Dubbo to Thredbo. And as we’ve come to expect from Wonderland’s boundless energy for work and play, she’ll be squeezing in studio time, trips to LA and limited headline shows in a few Australian capital cities. She's a busy woman. So how does she keep going? She smiles and shares her secret. “Mum’s chicken soup!"