Tall poppies and commercial pressures with The Potbelleez
Thu 6th Sep, 2012 Features 1136 viewsin
At the moment, adopted Australians The Potbelleez are mid-way through a comprehensive, 20-stop Australian tour. Irish-born duo Jonny Sonic and Dave Goode are going back to their club roots on the No Requests tour, and in the middle of it all they took the time out to speak to inthemix about chart success, the underground and the changing face of the local dance scene.
You guys started as DJs, and from there the albums and the chart success happened. How did you find the balance?
Jonny: We have been lucky and blessed enough to be able to work our way from the darkest, coolest clubs all the way up and through the ranks to multi-platinum commercial pop success. There’s been a long road of sweat and tears and life changing experiences and to be honest, every moment from the day we decided to be a team in 2002 has been one to savour.
It’s been extremely difficult to maintain a good balance of life, work, play, success and some failures – but the one thing we all keep close to heart is that common goal to strive for success and never to be complacent. Every artist dreams of that one mega hit, that one tune they can start their careers from and open all the doors for them. They say it’s the hardest thing you can do is get to the top of the industry you love, but we believe it’s harder to stay there once you ‘make it’. Yep, Don’t Hold Back was that track for us and set up our careers, but it came after years of perseverance, setting records and standards and gaining underground success on a national scale.
We have all been to hell and back trying to balance work and play. It boils down to how much you ‘want it’ and what you are willing to sacrifice. Our lives have changed in so many ways, but the one thing that balances us all out is each other and the drive to always improve and stay with the times.
Dave: I think you can have both, as DJs we are on an 18 date tour across the country, playing everywhere from LaLa Land, which is small, intimate and quite housey through to Family in Brisbane which is manic. We approach both sort of venues very differently – one requires one approach, the other requires another. On one hand, we can get the award accolades and radio support from the industry and on the other, and we can fulfill our other musical desires by smaller gigs and our LAR:P events in Dublin, where we’re playing with the likes of Darren Emmerson, Riton, and Yousef. So we get to do both.
Is it possible to have commercial success and keep the ‘back to basics’ club side as well?
Jonny: I think we’ve proved many times over it is very possible to have both commercial success while maintaining ‘back to basics’ club success too. It’s vitally important to us that we don’t just write and produce something tailor made or catered towards the pop charts, because at the end of the day a good song will always shine through. And they have, time and time again, for us.
We love and respect the club scene and underground industry so much. That’s where we grew up on the streets of Dublin making fake IDs just to get in to see Sasha or Carl Cox’s first sets ever in Ireland.