Rotations Round 03: Black Mannequin

Words: Hannah Doody

It’s a balmy November evening in Brisbane, when Iti Memon parks on the street outside my house in the city’s east. 

It’s 6.30pm, and with camping gear in tow, we’re about to make our way to Yonder Music and Arts Festival, in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

Iti (otherwise known as Black Mannequin) is about to play a back-to-back DJ set at the festival with good friend Zach Degnan. The pair had planned to play mostly vinyl, and we laugh, realising there would be no turntables at the last minute. This doesn’t phase Iti in the slightest – the two know each other like the back of their hand. Not only have they lived together for years, they have been playing music together for even longer – as part of progressive alt-rock outfit Twin Haus, and more recently starting their independent record label, Pocketmoth.

Before we set off on our drive, Iti digs around in the car’s passenger seat and hands me a Korg Electribe sampler.

“Just so you can have a play with it – no stress, just take your time,” he says.

This isn’t the first time Iti has willingly offered his hardware or instruments – it’s something that he gains great enjoyment from. Iti loves nothing more than discussing music, and it makes sense that he is completely immersed in it – playing in bands, DJing and producing. He is incredibly generous, especially when it comes to music – and this stems purely from his love of sharing it with others. 

After exchanging stories about recent clubbing times, Dublin’s electronic music scene, and reminiscing about how we met exactly a year ago, we discuss Iti’s life-long journey with music, and particularly when he started creating compositions of his own at about age 12.

“I dabbled with a demo of Fruity Loops after discovering Skream on the internet. I tried to emulate those huge, wubbing basslines… unsuccessfully,” he laughs.

After receiving a bass guitar for his 14th birthday, Iti left computer production behind for a while. 

“I formed a band with some friends, and while still at high school, we released an original track. That was the first piece of legitimate content I had to my name.”

Iti’s upbringing played a big part in what is his current mindset towards music generally, and also his personal music creation. 

“My parents’ cultures differ significantly, yet both share the same ethos towards music; community, participation, enjoyment. Dance music also embodies these cultural values, so gravitating towards this scene has seemed natural.”

“Growing up in a mixed race family, however, presented identity issues for me as a young adolescent, particularly after moving from the UK to a much less multicultural Brisbane. Neither of my parents are actually from the UK, and I was born in the US, so I found it difficult to adopt any sort of cultural identity,” Iti says.

A few months ago, Iti released his debut EP, Zero/Sum on his Pocketmoth label as Black Mannequin. He explains that this alias serves as a creative apparatus for him to explore these ideas of personal identity and nostalgia. 

“A series of musical conversations that I struggle to have verbally, as many people can’t relate.” 

Upon listening to Zero/Sum, you can hear elements of Iti’s greatest sources of inspiration. Textural percussion and immersive soundscapes of the likes of Burial and MJ Cole are palpable while articulating something that is distinctly “him”.  

This “something” is perhaps Iti’s headspace at a particular point in time. The EP explores feelings of nostalgia, and in particular, it reflects on his first visit back to the UK and Ireland after a number of years away.

“My inspiration came so organically from my surroundings; music, urban architecture, community, fashion, hustle. I went to my first proper rave at XOYO in London, and from there knew that I needed to make electronic music.” 

Upon returning to Australia, Iti found finishing the EP to be a lot harder. 

“As time went on, tapping into that nostalgia was more difficult. I lost inspiration, and shifted more focus into DJing. I barely opened the sessions for a year, although I did continue to develop my sensibility as a musician, DJ and producer. I reopened the project when I was better placed to contribute meaningfully, and from there, finished the EP relatively quickly.”

For his Rotations Round mix, Iti has delivered a sonic mood board for his pre and post-EP sentiment. It’s a diverse selection of tracks, and is characterised by Iti’s always flawless mixing, and seamless tempo changes.

I’ve woven together a lot of styles that inspire me; old, new and unreleased. There’s yet-to-be-heard Pocketmoth material, raw cuts from tracks I’ve been working on, and some field recordings layered with ambient textures I plucked from unfinished sessions on my hard drive.”

We couldn’t be more grateful for this mix.

Stream or purchase the Zero/Sum EP by Black Mannequin here, and listen to the mix below.

You can also grab tickets to Pocketmoth’s upcoming Giegling showcase at the Outpost with DJ Dustin and Leafar Legov here.

Rotations Round Mix 02: Huge Jackman

Words: Sam Turner

Playing “music that everyone dances to and DJs ask about”, Jack Brodie’s reputation precedes him as a selector with a taste in music that is refined beyond his years. Operating under the monikers of Huge Jackman and DJ Bossman, Jack has been a boisterous figure within the city for several years now. Speaking to him after an unrestrained night at Sub Rosa’s event for Sardinian techno producer Ness, Jack’s suprisingly lively for a Saturday morning.

Meeting around the corner from his house at a cafe in Paddington, Jack is visibly dusty. As we ease into conversation after some standard introductions, he begins to reanimate. We quickly dart from conversations about Norway’s history of house music, to the studio space Tornado Wallace, Luca Lozano, DJ Soto Fett and Telephones share in Berlin. Information that may seem exclusive to some is just second nature to Jack, confessing that “if you’re interested, it’s not hard to piece together.”

Often taking an improvised approach to DJing, Jack utilises his off-the-handle mixing style to his advantage. Bouncing from New Beat and off-kilter house through to afro beat and trance, Jack is no doubt a high-calibre selector. His respect for the classics is undisputed, confessing his love for the song Get Down Saturday Night by Oliver Cheatham.

“I’ve literally worn the record through because I used to play it in every set – one of my all time favourites.”

In regards to mixes, he believes they should be representative of how someone plays, with people often making them “too polished” to be realistic.

“The flaws are some of the nicest bits, and can make moments super organic,” Jack said.

“It never really matters the genre as much or the key, it’s the mixing which is the most important part.”

Beginning at TBC, Jack quickly made a name for himself as a sonic instigator behind the decks, as well as a keen promoter. Having greater ambitions for Brisbane, Jack began to focus his attention on a new project in the form of Death Before Silence (DBS), endeavouring to book exclusive events that expressed a deeper, transcendent sound. This eventuated in 2017, hosting Bell Towers with well-known party boys Bad Taste House Collective (BTHC). Since then Jack has been gifting Brisbane with frequent international and Australian headliners. Andy Garvey, Pender Street Steppers, Frances Inferno Orchestra and Lipelis have all been a part of the DBS movement across Brisbane.

This natural discussion of touring artists begins a conversation of other like minded events, hosting an array of national and international heavyweights. Citing this development of the scene over the last 12 months, he believes the abundance of parties being a positive sign.

“It’s indicative of the progression that’s occurring right now, there’s no way I would’ve thought the local scene would’ve gone the way it has,” Jack said.

“The past 12 months have been crazy.”

Wanting to push the boundaries of this circuit himself, Jack in partnership with Centre Source Records (CSR) have thrown many powerhouse BYO Warehouse events earlier this year, including one featuring Norwegian pioneer Bjorne Torske, Jennifer Loveless & Legowelt throwing down unsurpassable sets.

Ultra-lateral thinking resulted in Jack recently teaming up with Shade’s Kristian Streiner to launch Forever Forward Music and Arts Festival. The launch featured Australian and international headliners in the forms of Tornado Wallace, Jex Opolis, Alison Swing and River Yarra. Running across 12 hours, the BYO warehouse party was set across two stages, engendering a multi-sensory experience. A new frontier for the Queensland scene, it saw punters raving in the outdoor carpark past sunrise.

This was just a taster for the Forever Forward Festival, which is to land in March 2020. Jack doesn’t give us too many details other than the fact it will be a BYO camping festival in a picturesque location.

“We’re hoping it’s something a little bit different to what’s been seen before.”

Often supporting festivities under his Huge Jackman persona, he’s played alongside the likes of Chaos in the CBD, Millos Kaiser & Lauren Hansom, along with frequent slots at Fulcrum in the Fever Club, and Club Soda at Laruche. This innate ability to network and collaborate has created a stacked calendar for him leading towards the end of the year. His highspeed escapades have him joining the likes of CYBER, SouthBound, GRID and A Love Supreme, with turbulent and volatile incidents assured.

For his Rotations Round mix, Jack had come from a vinyl dig with Norwegian enigma Telephones during his recent tour of Australia.

“I wanted the mix to be indicative of what I’ve been playing,” Jack said.

Armed with his fresh purchases, Jack’s mix crosses international borders, transporting listeners into a nostalgic vortex. Over an hour of feverish time bombs and high energy dancefloor tracks are whisked together in true Brodie fashion.  

“It’s off the handle, no retake, just going in.”

Rotations Round Mix 01: Respect Guy

Words: Sam Turner

Preferring to be on the service side of things, Matt Treffene is all about hospitality — whether it be from behind the bar or the decks. He has no qualms with working while people are having a good time, and relishes the ability to create desirable situations.

“I love providing the technology for people to enjoy themselves, ” Matt says.

“I work in a bar and I love that, and I feel that it transfers over DJing.”

“They’re no two different worlds to what I am normally.”

Matt’s newly created moniker ‘Respect Guy’, vows to ‘serve Brisbane and beyond with respect’. His delectable wax collection spreads from house, techno, breakbeat, and trance, through to the high energy disco — fit for the most varied of palettes.

Part of the inner city entourage Bad Taste House Collective (BTHC), hosting parties across the south east, Matt moonlights as the other half of DJ duo Herbal Infusers with Cam Lee.

Speaking to him at his old stomping ground at Remy’s in Paddington, we originally had to reschedule our meet due to him and his girlfriend “roasting a goat leg” as a trial run.

This background in hospitality has given Matt a different perspective on social activities and his life, having greater ambitions in the culinary sector. While discussing the subtilities of Mexican cuisine in New York and wineries in Slovenia, we move onto discussing his first meeting with two of his event crew members at Remy’s several years ago.

“Simon Bird had posted on Facebook about how Matt (Haynes) and Marcus (See) finally had somewhere to play their music.

“I eventually rocked up, and it was ridiculous because it was the music I played as well.

“I went up to them and I was like ‘wow you play this too,’ and just told them about how there was this whole other world they were missing out on.”

Matt’s introduction to this ethereal universe started back in 2012, going against the grain of some his mates in his preference of electronic music rather than tertiary education.

“In 2012 I consciously made the decision to just become a hermit for three months and delve into electronic music.

“I came to realise this is something that really interests me, but just didn’t have the confidence at the time.”

Provocation then occurred in the form of german powerhouse Âme at the now closed Sky Room bar in Fortitude Valley.

“That place was notorious for tech house back then, but that was the first house music gig I ever went to.”

“I literally had my phone out the whole time just Shazaming everything, and it just opened my mind.”

Matt doesn’t have any agenda when it comes to being asked about songs; gladly sharing his tracklists and ID requests whenever asked.

“The best thing about music is that it’s to be shared, if anyone asks me, I end up giving them that plus three extra tracks that sound similar.”

Following his introduction to the underground scene, Matt began to lay the foundations and familiarise himself with the local circuit. Attending gigs at long defunct Barsoma and Capulet, he came into contact with Rikki Newton (Inner_Circle/Subtrakt) and Adam Swain (Subtrakt), along with many other notorious faces in the circuit.

Since then, his crew has been responsible for bringing some international flavours to the river city, such as Pender Street Steppers, Beautiful Swimmers, Sex Tags Mania (DJ Fett Burger & DJ Sotofett) and Hashman Deejay to name a few.

BTHC have just hosted an aquatic music excursion with Canadian Regularfantasy — a floating party along the Brisbane River with supports from our own Hannah D. Next up, they’ll be closing out the year with a New Year’s Eve warehouse jam featuring Danish boys DJ Sports and DJ Central.

Matt’s solo endeavours have made him a signature favourite on the menu of just about every local crew in Brisbane — from Inner Circle, to A Love Supreme, Shade, Southbound, Death Before Silence or Pocketmoth‘s Cerulean Showroom.

Having these frequent slots across numerous events, it has given Matt a front row to the mutation of Brisbane’s music taste.

“Everyone wants the hard stuff now, where a while ago they were just like ‘give us some disco bangers’, it was as if there was a collective epiphany.”

“And that’s fine with me, because I’ve been getting some more closing sets, which allows me to play some high energy tracks and trance.”

It’s no secret Matt is a die hard advocate for trance, assuring us that there “is a lot of goodness” that goes along with it.

Listening to forgotten Trance Nation CDs, psychedelic Goa trance, and the raft of music that embodied the genre from the 90s, he even delves into the world of Bollywood from time to time.

In relation to mixes, Matt deliberately takes a more relaxed approach, rarely reproducing his high octane antics similar to that of his closing sets.

“I like to go more downtempo, with some sparse soundscapes, that kind of stuff.

“Just a real chill kind of vibe for it.”

For our first installment of Rotations Round, Matt has invited us to a rave happening at your local health spa. This secluded retreat treats listeners to a cleansing distraction, reinvigorating the senses. Be prepared to be oiled up, massaged and acupunctured to this one hour detox mix.

In Review: Inner_Circle pres. Escape Artist (Salt Mines/Couch Acid Recordings)

Words – Sam Turner

Hot off their last foray into daytime raving with Hungarian producer Gnork, Inner_Circle returned once again to the lush oasis at Coffee Iconic on August 17. This discreet location situated within the confines of Brisbane’s CBD gifted an exclusive evening with Melbourne producer/DJ Escape Artist (Salt Mines/Couch Acid Recordings). The locals in the shape of Matt Treffene (BTHC) and Chris George kicked off the evening, with Pokies (Fulcrum) closing out the celebration of sound.

The makeshift cafe-turned-open-air-club has now become a crowd favourite, with this next instalment allowing dancers to immerse themselves in this secluded space. Matt Treffene, a mainstay of the Brisbane scene for some time, had the opportunity to share some satisfying energy to open up the day. His salacious escapades as part of the Bad Taste House Collective (BTHC) have given Brisbane ample opportunities to unwind and get down. This set allowed Matt to explore the other side of his high octane mix of trance, house and everything in between, with an ambient exploration. He delved into a transformative state, creating unending waves of vibrations in the afternoon sun.

As the day transitioned into night, music exchanged hands to Chris George. A reoccurring selector within the Brisbane area, Chris has been distributing choice layers of sound to dancefloors across the South-East for years. With an ongoing residency at the laneway escape Super WhatNot and recent slots at Arcadia and Sub Rosa, his ability to create sultry atmospheres is clear. Travelling through the hazy depths of deep house and techno, his ethereal selections garnered vocal response from the crowd.

As the space reached capacity, Escape Artist began to create pandemonium through an abrupt choice of opening tracks. The crowd experienced a paradigm of chaotic immersion as they were bombarded with high energy soundscapes. Disobeying 4/4 designs, Escape Artist ran rampant fusing elements of jungle, acid house and techno. The audacity was contagious as grinding basslines and high hats ricocheted off of the walls. Rich shades of mauve and azure painted the surroundings, creating a luminous cage around the dancefloor. The sold-out event was treated to an array of original creations by the Melbourne producer, combined with a wide-ranging mix of left field heaters. Snippets of his forthcoming Supernature EP on Salt Mines were on display, seizing the dancefloor in a vice grip.

Following the rapturous aftermath left by Escape Artist, Pokies took the reigns to add his closing elements to the occasion. Having recently arrived back in Australia following his stint in Europe, Pokies has established himself as auditory enigma. His affiliations with NTS Radio in London and Cashmere Radio in Berlin alone are proof of his dexterity on the decks. He has been able to utilise his flair and finesse through his newly established Fulcrum events, residing in the Fever Club at Alfred and Constance. His selections that evening enveloped those who stayed for the closing proceedings as he delved deeper into his collection. Juxtaposing deep techno with breakbeat shakers, the high energy situation allowed Pokies to get creative with his track choices right up until close.

With another BYO open air rave concluded, dancers are already looking ahead to the next opportunity to occupy the space. With something so special and exclusive on offer, we can only wait to see what Inner_Circle has in store next.

In Review: CSR & DBS pres. Legowelt (L.I.E.S./ADE) & Jennifer Loveless (MEL)

A veritable feast of the senses was put together by the two Brisbane crews.

Words — Sam Turner

Centre Source Records (CSR) and Death Before Silence (DBS) offered Brisbane a sensuous feast in the form of their second BYO warehouse instalment in late June. An impressive lineup was curated by the two Brisbane crews, with Dutch synth-master Legowelt (Clones/L.I.E.S./Dekmantel) and Melbourne heavy-hitter Jennifer Loveless (Cool Room/Weatherall), and supports from locals Hannah D (The Space Between Us), Simon Bird (Wildlife Recordings) and NDR-924. Situated conspicuously within the suburbia of the south-east, the cavernous warehouse provided a fitting space for the evening’s aural and visual exploration.

From 9pm-12am, Hannah and NDR-924 warmed the warehouse as it began to fill. With a collection of hardware in tow, NDR-924’s debut live set was a slick display of experimental acid techno. Hannah followed with an eclectic mix of oldschool house, breaks and rave infused tracks. The pair got the crowd moving against the enigmatic backdrop of abstract projections displayed along the interior and boxes of stacked goods that lined the walls.

Fresh off her first boiler room appearance, Jennifer Loveless then took the stage for two hours of power. She wasted no time in displaying her visceral presence, littering the room with earth shattering tremors. Rolling drums and crash cymbals played out as she played to her crowd, inducing a roller coaster of raucous sensations. This venue demanded something different, as she filled the industrial space with her intrinsic selections. She demonstrated her prowess behind the decks, with her stints at Pitch, Strawberry Fields and Rose Quartz all being testaments to her refined ear for musicality.

Dancers were caught off guard as Jennifer concluded her volatile set, paving the way for Legowelt, armed with his plethora of hardware. With well over two decades of released material, he continued the high energy affair through his captivating use of synths and drum patterns. Taking inspiration from Detroit/Chicago house, deafening techno and old school acid, he wielded intense rhythms for his one-hour live set. Sound manipulation was at its peak as crowd chanting kicks echoed through the warehouse’s upper levels. Sounds fell relentlessly as rumbling chords protruded out of the sound system. Dancers were often lured into a false sense of security, with sudden gargantuan 4/4 kick drums piercing the dancefloor. The pinnacle of sound design was on display as tracks continued to unfold, expand, and develop to create an intense soundscape.

Following the tremors left by Legowelt with his infamous live set, the night was far from finishing as Byron Bay force Simon Bird took over. Playing until the early hours of the morning, he showcased his extensive selections appropriate for this immense closing set. His tracks varied throughout, teasing what can be expected at his upcoming set at Splendour’s Tipi Forest Stage later in July. With the dancefloor only slightly dissipating, Simon was joined by DBS head Jack Brodie, and the pair maintained the high energy until the sun came up. With Brisbane entering its winter period, CSR and DBS wrapped up one of their last events for the time being. As always, quality assurance was at the height of their priorities, with this double-header demonstrating just this. Knowing they love to keep punters on their toes, we can only wait for what is prepared for their next instalment later this year.

Interview: Amsterdam’s Stefan Vincent to release solo EP on Nightime Drama

Sydney and Adelaide-based imprint Nightime Drama are welcoming back Stefan Vincent for their next release. ‘The Auxilliary Phase’ is a four-track EP by the Amsterdam resident, which features a remix by Metropolis (aka Nick Lapien).

The Auxilliary Phase is Stefan’s first solo EP since 2017, and certainly hones in on the darker, more melancholy realms of techno.

A1 Exigent Mistress is an ethereal, and hypnotic slow burner. Echoed string work and reverbs pulsate against a warm and enveloping kickdrum. It’s a heady mix that sets the tone for the rest of the EP.

Fellow Amsterdam local and label mainstay Nick Lapien remixes Exigent Mistress under his Metropolis alias. The remix gives the track an electro inspired overhaul, with an acid line that writhes throughout.

On the flipside, Dissociation picks up the energy. With frustrated acid inflections and a driving pace pushing 130bpm, it seems to be a release of built up fury, while soaring pads give balance to this high power cut.

Closer Grey Haze starts out quite sparse, and builds with an off-kilter beat and bleepy accents. Eerie synths tie the track together to what is an off-the-wall, yet pretty close.

We caught up for a quick chat with Stefan ahead of the EP release, and his upcoming Australian tour in June.

After taking a bit of a break from music last year, ‘The Auxilliary Phase’ is your first solo EP in a little while. What was your thought process and motivation behind these tracks? 

When I’m producing there isn’t a certain thought process or motivation, it just has to happen naturally. For a long time I’ve tried to decide which types of music I was gonna make that day but it only held me back from being creative. When I’m producing I try no to think too much and try to just do as much as possible. Thinking (too much) can kill a creative flow by addressing problems in the music that aren’t really there to begin with. 

Can you explain the meaning behind the EP title?

The title ‘The Auxiliary Phase’ has to do with subconscious thinking and thought processes that we’re often not aware of, as simple as that really 🙂

The EP and track names allude to the ability for your music to provide you with emotional support, is this true?

I take a lot of my personal experiences with me in the music I make and it’s therapeutical in that sense. I wouldn’t say I get emotional support from listening to my own music but it certainly helps me putting emotions into words while creating it.

Can you explain your production process for the EP? 

I work at home, so all I do is just get behind the computer and get going. Unfortunately I’m not one of those people who can just pump out a track in a day. Sometimes when I’m really feeling it things can happen in a short amount of time, I think these tracks have been made in about two months. I work only with digital tools, the only hardware I use is the TR-8. Tried different types of drumcomputers and synthesizers but it doesn’t work for me.

How did this EP compare with previous work in terms of production techniques?

In terms of production techniques it’s completely similar to the production techniques I used in the previous EP. Of course sometimes I use some new tools but it doesn’t change anything about the way that it is created.

What can we expect from your upcoming Australian tour in June? 

I’ve made a bunch of different playlists with different moods and I will probably decide on the spot what I’m going to play, whether it be fast and minimalistic or a bit more melodic, or some drum ‘n bass & jungle, it all depends on how I feel like and what the vibe in the crowd is like. Ideally I like to go all the way from house to techno to jungle, going withing the spectrum of 100 to 200 bpm and back again in a coherent way, but it all depends on the moment really.

Can you name a record that you’ll be packing in your bag?

‘Voids Two’ by Martyn, a very groovy and melodic track with a kickdrum so subtle you can hardly hear it, proving you don’t need a pounding kickdrum to keep a steady groove going.

Catch Stefan Vincent at three Nightime Drama parties on the following dates:

June 1st – Nightime Drama @ Ancient World, Adelaide. Click here for more info.

June 7th – Nightime Drama @ Club 77, Sydney. Click here for more info.

June 9th – Nightime Drama & Silo @ Good Things, Melbourne. Click here for more info.

Nightime Drama celebrate their tenth release

Since its inception in 2012, Australian label Nightime Drama has been platforming high quality techno from artists locally and around the globe. Label co-owners Trinity and Trebek certainly do justice to their ethos as they celebrate their tenth release, the Night Drive compilation EP.

With several killer releases in their catalogue such as the Adrifting Voyage collaboration EP from Steve Tang and Trinity (featuring a standout remix from Basic Soul Unit), the Exoshift EP from techno veteran Metamethod and the much talked about Design Principles EP by Infinite Loops, the Night Drive EP is a testament to both the label’s past and what’s yet to come, with four track EP from returning artists and new signings.

His first time on the label, Dutchman Stefan Vincent offers his avantgarde techno leanings to the EP with Ego’s Demise. Soaring synths and effervescent pads sit alongside eachother to create a tranquil, yet driving excursion in deep techno that ascends subtlety throughout.

Italian duo Hiver (Let, and Curle Recordings) offer their contribution with the hypnotic Legacy. Diving deeper yet again, a warm bassline pulsates against static-like hi hats. Delicate acid thread starts to weave its way in, drawing the track to a wistful close.

On the flipside, the other-worldly Faces of Others from Dutch duo Artefakt is a beautiful example of ambient techno. Undulating rhythms ebb and flow with celestial pad work; peppered with subtle calls of the creatures from elsewhere in the universe.

Label mainstays Eric Cloutier and Trinity collaborate on the final track, Hidden Places. It’s the perfect warm down track — a bouncy, dubby groove that is juxtaposed with off-kilter synths to keep the listener on their toes.

The Night Drive EP is a cohesive compilation which expertly shows the light and shade in techno. Equally fitting for nocturnal sojourns down the highway as it is for a club setting, Nightime Drama should be proud to celebrate with this milestone release.

A1. Stefan Vincent – Ego’s Demise
A2. Hiver – Legacy
B1. Artefakt – Faces of Others
B2. Eric Cloutier & Trinity – Hidden Places

Available at Something Else RecordsDecks.deJuno and Hard Wax.