One of Australia's best selectors brings the party.
Around five or six years ago, Melbourne was entering a golden age of house music, led by a crew of now-globally recognised artists like Tornado Wallace, Francis Inferno Orchestra and Fantastic Man, AKA Mic Newman. Andy Hart, although a little further from the limelight, played a pivotal role in the development of the city's signature deep, groovy sound. In particular, this was thanks to his Melbourne Deepcast podcast-cum-label (co-run with Myles Mac), which showcased the city's new wave of talent in its early releases. While plenty has changed since those records, Hart has continued to support Melbourne's emerging artists. His current label, Voyage, launched in 2014 and has championed acts like M5K and Harvey Sutherland, whose Brothers EP was a breakthrough for the Victoria synth wizard.
Hart moved to Berlin 18 months ago, following a migration trend that's seen a number of his peers setting up in the German capital, as well as London. Aside from working on Voyage and dropping solo EPs on Heist and Sleazy Beats Black Ops, he's spent time among the OYE Records family, particularly with frequent studio collaborator Max Graef. The likeminded pair have been releasing music together since 2012 on Melbourne Deepcast and Box Aus Holz, complementing one another's love of jazz-infused dance music. Those influences and more are laid out in Hart's inviting two-hour RA podcast, which spans smooth soul and funk, bright disco and classic '90s house.
What have you been up to recently?
I've been back in Australia for the past few months, returning for the Wax'o Paradiso second birthday at the end of October. Since then I went on a small tour of Asia and had a bunch of solo and Wax'o shows in Aus, including an incredible festival on NYE called Camp Nong, where the guys running the festival organised an eight-piece horn section to accompany us as the sun rose on New Years Day playing Destination's "Move On Up" (a cover of Mayfield). It was the most beautiful way to bring in the new year.
How and where was the mix recorded?
On my laptop after a few weeks digesting and digitising my records at home in Berlin.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
The mix was made after many months collecting, researching and diving into the records and labels I'd discovered since moving to Europe in 2014, and hopefully it's a true account of where my head is as a DJ at the moment.
How was the transition to life in Berlin last year?
Actually it's been pretty smooth. I had been going over on holiday for a few years already, so once I made the decision to quit my job and pursue the music thing full-time I had fam there already. It took a few months to settle in and find a place to hang my hat permanently, but there's a routine in place now where I can spend my weeks researching music and exploring ideas in the studio.
Melbourne's had its fair share of popular house and techno exports in recent years, with more youngsters on the rise. What do you think is behind the success of the city's electronic scene?
Melbourne's always had a rich music scene, both in electronic and live music. Most of the people involved nowadays grew up in wake of a rebellious period where electronic music was broken into the city through techno and rave culture. Since then it seems to have found a foothold in Melbourne and people spend their early years going out to gigs, running their own parties and becoming inspired to contribute in some way or another.
It's evident now more than ever too, with so many incredibly unique parties on each weekend throughout the summer, many of which have a focus on local artists. You also have to consider how far away we are from the rest of the world, a 25 to 30-hour flight to Europe or the UK, for example. If it does take so long and cost so much to experience electronic music, where the scene is arguably its healthiest, people will start to create their own versions here at home. We're also grateful to live in an Australian city where the government isn't locking people out of venues at 1 AM.
What are you up to next?
A few more shows here in Australia and then back to Europe for the rest of the year. I'll also be releasing the next Voyage record in Feb, so getting things ready for that as well as finishing my next EP, which will also be out on Voyage this year.