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Archie, Amber Savage and Nik Fish - Feel The Energy

Author: Patrick Lewis
Tuesday, 19 February 2008
One of Australia’s longest running institutions in the dance music scene is Central Energy, curated by local DJs Archie, Amber Savage and Nik Fish. 3D’s Patrick Lewis caught up with the three DJs for a little nostalgia and a look to the future.

Rock the Nation, the latest release, comprises three blistering trance CDs from the DJ trio. They’re all excited by this – all except Fish, a victim of his own perfectionism.

“I’ve heard the CD so many times in production I never want to hear it again,” he complains, referring to the hours and hours he’s spent in the studio.

The trance threesome are now embarking on a national tour to promote the CD and can’t conceal their own energy.

“We showcase what’s on the CD,” Savage explains. “If people come to see us because they’ve heard the CD that’s what they want to hear us play.” Archie agrees. “Often a DJ will tour because of the success of their CD, but then play something totally different to what was on their album,” he says.

While Savage’s disc features the familiar tracks of Bexta and Simon Patterson, Archie plays his favourite sound Alphazone as well as his own track Breathe and Bring the Noise by Public Enemy, reflecting his obscure love of hip hop and scratching which influences his mixing. “A lot of trance is electro influenced. I try and bring something different with scratching,” he says.

Savage’s tastes are a little different. For example she’s excited about going to see Foo Fighters in a couple of weeks.

“I love going to rock concerts,” she says. Although Savage has always been a trance lover first and foremost, her love of the genre has evolved. “The trance scene has changed remarkably. The music has changed, the clubs have changed and a lot of people have left so the crowds have changed,” she says. “You have to be able to adapt.”

The biggest highlight of her career to date has been playing the invitation-only Love Parade in Berlin.

“It was really special to play the last Parade in 2006 in front of 1.4 million people,” she says with calm nostalgia. “It was overwhelming to feel like I was part of history.” Archie grins, recalling his favourite gig, in 2004 when he toured with electronic outfit Endorphin.

“I was a scratch DJ and played in the main square of Mexico City,” he recalls. “There was a really big army, it was a special moment when they took down their national flag and folded it. The whole occasion was surreal”.

Although playing overseas in exotic locations is a memorable event the two are proud of a recent gig they played closer to home. “We did the night tennis gig for Sony Ericsson in Melbourne,” Archie says. “We played on a full sized tennis court that was blacked out. It was an event with big names in tennis like Pat Cash and other celebrities.”

“Although people did win tickets from the public, it was really tough to play to a crowd that wasn’t there to dance, but everyone still had a really good night,” Savage chimes in.

Although Archie and Savage have enough years of experience between them to qualify as professionals on the international circuit it still doesn’t match the wealth of experience, or bag of tricks, that Nik Fish has in his arsenal. While the three love playing together they occasionally have to rely on the “been there, done that” know-how of Fish.

“There hasn’t been a problem yet that I haven’t encountered,” he grins. “Recently we played a show after an RNB DJ – to follow afterwards was really hard. Since Archie plays a bit more commercial trance, I thought it was better if he went first and since I’m the hardest I went last. That was a tough night but we managed to pull through and made it work well.”

Fish began his career as a DJ almost by accident and would have never graced the decks if it weren’t for his insomnia and a clock radio.

“I was just a teenager in 1988,” he explains. “I used to stay up late listening to a dance music program on community radio when I won a competition to see a DJ. A week later I was at the gig and recognised the voices of the two people standing next to me as the announcers. They were really surprised at how young I was. They invited me into the radio station office and I saw first hand what went on.”

Fate took over when the two announcers left for jobs overseas. Fish was asked if he wanted to take over the program. Within a fortnight he was given the keys to the studio.

“I was coming into a lot of contact with DJs and promoters and a guy who used to put on big rave parties called Eden asked me to play at Kinsela’s,” he says. “In no time at all I had to learn how to mix.”

The rest, as they say, is history…

For years he played solo then there was his stint with Jumping Jack. Now he’s playing with Archie and Amber Savage. The three clearly love not just the experience of sharing the stage together but sharing music too. “We don’t hide records from each other,” Savage says. “We drink together, we go out together. We’re all really good friends.”

The success of the collaboration looks set to continue almost forever…until Fish mentions his retirement. “I won’t be doing this after 40,” he announces. “I will retire one day. People always ask DJs, ‘What keeps you going-’ Whenever they say ‘It’s the music’ I always think that’s a wank of an answer. It’s not the music. The music can be good but there can be a phase where the music can be crap for six months.

“If people want to know why I keep going, it’s because I feel appreciated. When people clap and cheer at the end of the night it’s the best feeling in the world. When that stops I’ll stop playing.”

WHO: Nik Fish, Amber Savage and Archie
WHAT: Rock The Nation through Central Station / Play Sublime at Home
WHEN: Out now / Friday 14 March