Australian music today is not only enjoyed within our borders – it’s internationally recognised and well received. For many Australian artists, this means the opportunity to play and perform in many places across the world is not as far-fetched as once thought (even though standalone tours can be a difficult, strenuous effort). However, once greeted with open arms in such places like Europe and the UK, the idea of moving yourself and your music to a new permanent location is tempting.
In a series of interviews with touring Australian artists who have made (or are thinking about) this move, we’ll be discussing the difference between club cultures, making the decision to leave and how to tour. Our first interview is with Melbourne based, Ballarat-born DJ/producer Daze (Lobster Theremin) who was on tour in London when we sat down and had a chat with him.
Blake Creighton: Being your third time playing in Europe, how does the club culture here differ from Australia’s?
Daze: I try not to make sweeping statements, but in the places that I have played there is perhaps a level of ‘openness’ to new experiences and music that I find is a little ‘weirder’ – they push the boundaries just that little bit further. I think that at times in Australia you need to be more mindful of what you are going to play, and perhaps cater to the crowd a little bit more. I can only speak from my own experiences but when I play over here, I truly feel that I can play whatever I desire, and can follow whatever narrative I want. As a general rule as well, the crowd are happy to follow, so that is a major difference and allows me to play a lot more techno and a lot quicker.
Have you ever thought about making the move to Europe?
Definitely. It’s been on my mind since the first tour, which was largely about seeing what it is like over here. I had only been to Europe as a tourist once, so I was largely uninitiated as to what it would be like. Ever since the first tour, where I played some big shows in some big clubs, it certainly opened my eyes to the possibilities over here as an artist.
I’ve tried to just make a living as a DJ in Australia and it’s notoriously difficult. You might play Sydney once then you can’t play there for another six months. There is also not a whole lot of shows in Melbourne that perhaps suit what I do, so that becomes the major difference. I feel like over here I could probably play a couple of times a week, which would be very comfortable, whereas at home it is more of a slow grind.
I do question whether I would live in London. I feel like Amsterdam is more aligned to how I feel. I come from a fairly small town, and Amsterdam has a small town vibe… Although gentrification has certainly taken over and I have heard it is fairly hard to get an apartment in the city. So that is something that is ever present at the moment, and I’m getting very close to the point where I want to make the move. Perhaps try it out for six months and see how it goes.
How do you think it will improve you as a producer?
I think primarily it would give me more time to explore myself. At the moment I’m still working a full-time job back home, so finding the time around work to be able to make music is where a lot of artists find issues, like me. Whereas if I’m over here, I would try and work a part-time job and dedicate a lot more of my time and effort to being in the studio. I think it would give me the ability to explore many more ideas of what I want to make, and it isn’t strictly club music. It would give me time to let these ideas ferment, which I just don’t have at the moment back home.
How do you think it will improve you as a DJ?
The greatest benefit would come from being able to play more regular shows to crowds that are perhaps a little more open. It would allow me to play through more records, buy more records and hopefully speed up the process in regards to me becoming a more rounded DJ. I still feel that I am in the infancy of what I can do as a DJ. I have only been doing this seriously since 2014 so I feel that I have only seen a snippet of what I am able to do.
How do you think it will improve you as a person?
I have only ever lived in Victoria, Australia, so I have never made a wider move. I think it would be a process of finding out about what I’m capable of and a little bit more about who I am as a person as well. It would be interesting to see who I might become. I want to get over here and do it at some stage soon.
Has touring had any effects on your life in Melbourne as a DJ/Producer?
I don’t think at this point it has changed me as a producer. I’m doing what I want to do in the studio and that’s what I’ve always done. I do however bring back a lot of records from tours, so there is an overflow of music. Although, I do sometimes feel quite constrained in the shows that I play, being unable to present that weirder music – weirder techno, faster techno – but I don’t think it has made a significant change to what I’m doing.
Has touring had any effects on your life as a person?
No, I don’t think it’s changed me as a person. I am who I am, and that won’t change that much. I haven’t had any epiphanies or any grandiose plans like that at this point. Apart from now knowing that I enjoy coming over here and playing shows to crowds that are excited to see me, I tend to get home from a tour and start thinking about the next one – forever hassling my agent, “When’s the next one?!”
To other aspiring artists, what is some advice you would give on how to tour Europe?
Plan your travel well – when you do get here put some thought into it. I feel like particularly for the uninitiated, the travel can be really taxing the first time around. That was the problem I faced on my first tour. I got four weeks in and thought “Fuck, how am I going to do this!” I think the first tour was eleven weeks, it was fairly ballsy and ambitious for the first time. If you do have the luxury of having the input into what you do and how you travel, then I would do that and try to lay out space in between flights, and where possible don’t go from the club straight to the airport.