Time Out Melbourne

The TV ROCK muso may have made forays into hospitality with PonyFish Island and My Mexican Cousin, but he's taking his love of dance music on the road

How did your love of dance music begin?
I think it's in your blood. When I was still at school I always wanted to go clubbing, I just loved the atmosphere and the experience. While my friends were hitting pubs, I was in the clubs and was drawn to the DJ. As I studied music I was fascinated with the way these guys controlled the room.

And how did you get your own start?
I was collecting music for a while and had many friends who were DJs. One day at a club I was running (Redhead in Melbourne) one of the DJs didn't turn up so I jumped on the turntables and absolutely loved it. In 2000 I played at a gig called Respect Is Burning at the Royal Exhibition Buildings with Dimitri From Paris, Roger Sanchez and Derrick Carter, with 5000 people in the house. It really was a defining moment.

Who have been your mentors along the way?
I have had a lot of people that have helped out along the way. One of the Swedish House Mafia dons Axwell has been a long time friend and confidant. Taking your product global and adopting that approach to everything is essential. On a local level, I really enjoyed growing my craft and brand with John Course, there's a reason why these guys are still at the top of their game.

What was your mission statement when setting up your label Neon?
Neon came about out of necessity. The first record I wrote was called 'Flaunt It' and I flew to Sydney to take meetings with a bunch of labels including Sony, EMI, BMG, Ministry of Sound and many others. After a rather lukewarm reception to the track I left Sydney feeling deflated but decided that I would put the record out myself on my own imprint. Hence Neon was born. We ended up selling over 300,000 copies of that track and won two ARIAs, so it was a very satisfying result and it set up the label. I'm very proud of all my artists. Special mention must go out to Zoë Badwi for all her hard work and then Dirty South, Skrillex, Ivan Gough & Feenix Pawl, Walden and Knife Party recently are all on fire.

What’s going on with TV ROCK at the moment?
We have three releases ready for this year already – ‘Save Me Now’ will be a free download out very soon and then ‘Bloom’ will be out in August featuring a Zoë Badwi vocal. After that we have another record called ‘Love Lost Surrender’ that will be out for Christmas. On a personal note I have a Grant Smillie record coming called ‘A Million Lights' and another due for October so it's a prolific time. Music’s been a part of my life since I was a school kid, playing sax for nine years and then moving into the electronic field.

The Long Weekend tour is syndicated to your radio show and club night (at Seven in South Melbourne) of the same name. Tell us more about it.
It’s very much connected to my show, The Weekend, on Nova, and it’s also moving into television as I will be hosting The Weekend on Channel [V], kicking off in August. On the tour we will be showcasing a range of local and international talent and also filming segments for the TV show as well at the same time and recording the sets for Nova. It's an all-encompassing vehicle.

Thirty dates is huge. Are you taking it out to the regional areas?
Absolutely. Byron, Ballarat, Townsville, Geelong, Newcastle, Albury, Cairns… you name it, we'll be there. I find that the enthusiasm is so good when you take it to the people rather than asking them to travel.

What are your favourite new acts and/or tracks right now?
It's ever changing. But watch out for Walden and Rudimental. Walden's 18 and from Sydney… the kid's gonna be masssssive. And then Rudimental on Neon out of the UK, taking drum and bass to the masses. Love.

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Updated on 24 Feb 2014.

By Jenny Valentish   |   Photos by Graham Denholm
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