Brisbane club scene mourns the loss of DJ Edwin

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The Brisbane and Australian dance music community lost another of its pioneers with the death of Edwin Morrow, AKA DJ Edwin, of a heart attack last Sunday following complications with a liver-related illness. Described by Candee Flip promoter Scott Walker as “part of the holy trinity of old skool Brisbane DJs” alongside Kesson and the also sadly departed DJ Angus, Morrow’s passing has left a giant hole where one of the pillars of Brisbane clubbing has always stood.

Though Morrow’s most recent Brisbane residency was at Rockafella’s, his name will always be synonymous with the city’s longest running nightclub – The Beat. “My time at the Beat was phenomenal!” Morrow told inthemix’s Nicole Wright in February 2007. “13 years of playing five nights a week on the 2-5am shift – I saw it all! The reason I stayed there for so long was only and solely for the people.”

Morrow’s Adrenalin dance parties – with a reappropriated Michelin Man as mascot – were an early ‘90s watermark for Brisbane clubbing. Synonymous with Fortitude Valley’s long-standing rave epicentre The Roxy (later the Arena), but also held in seminal clubs like Metropolis and Manhattan, Adrenalin was also a training ground for many of Brisbane’s next wave of DJs. BeXta and Barking Boy were just two to get a start at Adrenalin, while Jen-e told Scenestr that Morrow taught her the basics of DJing from across the counter at Central Station Records.

Fellow Brisbane club scene mainstay Michael Watt paid tribute to Morrow and Adrenalin in January 2014 when inthemix spoke to him about the iconic Strawberry Fields dance party series. “Adrenalin’s obviously the benchmark, and that’s the one you wanted to try and replicate,” Watt said. “They were the biggest at the time, and Edwin and Peter Tait were very much masters of that and the first ones to crack the 3000 [person] barrier.”

A drummer before he was a DJ, his musical tastes ran from goth and industrial through to house, early progressive, and the harder strands of dance music that were his bread and butter. As a producer, Morrow had releases on Central Station and the Sony-distributed Volition (also home to Severed Heads, South End and Itch-E & Scratch-E), the latter as Sexing The Cherry with vocalist Cherryn Lomas – their track Steppin’ On peaked at No. 42 in the ARIA singles charts in May 1994.

Morrow’s generosity, as a DJ, promoter, record store worker and friend, is one of the common threads of the tributes being left for him on Facebook. “He was charismatic,” said Cosmo Cater, former ITM Queensland state editor and one of the most respected of Brisbane’s current crop of DJs. “When I was a school kid I used to go into Central Station and some of the other DJs laughed because I went in there in my school uniform and was very uncool. But Edwin was always very accepting and really good with recommendations for music and really welcoming. He just had this very calm air about him, very open, and he just went out of his way to be nice to everyone.”

DJ Edwin will be laid to rest at Caboolture & Districts Crematorium & Memorial Gardens 22-36 Tallowwood Dr, Deception Bay on Monday 24 March at 10am. The Beat’s main room will be thrown open for free for a memorial night on Friday 28 March.

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