For the disco with Teriyaki Anarki Saki

If you are an adherent to techno and its ideology and you live in Melbourne, or anywhere else in Australia for that matter, you would have most definitely heard of, if not experienced the institution that is Teriyaki Anarki Saki (T.A.S). ITM’s Drexciyan delved into the mindset, and principles of Teriyaki Anarki Saki with Jason Platts aka DJ Slack.

T.A.S was created by Dee Dee and Slack back in 1996 and has since been a weekly techno institution for like minded punters and players, blending many forms of art, dance, and music together to present a product made from true love and dedication for the dance floor and all that it encompasses.

Moving to Billboards two months ago was Teriyaki’s eighth move in venue over the course of six years, the nights of Techno rebellion began at a place called Sady’s Bar in Melbourne’s CBD, and from there moved to Brunswick street to a warehouse called the Funshop, where there was a lot of scope for creativity with its underground setup. Like a Gyspy trying to find their place of comfort T.A.S picked itself up and moved to Red Room in Thornbury.

“We definitely got our stripes by that stage, and it almost distinguishes the kind of Teriyaki crowd to somewhat, it’s not an ageist thing, it’s just that there is an identification with things that went on during those years”

After a short stay at another venue called the Barracuda bar, T.A.S found themselves returning to the CBD to a place called the Velvet Lounge (a different Velvet Lounge to the recent venue) and then they eventually settled at the Hi Fi bar for about 2 years. Earlier this year saw revellers attending the Thursday night gig at another Velvet Lounge, and shortly after Slack and Dee Dee made their last move to the current residency at Billboards.

“Dee Dee and I started it, then we worked with another gentlemen Telford Scully, who I was living with and working with, a fantastic dancer and party hound around Melbourne, Telford bought a lot to it, he didn’t want to be the world’s best dj, he wasn’t a dj, he was committed to the social end of it, and to the dancing, to the floor, and to the vibe, and to help us to keep together, to integrate the party.”

Each person, whether it be punter, resident dj, co founder, décor co-ordinator, or performing artist has a special place and purpose in the scheme of things at T.A.S. Dee Dee is and always has been known as being technically very proficient, which extends beyond the console right through to the setup acoustics, the P.A and the overall general technical side of things.

“I kind of find that I am probably involved mostly in overall management, production management and general kind of business direction. We worked together Dee and I from the start and Telford got into it perhaps 6 months to a year into it and stayed with us for about two and a half to three years. Simon Slieker has always been constantly involved in it; there is a short list of people that are significant, who Teriyaki couldn’t exist without, and I think the first one of those would be Nat my girlfriend, she would be the longest serving staff person outside of Dee and myself who has always been there.”

Nat and Dee Dee were originally from Sydney; they came to Melbourne together and brought a lot of new influence to Melbourne in the mid nineties. Nat and Dee Dee and a host of people came down from Sydney in the early days of T.A.S; it was this blend of people from Melbourne and Sydney that brought a certain fresh feel to Melbourne and to Teriyaki.

“Sydney at that stage was perhaps a bit more colourful, the people were a bit more underground, a bit more anarchistic in some respects to the parties going on in Melbourne and that was an influence for us.”

Slieker was one of Teriyaki’s first resident djs, and he contributed substantially to the feel and impression of T.A.S, a likeminded resident who is known for his ability to keep people on the dance floor interested but at the same time giving the punters something different to explore and play with.

“Simon has always had a very unique place in the club, he was a likeminded resident dj, the only one that could really go with Dee Dee in the early days as a player and Simon’s involvement was kind of like a bit of a leader, he has a kind of aura in a party that people warm to, he is not someone (in all fairness to everyone, I’ll try to be pretty egalitarian) who will come down and will put up a lot of décor or do a lot of things hands on like that, but his spirit in the party is important for our overall feeling.”

Other residents that are recognised as being an integral part of Teriyaki over the years are the likes of 8bit, Steve Robbins, and Toni Pixelton, who again have all brought their own style and influences to T.A.S and have shared many a rockin’ weekly gig with Slack and Dee Dee.

The quirky ambience and vibe that is evident at Teriyaki at whichever venue it may be is a culmination of décor art and musical influence, the branding is strong and stable and has never been lost in its travel from venue to venue. The chill room at Teriyaki is one that deserves special mention. The works of the Penguin (Pauly) and Scott Baker aka House of Scott (who has been doing décor for Teriyaki for years) conjured up a nice little niche within the T.A.S vibe.

“We have had a chill at Teriyaki for the lion’s share of our time doing parties, it’s something we like to do, and spiritually it’s something we believe in and try to support to stretch out the mono-dimensional range of dance music, even if it’s not something that we necessarily would be into or support directly every week, we like to keep it going to illustrate the range and depth and kind of things that you can do at a dance party”

The whole media of the dance music industry has changed a lot over the years; T.A.S have always managed to mix the right blend of multimedia, music and the unique notion of performing arts during their weekly gigs. One week you might have gone to Teriyaki and witnessed a small performance of Manga like girls with toasters on their heads, doing a mime while popping some toast, another week…. who knows?

“There are different types of performance, acrobatics, fetish, high risk, some stuff just silly…. the idea of it is to put a break in your ears, reset your ears as much as anything, to assist the dance, it puts a new chapter in the night. It took a couple of years for anyone to stop the floor, usually when we have a show, the floor would keep going and bit by bit the people caught on to it, to the point where people would almost kind of stop and sit down and pay full attention for five minutes”

Slack assured Drexciyan that they have a couple of good shows lined up for their birthday celebrations. “It’s kind of weird stuff, which I will leave as a surprise”

Over the years many local and international guests have graced the decks at Teriyaki, from international’s like Marco Bailey, Monika Kruse, and Woody McBride (who is playing an exclusive show for their birthday celebrations) right through to a plethora of locals.

“It is not a beginners club, its not an up and comers club, occasionally we will have someone on who I wouldn’t say is a professional player, who has illustrated a certain mastery over a sound that they are working on, and if they are interested in raising the bar for themselves, then we invite them to come along and play, we don’t have a great deal of confidence in the way most parties are booked, it’s not a level playing field out there, and what we are trying to do is educate people, that if you play well then hopefully they (the punters) will appreciate the difference as opposed to if they go somewhere that’s sloppy where the party has a play format that goes all over the place”

Techno is dead? Due to many threads on the complex question that has been showing its ugly head in Melbourne and all over the continent Drexciyan asked Slack his thoughts on this statement.

“I will say that it isn’t. I will say that I’ve heard it all before. It’s all a matter of definition to some degree, I think that people can agree musically when they talk about techno, but there is a formula that I think is dead, it’s been dead a long time, many years, it’s been playing itself out, people have been kind of making the most of it, if they are in the position to do so, but to me the notion that Techno is dead, is as bad as saying dance music is dead, in general. The people that are suggesting this never even got their foundations right to start with. They are really not very credible, people in the big end of the industry who are saying this are saying this because they can’t seem to profit from it, whether or not that makes it dead, I dunno, a good attitude is half the battle, I personally love techno myself, and I know Dee Dee loves it too.”

That is all that should matter to the everyday techno enthusiast. Are you supporting the right people? Do the people you throw your money at each month share the same passion and involvement as yourself? Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?

“The real problem with it is that there is a mismatch of support, all signals are being sent out in a very commercial way, and there hasn’t been support and encouragement for people who are doing things with self belief at a grass roots level, cause respect doesn’t mean fuckin’ anything in Melbourne at the moment, it doesn’t mean bugger all.”

This week sends Teriyaki into its seventh year and to help celebrate with the crew is the U.S king of the 303, Woody McBride aka DJ ESP. Woody will be playing alongside Yaki residents, Dee Dee, Slack, Slieker and Disko Pussy, so for all those techno devotees out their, get down to Billboards, get on that floor and support those who have been giving you six years of techno indulgence and artistic philosophy.

On behalf of all at inthemix, Drexciyan would like to wish Slack and Dee Dee and all those involved in Teriyaki over the years a very happy 6th birthday and many more years of dance floor pleasure.

Next week get a double dose of booty action when Fokus Meets Teriyaki, on Thursday May 30th Dee Dee, Slack and Disko Pussy mash it up with the Fokus crew; Mike Callander, Simon Coyle and Ben Cromack.