Ajax: Prince of the decks
Adrian Thomas (aka Ajax) is one of the clubbing crowd’s most favoured DJs. It’s not hard to understand why he’s crowned the prince of the decks, responsible for some of the best party mash-ups ever, he possesses an amazing ability to combine cheese with sleaze and come up with some of the unsurpassed golden dance floor moments, you’ll still find yourself recalling in a decade’s time. And he does it all with enough charm to kill a cobra! So given the chance to chat and crack open a few bottles of strawberry bubbly with this charismatic maestro of the decks was a challenge I gladly accepted. Even if it was on an extra noisy Friday night on William Street, whilst he was meant to be setting up for Sydney’s best party night, Bang Gang.
8.35pm: I arrive in a taxi and seeing no sign of Ajax just yet, I find a comfortable place to sit and wait on the low wall just down from Club 77. A transvestite passes and offers tricks, but is soon drowned out by a bellowing siren coming down William Street.
8.45pm: The air gets cooler, the lights get brighter and the music in the passing cars gets louder and I’m soon met with the shy smile of an apologetic Ajax, who’s running only a few minutes late. We drop off his records at 77, which he’s been roped into setting up for Bang Gang this evening, as Da Hoodrat and Jamie Doom (who usually take care of the sound set up) are out of town. Then we head back out to the reserve to talk party times, headstrong arrogant international artists, Bang Gang and crack open a few drinks.
Ajax’s stellar career has been gliding for about a decade now, it all began as Adrian took off his apron, moving from behind the bar, working his way behind the decks at Sydney’s Kinselas. After a few memorable gigs and party tricks there, he moved on to L’Otel’s ‘Dubology’ and soon began hosting a radio show of the same name on 2SER. This was succeeded by a string of triumphant residencies and a to-die-for list of international and national supports, which has seen him strutting his stuff and blowing away crowds alongside the likes of Mylo, Ladytron, Matt Safer (The Rapture), Scissor Sisters, The Streets, Luke Slater, Felix Da Housecat, Tiga, Princess Superstar, Dexter, Grandmaster Flash, Freq Nasty, Ewan Pearson, Darren Emerson, and in true rock star style, managed to have some backstage run-ins with internationals Miss Kittin and James Lavelle.
2003 saw one of Ajax’s most exciting ventures to date, with the start of D*A*M*N (Don’t Ask My Neighbours) and one of the most heralded nights in the Australian dance, arts, fashion and electroclash communities, Bang Gang was born! “Bang Gang pretty much all started from a party that Dan and Benny had been putting on at The Bentley Bar and had become infamous for. So we had a talk and decided to get a residency going at another venue and make the most out of it. At that time, I was the only name DJ in the line-up. Although, the whole night nearly finished before it even started, due to an in-house fight in the lead up to opening week, but luckily it was resolved and we’ve never had any real disagreements since then and we’ve held a happy love-in that everyone’s happy to be apart of every week.”
If you’d witnessed any of Ajax’s live performances prior to this, it was immediately obvious as he helmed the humble decks at Moulin Rouge that he seemed happier and had been dealt a certain amount of freedom with Bang Gang. Being able to make full use of his party mash up style and cheesy 80s tunes. “Some of the best times I’ve had performing have been at Bang Gang, you can’t beat playing, drinking and partying with your best friends!”, Thomas expresses contentedly.
With his ability to adapt to any audience and dish out the appropriate electro funk mash-ups, it’s not hard to see why he’s the current DJ of choice, racking up many festival appearances under his belt including Big Day Out, We Love… Sydney, Vibes on a Summer’s Day, Field Day, Splendour In the Grass, Livid, Falls Festival, Good Vibrations, Two Tribes, Gatecrasher and We Love… Sounds. “I find playing at big festivals are easier for me, cause I tend to get a little self-conscious on the stages at smaller clubs and pubs. It’s easier to focus and play to a bigger crowd from a bigger, higher stage than to a smaller crowd on a smaller, closer stage”, shares a meek Thomas.
However festivals, pubs and clubs aren’t all his talents are enlisted for, he’s been heard mixing things up for the drool-worthy likes of Tsubi, Sass & Bide, Fashion Assassin and Zimmerman at fashion shows, which lead to Vogue crediting Ajax for the best music at the fashion shows of 2004. This however didn’t impress everyone, as he earned the title ‘Fashion Wanker’ by disgruntled fans. Which can easily be put down to the tall poppy syndrome coursing through Sydney’s veins, but hey, you’re not a star till you’ve managed to piss people off now are you?
2004 also saw Ajax awarded ‘3D World’s Best DJ’ which he’d won twice before and he managed to muzzle his way up into the Technics inthemix50 DJ Poll top 10, rising the highest number of places of any DJ since the previous year. This has led to a rather frenetic DJ schedule, hosting his radio show ‘Sunsets’ on FBi every Thursday evening, and sometimes having to play three or more shows per night of a weekend. It’s highly unsurprising that Ajax’s star continues to rise at such an expeditious pace!
If you haven’t seen him in person yet, make sure you get yourself along and check him out. Be prepared for a beer guzzling, crazy, shenanigan filled night, which will take you into the later hours of the morning!
Last year Ajax ranked number 10 on the Technics inthemix50 DJ Poll, moving up a whopping 34 places – the highest moving DJ of the year! Where will he feature in the 2005 poll? It’s up to you, so be sure to cast your votes: