An electrifying chat with Smokin Joe Mekhael

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In the twelve year long history of inthemix, there’s only ever been a few people deserving enough to be granted their own emoticon: infamous party boy Corey Worthington is one, Eric Prydz is another, Daft Punk have one and so does Deadmau5. But the most recent living legend to receive the accolade is Smokin Joe Mekhael. Smokin Joe, as regulars around these parts will already be well-aware, earned his emoticon (and his status as an ITM mascot) when he broke the world record for the longest DJ set ever. To the collective WOOOO! of all in the forums, December of last year saw Smokin Joe stay at the decks – drug free – for a whopping five and a half days straight.

But last week, we broke the news that just a few months after claiming the title, Smokin Joe had a challenger for the title: Brisbane’s DJ Hertz, who announced that he planned to beat Joe’s world record and DJ for seven and a half days straight. So after having heard from DJ Hertz and SJM’s very-vocal forum supporters, it seemed only fair to speak to Smokin Joe himself about his feelings on the challenge…and to find out just how tough it’s going to be for DJ Hertz.

First up, how do you feel about having a challenger to the title?
I feel good. I found out a couple weeks ago and Hertz actually approached me online looking for some advice. I feel really happy that I was able to inspire someone to go for the record and really push himself. I’m really looking forward to the challenge.

I wanted to ask how the record all went down for you. How hard was it getting through the six days?
It was the most intense, difficult thing I’ve done in my life. That’s kind of the reason I have so much respect for anyone who even wants to have a go at it, because I know how physically and mentally straining it is.

I heard you had hallucinations after a couple of days. That true?
Hardcore hallucinations! From about 48 hours to about 54 hours, where I had my first rest break, I was hallucinating pretty hardcore. As someone who’s had a few hallucinations and hallucinatory experiences in the past, I can rate this as pretty high up. But it was pretty tough because the lights were going absolutely crazy everywhere and people’s faces were warping on the dancefloor.

I remember at one point I high-fived a guy in the front row and my friend came up to me and said “Man, you high-fived that guy and then were just staring at your hand for 30 seconds”. I was really tripping out. But I was able to get through it!

Were there any other side effects?
I lost my voice, I lost about 11 kilos – I’m not the fattest guy in the world, but I lost 11 kilos. In the end what made me stop was I had tinnitus in my ears from the ringing and I didn’t want that to become a permanent thing, so that’s why I didn’t go for the full seven days. They were the main side effects.

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