This weeks special broadcast live, from Tresor Berlin, comes from someone whose musical ipseity was influenced by the varied and vast likes of Brian Eno, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Chucky Berry, Carl Craig, Derrick May and Fleetwood Mac. From dark rhythms to the soul fuelled sounds that have driven his success over recent years, and we undoubtedly suspect it’s just the start after a heavy European tour. You’re live with Christian Vance. Respect.
Kn: Christian you’ve just come back from a good stint over in Europe playing at some of the most respected clubs on the planet. Some solid achievements in such a short time. Highlights? Anything you’ve learnt that you’ll incorporate here?
CV: Wow… where to begin? All the gigs were super. Thanks in particular to my lovely hosts in Rotterdam, Cologne and of course Berlin. It was such a great time. I met some great new people which is always a beautiful experience. I’ve learned that music and modern travel make the world a small place and that when you truly feel what you do, it’s a really special thing. We’re all global citizens and Australian artists should be getting more recognition from a wider audience in our own great southern land. Something I’ve always observed in Berlin is how we should incorporate all night take-away stores on every street corner that sell doner kebabs and cheap drinks. They can really help an artist. Playing gigs can make you hungry.
Kn: How does the scene over there juxtapose with not just Melbourne’s status quo, but also Australia’s in the context of direction?
CV: On the topic of globalism, we are now really experiencing the era of techno tourism and easyjet raving. I had Aussies come and high five me at the gig in Berlin for example. Event listings on the internet are a wonderful thing but they made me realise… where are these people back home? It wouldn’t surprise me that many Aussies partying in Berlin or Ibiza ever go to the local event, club night or follow any artists or djs back home. This is not just common to our country though. It’s quite normal for artists to play all over the planet and rarely get a gig back home. The grass is always greener to the consumer if we live in the age of branding and hype. Some things you cannot change. Festival flyers have logos of all the artists emblazoned over the whole thing- perpetual fighting for space really. Sign of the times.
I understand all this explicitly but we have a choice back home and our scene is still removed geographically which really does give us the opportunity to observe and improve. Why do we pander to foreign artists and trends so slavishly and so belatedly? The promising young guys right now learning how to make records from youtube tutorials and how to dig for music on fashionable blogs will all ultimately head overseas if we don’t fix the basic problems here. I really feel that there needs to be a concerted effort by everyone involved in dance and electronic music to provide the space for emerging artists in this industry to earn some coin and make their mark a little easier. Culturally we are just not as open to new music, ideas and ways to enjoy them as Western Europe and it is that ethos we should be slavishly following. Not just their branded, logo waving artists. Just a thought for the festival promoters.
Kn: Leading on from that, the Australian scene has moved towards an attitude of “if there’s not an international playing, I’m staying in” from the majority of clubbing punters. Australia’s DJ’s and producers are some of the best in the world which begs the question – why does this sentiment exist and how can it be rectified?
CV: Ha… looks like we’re on the same page here. It’s almost as if this question pre-empted the last answer! I really believe there are several things at play here. The general attitude towards electronic music by the Australian public, the tyranny of distance, the exotic scene that has emerged in Australia for electronic music and the ability of finding it’s place in the greater context of the world…. Without getting wrapped up in the super-global-branded dance music machine. It’s a tough one. We could rap about this for hours. I think the key may lie in the hands of local artists and labels transcending that sentiment.
Kn: There’s a lot of clubs that are making a public point that fashion and music go hand in hand, and I’m not talking about dress codes at the door. I guess even the rave scene of old has always had a “common attire” associated with it, but wasn’t enforced ostentatious manner. Is it just a derivative of societies expectations?
CV: These things come and go. I just recently read an article about the scene’s history in Glasgow. Apparently the original Sub Club was apparently the hip joint for the wealthy youngsters in the 80s. The scene in Detroit around the birth of techno was also very preppy and was a really stylized place for the middle class to dance and emulate European fashionistas. How times have changed! Now you get freaky messages on social media from spectacled dudes in anoraks when you talk about Detroit Techno. When I was younger you should have seen some of the get-ups I used to throw on to get into the cooler venues in Melbourne… heady days. That said, when there’s a queue of people in shiny bullshit trying to get into a place blaring horrid music you have to have a giggle. If your favourite act is playing and you can’t get in because you’re not wearing a collared short… well that’s plain stupid. Just like journalists need genres, clubs need trends. Sometimes we just have to grin and bear it. Time heals all wounds they say;)
Kn: We’ll move on to something that’s definitely contributed to a positive perception of Australian electronica. HAUL Music is something that’s gone from strength to strength of late and has gained the attention of the world scene. It’s a big step that’s required a lot of hard work on behalf of yourself, Mike Callander and Craig McWhinney – what have you learnt so far and where to from here?
CV: Thanks for the kind words. What have we learned? Everything and nothing. Music in the modern era is a daily evolution and that’s part of the fun. It’s a constant process and one that we’re really enjoying. The release of the first of our special vinyl trilogy is about to drop. An EP by Mike with remixes from Melbourne lad Lewie Day and Alexkid. It’s super tasty… its already been snapped up for a super compilation. Serious! We love vinyl. Number two will be from Craig with remixes from Brendon Moeller as the Echologist and also CV313 from the D. Mine is the third and will have the one stellar remix from legendary Kirk DeGiorgio. We’re pretty pumped for the whole thing. I was already playing mine as part of the live shows in Europe. Haul Vinyl. Intercontinental groove travel.
Kn: Running the HAUL label between all three of you would be a melting pot of ideas and contrasts as you’ve all got your own way of doing things. How do you all work together to stay on the same page and make decisions regarding the label?
CV: We get together every few months and have a beer a long way from a nightclub. We also use emoticons in emails to lighten up the vibe and help us through the week. Everything else is really technical and not great reading. We also like to play together every now and again. Somehow we meet up in the middle and fly the flag. We’re also pretty friendly.
Kn: Where to from here Christian? Anything else you’d like to add?
CV: “To infinity and beyond!”