ITM’s Looking Local: Strange Fruit, Sydney
Thu 18th Oct, 2012 Features 554 viewsin
Going down every Saturday at Sydney’s The Abercrombie Hotel, Strange Fruit transforms a heritage pub into a haven of house and techno for believers in ‘no bullshit’ partying. With a Funktion 1 sound system in situ, the rotating cast of Strange Fruit residents includes some of the city’s finest selectors, from seasoned pros like Simon Caldwell, Ben Korbel, Carlos Zarate and the Glitch DJs to new talent on the up. Sweetening the deal considerably, each DJ gets at least two hours to settle in, and you don’t pay a cent to get in. For this edition of Looking Local, we speak to ringleader Jordan Deck about his guestlist-free, fun-first party, and get acquainted with five records that define the dancefloor.
First up, can you tell us what inspired you to start Strange Fruit, and why the Abercrombie’s the chosen spot for it?
To be perfectly honest, it mainly came from having a whole lot of amazing music that I wanted to play and share with people, but not enough parties and gigs happening to play at every weekend. I also noticed a lack of regular local parties at that time.
There are so many talented and inspiring local and interstate artists out there who are great people and have amazing music taste. I really wanted to create an event that showcased their unique talents and give them the freedom to play the music they love. Somewhere they could play without any boundaries, over a minimum two-hour set, which is rare in Sydney.
The connection between Strange Fruit and the Abercrombie happened quite organically. On Anzac Day this year myself and close friend DJ Trinity collaborated on a joint party at the Abercrombie, combining our two brands Chemistry and Loosekaboose.
The night was a great success. After that Dane Gorrel, the owner/manager of The Abercrombie, and I became friends. We spent a couple of months brainstorming what we could do at The Abercrombie on Saturday nights. It was obvious from the beginning that we were both on the same page in regards to our vision for the place. I guess all the pieces fell into place.
What are some of the challenges involved with putting on a weekly party in Sydney, particularly one that pushes an ‘underground’ music policy?
Being a weekly free party can be tough. After a certain amount of time people know that you are there, making it harder to push the party through all the usual promoting avenues. Pushing an underground sound has its challenges (especially being a free party) but the David Guetta requests are few and far between. It’s really exciting to see a new crowd exposed to new music and to see their faces back again and again is great. The exposure of underground music in this way contributes to making the scene bigger and better.
Is there a certain quality you’re looking for in DJs/acts that makes them right for a spot at Strange Fruit?
Firstly, the DJ/artist needs to be a good human being. I never book an artist I don’t like, no matter how good they are. Music taste is the next thing. I like and respect DJs who play and push their own sound and stick to it. Obviously flow throughout a night is important, but I think the punters get bored if they hear the same kind of genre and sound all night long. I like the idea of each DJ set being a separate performance.
Aside from booking good guests, how else do you build a loyalty to your night?
I think the little touches are important to get people into a party vibe. Decoration, quirkiness and lighting all contribute to the mood and vibe of the place. Providing an environment where people feel free to be and express themselves. Making people feel welcome and spreading good energy is important in attracting the right crowd. Creating a family-like atmosphere in turn breeds loyalty.
Strange Fruit is about a ‘no bullshit’ experience. Have you taken inspiration from any other parties in how you do things?
I guess the ‘no bullshit’ experience references freeing yourself from some of the downsides of clubbing – that is, arrogant and pretentious people. I have worked closely with other parties over the years, namely my good friends at Subsonic, Shrug and Loosekaboose. It is inspiring to see other parties that are in it for the right reasons. At the end of the day it is about music, bringing people together and making people happy.
There’s certainly a groundswell of talent at the moment buzzing in Sydney. Do you feel this is a really creative, interesting time?
Absolutely. There is so much local talent out there, both in the producing and DJing world. I can’t keep up. It is definitely an interesting time. I believe the scene is the strongest it has been in years, which means more parties, more punters, more inspiration and more quality output of music.
What have been some of the standout memories from the Strange Fruit parties so far?
There have defiantly been some great and memorable nights. We recently had Alphatown play live. They totally blew me away. We also have the odd after-hours kick on which can be really fun. We’ve hosted artists such as Alex Smoke and Sasse at these. But really the Strange Fruit residents deliver on regular basis, which makes it hard to separate one night from another.
Any plans for the future of Strange Fruit you’re particularly excited about?
We are doing a joint party with our friends at Disconnected on New Year’s Day. The Party will feature techno legend Luke Slater, which we’re very excited about. Also in the pipeline is a joint Mardi Gras party with Picnic featuring one of my favourite artists at the moment. My lips are sealed at this stage.
FIVE STRANGE FRUIT CLASSICS
Mano Le Tough – Mountains (Original Mix)
Deep journey music. Perfect! Whether it’s in a warm-up or in the wee hours of the morning. Hop on for the ride.
Andrea Esu – E.S.U Track (Original Mix)
Bomb track. Andrea has only produced three tracks, two of which are killer. This one is a party-starter. Nice percussion and sick old-school groove!
Cascandy – Escapade Escapade (Super Flu Remix)
I’ve heard this track from a number of Strange Fruit residents. It’s a given…always a great crowd reaction! The bass will hit you right in the chest and won’t let go…..Nice!
Lee Burridge & Matthew Dekay – Lost In A Moment (Dixon Rework)
A personal favourite. A great track mid-set – journey music at its best! Super emotive, nostalgic and deeeeeeeeep.
Kevin Saunderson feat. Inner City – Future (Kenny Larkin Tension Mix)
I first heard Chris Honnery play this at Strange Fruit in the early hours of the morning. Sasse from MoodMusic also dropped it a couple of weeks later. Talk about brain-melting. Great manipulation of the vocal sample. It’s totally weird at the beginning, but when it drops everything makes sense.