Sydney-based beat-maker, Earl Grey is one third of Sydney’s hottest party throwing team, Rimbombo, one half of Australia’s latest record label, Ken Oath and can be found ripping ‘shirts-off disco tunes’ on everyone’s beloved sticky dancefloor at Fredas. Having created an exclusive mix for MoVement inspired by the recent Mary Street block party in Newtown, Earl Grey sat down to tell us all about what we can expect from Ken Oath, his thoughts on the ever-pressing topic of the lockout laws, the history of Rimbombo and a few little tips for aspiring DJ’s.
Ken Oath Records is a pretty exciting venture! Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect?
James and I run Ken Oath together and have been planning releases and waiting on tardy pressing plants for the last 6 months. 2017 should be red hot – there are 3 releases planned from some mates from right here in Sydney. Sydney in general has really been picking up it’s game recently – heaps of quality labels and exciting producers popping up in the past year. Shouts to Moonshoe, Midnight Swim, Pelvis Records and Post Pluto.
You’ve told us that this delightful mix is inspired by the recent Mary Street block party at Newtown Festival. What a time Newtown Festival was! How did it all come together?
My friend Oscar conveniently lives on Mary St. which was pedestrianised for the Newtown festival. He did a good thing and asked permission from the Newtown Police to put some speakers on the porch and have DJ’s play music to the street from the balcony. The vibe was on point and a lot of people who walked past would stick around. There ended up being about 500 people on the street, dancing, smiling, taking their clothes off. It was really refreshing to see such a spontaneous party which often makes these sorts of things impossible. The crowd was really appreciative that, for once, we were given freedom to do something fun in our city. Everyone treated each other well and had a fun, safe time.
Tell us a little bit about becoming one of the resident DJs of the glorious, slightly sticky Freda’s dance floor?
I had been playing around with music at home for a few months and was really lucky to have a good friend who had played a bit there and he offered me a gig. After that I just started visiting the bar very frequently and getting to know the people who worked there – eventually the invitations to play became more regular. Dave, the owner, has a really broad appreciation for music and has always let me play what I wanted.
You’re a lover of jazz and self-proclaimed ‘shirts-off Disco and House’… what gets the best crowd reaction, and what’s your personal fave?
Anything with disco lasers and sleazy lyrics works a treat… this is a good one –
Rimbombo sure know how to throw one hell of a party! How did you guys find each other?
Rimbombo was formed in 2014 by two best mates, Declan and James. Declan unfortunately relocated to London leaving James all by himself. James, Adi and I were already very close mates and he knew that we were down to party with him. We’ve had a really fun time this year – throwing a few warehouse parties, a Keep Sydney Open after party and an epic 7 hr marathon at Pavlova Bar.
It’s a subject we can’t really escape these days, especially given how much it’s impacting Sydney’s iconic dance scene. How do you see the future panning out for hard working DJ’s with the current lockout law situation?
It seems like the anti-lockout movement is gaining increasing support from politicians and key players. People are starting to wake up and notice a lot of the unintended consequences that these measures have had on our city. The economic cost to venues, entertainers, bar staff, security etc etc can’t be ignored. I’m sure being a tourist in Sydney would be pretty boring as well, as the options for nightlife are pretty limited/shitty. We all owe a huge debt to Tyson Koh and Keep Sydney Open for all their commitment and hard work in this battle.
If you dig a little deeper than the Lonely Planet guide you might stumble across to some pretty special parties though. It’s actually been a really exciting few years to have been living in Sydney. Parties have moved to parks, warehouses and under bridges and are allowed to go much longer and be a lot wilder than any party I’ve been to in a traditional night club setting. I find the community atmosphere at these things really important as well – never in my life have I been offered so many warm sips of beer from strangers. All these restrictions on fun have just made people work harder and more imaginatively, in creating their own fun.
What are your hot tips for aspiring DJ’s?
– listen to music as much as possible – youtube playlists, local radio, record stores are your friends.
– go to gigs! support the scene and it’ll support you
– you don’t need to beat match everything or mix in key
– tell your mum you love her