If you lived in Australia and were in the process of being influenced by electronic music from the late nineties onwards, I can guarantee that you would of been across TripleJ’s MixUp program, and later, The Club. It was the flagship weekly broadcast that facilitated the exposure of underground dance music nationally, and inspired so many young Australian artists to pursue sonic aspirations. Nicole Foote was imperative to its success. It takes a certain degree of personal attachment and commitment to contributing positively towards the scene, to coordinate a profound difference, and as the hours wound into Sunday morning, the ideas you constructed solidified the foundations for your motivation. As that part of our lives was directing the chaos of a fresh movement, Nicole was directing hers – “Working at TripleJ was a fantastic part of my life and representing my passion for dance music was a great honour. Sometimes it was hard work, sometimes really blissful. I tried really hard to make sure all genres were represented on a national platform, but I also injected my own predilection for tech and deep house into the mix. Coming from the underground rave and club scene of Melbourne this was obviously going to feed into the work I did for TripleJ.”
EC: You left the program in 2010 and all the concepts you dreamed of slotted firmly into place during your time with TripleJ. How was your underlying soul always connected with electronica?
NF: I’ve always loved dance music, from listening to jive and swing with my grandparents to the pyschedelia and bop of the sixties and seventies of my parents to the beginnings of electronic music in the eighties and nineties. I used to live in singapore as a teenager and would always go to Zouk nightclub which played house – all the early tach/club tracks classics of today. I was able to dance the night away and lose myself in the music. This took me to Full moon parties in Thailand and when coming back for uni, into the underground rave scene of Melbourne. Techno ruled Melbourne and I danced my heart out under bridges, in warehouses, out bush, sports clubs and what ever other kind of venue was able to be used for a party in the nineties. Being able to express rhythm, emotion, intensity, landscapes – EDM takes you to another place and I could always interpret that on the dance floor. The social aspect of these parties was also very important to me and the creativity with art, video, lighting at some of the events was inspiring also. But for me, it was always the music and the dance that drew me.
EC: …can you contrast it with how you feel now after all these years and how you look at life?
NF: These days I still love to dance, but the boundless energy of youth to devote to a nights dancing every weekend is no more. Most of my energy goes into my young family, with the occasional excursion out to a party, festival or bush doof. I did go to Burning Man in 2011 which was amazing.
EC: Media irrespective of its medium and what it’s promoting, or perhaps defaming, shapes and defines any given scene. How did things operate at MixUp in this context?
NF: Mix Up had to get an original, exclusive mix from DJ’s and I usually had to get 3 a week to fit the 3 hour show. So to fit that format, you found that you could get mixes from the bigger names only when they wanted to promote something like an album or tour. Most Australian DJ’s were happy to do a mix and it was great to get as much local talent into the show as possible. Sometimes you would get true artists in and they would create something really special, making live techno mixes or djing away in the bowels of ABC. In terms of finding people, I would approach people if I was really liking what they were producing or sometimes people would approach me. Occasionally I would have to turn down DJ mixes that sounded too commercial or I was sometimes handed a promo mix that had made the rounds so couldn’t play as it wasn’t exclusive. But all in all the show had it’s own rhythm and I would generally find the right kind of mixes to present in a show, grouping together by genre’s or by special events that triple j may have been involved in like Vibes on a Summers day or Parklife. It was also the only national platform for dance music in Australia, so it had enough chops to pull in some big names.
EC: Saturday’s were a big night for all of us. Can you give us a brief on the run sheet for preparations during the week? How did that fit into your daily life?
NF: My daily week was; emails, emails, emails and phone calls, listening, so much listening to music. Organising DJ sets for next week up to next month, laying out the terms of the DJ sets for Mix Up, making sure the DJ’s booked in for this week had handed in their sets in the right formats, booking in studio space for any live DJ set recordings, getting interviews with the DJ’s (Usually in different time zones), editing those interviews in protools, updating the Mix UP and Club website, listening to new music for The Club, going to DJ music sites and news sites to find out what’s happening in the scene and finally getting the shows ready for air. The Club was pre-recorded on a Friday but Mix Up would come out live every Saturday night.
EC: Australia’s underground dance scene is stronger than ever and with the obvious decline of festival culture it’ll only grow in the years ahead. How do you see things developing?
NF: I think dance culture is always pretty strong. Today’s generation of young people were born in the nineties so electronic dance sounds are in their blood. I listen to TripleJ and hear so many old nineties rave sounds in the music being made for today. Young people always want to dance, so dance culture will always be around in some way, somehow. It’s up to the musical experimenters, experimenting with new technology, new sounds, new techniques that will create somethings to define the sound for a new generation. Just think Kraftwerk, Afrika Bambaataa, Frankie Knuckles, Derrick May….. Disco, electronica, funk, Chicago house, Detroit techno, synthesisers, drum machines, the rise and fall of vinyl, the rise and fall of vinyl again as DJ medium, Traktor, Ableton…Things morph and fluctuate, hybridise and break off in to sub groups. Who knows when the next big dance music movement as prominent as disco or the club/rave culture of the nineties will come? I’m looking forward to it when it does rear its unmistakable head.
EC: If we round it up with some music that defined you the most, I’m sure most of us could relate to it.
NF: It changed all the time. but it was the music that could emotionally connect with me and/or make me want to dance! Usually deep tech and house, but I also love my beats and funk. Here are some absolute favourites and some artists from 2 decades – There is so much more I love as well!
My best ever all time favourites from 70’s –
Donna Summer – I feel Love
Babe Ruth – The Mexican
Underworld – Cowgirl
Future sound of London – Papua New Guinea
Orbital – Halcyon on and on
The Orb – Little Fluffy Clouds
Pizzaman – Tripping on Sunshine
Jaydee – Plastic Dreams
Leftfield Lydon- Open Up
Moby – Go
Bjork – Hyperballad
Deep Dish ft Everything But the GIrl- The Future of the Future (Stay Gold)
Laurent Garnier – Man with the Red Face
Gabriel Ananda – Trommelstunde
Kings of Tomorrow- Finally
Trentemoller – Physical Fraction
Bent-“Always” – Ashley Beedle mix
Fred Falke & Alan Braxe – Intro
Lindstrom – I feel Space
Perfect Stranger- Free cloud
Bluetech- Phoenix Rising
Steve Bug – anything by him really…
Many thanks Nicole.
Elliot Clarke – Friday July 19, 2013