Mindgutter - Out Of The Gutter And Onto The Dancefloor
With a reputation that is spreading faster than a Wolverine torrent, Mindgutter are at the forefront of the exciting new generation of local club DJs. 3D’s Scott Henderson meets the faces behind the best electro parties in Sydney.
Passion will get you so far. Local deckheads Mindgutter have it in spades, for the rest just add ambition, skill, motivation, and opportunity. It can also help to be likeable, and it’s hard not to like a couple of DJs who love music as much as Telly Maragopoulos and Anna Suraev. Just watch their reactions behind the decks as they drop the latest dancefloor destroyer on any given night: good luck finding anyone going more apeshit in the club.
And so it is that success is coming thick and fast to Mindgutter who were still finishing up psychology degrees last year while moonlighting as support for Russian maestro The Proxy, French remixing masters Les Petit Pilous and more recently Sydney’s Van She Tech. Like many great DJ partnerships Mindgutter were already best mates when Anna caught Telly skiving revision, instead surfing the MySpace pages of Justice, Mr Oizo and obsessing over the rest of Ed Banger’s all-stars. Sometimes the most inspired moments come when you’re distracting yourself from the things you’re ‘supposed’ to be doing.
“It was procrastination,” declares Telly and Anna simultaneously with a glee that drives a stake into the heart of university professors the world over. Continues Telly: “Somehow we just kinda fell into what we’ve been doing, we were good at it and since then it’s just been rolling fast.”
The two friends enjoy a quick-fire rapport that fills pauses in some sentences whilst finishes others. Get them talking about music and their idols like Mr Oizo and just try keep up as they enthusiastically race through any and every subject to do with their passion. “We looked up to these DJs as gods because we knew how much they could inspire us to dance and just lose our shit,” says Anna, “that’s all there is for me now, giving that energy to the crowd.”
That said, Mindgutter have in many ways already moved on from the electro explosion out of Europe and are busy finding their own voice. Clubland is evolving quick thanks in no small part to the prevalence of music blogs, where the music-consuming publics’ tastes move fast in what is tantamount to a changing of the guards, where trends are pulled instead of pushed. This is the face of the new house music revolution.
“Blogs have had a huge part, no longer can Ministry of Sound have the economies of scale or the distribution over what people hear,” says Telly who moves effortlessly from business talk to excitedly making warble noises explaining dubstep’s nuances. “Nowadays people don’t go and buy compilations to hear what they want to hear, they go and they find what they intrinsically love. Whereas before the blog and internet revolution taking over everything in music, the Ministry of Sound compilations dominated everything and they were definitely pushing a very commercial, cheesy sound, which we now see is being completely rejected.”
In a sense it is a popular revolution, one dictated only by the most savvy of dancefloors and the Oxford Art Factory is home to just such a place. “The thing I find with the Oxford Art Factory,” agrees Anna, “is they are a really educated audience, they really know their latest music and what’s going on.”
The club has been playing host to parties thrown by the Retro Society of which Telly is a part of along with promoter Michael Carter, which boasts a small band of very young up and coming DJs in Sydney including Awkward Boys, Three Fingers and There Goes The Neighbourhood. “Pretty much we’re just a group of people who wanted to give opportunities to people who deserve them,” says Carter. “We’ve got all these young new DJs like Mindgutter and There Goes The Neighbourhood killing it on stage playing pinnacle sets making the crowd go wild. They never let me down.”
It is certainly in part their taste in music, but perhaps even more so it is their genuine affinity for the dancefloor and their partnership that gives Mindgutter the edge when it comes to bringing the crowd to life as anyone who has seen them or heard their Time To Cheese MGMT, Diplo, Deadmau5 edit can testify. “We feed off of each others energy big time,” says Telly. “When Anna puts on a song that makes the audience lose their mind, I lose my mind double.”
Anna, who is every bit as effervescent as her cohort, echoes Telly’s sentiment. As we delve deeper into the subject of the Sydney clubbing scene, the fairer half of Mindgutter declares their interest in dubstep, something that’s popping up in more and more electro sets by DJs who are perhaps wisely approaching with caution.
“Everyone is a bit scared to play it,” suggest Anna, almost with a sense of disappoint. “It’s hard to mix because of the BPMs, another thing is a lot of the mainstream crowd don’t get it and just kinda walk away. I personally am hoping it’ll get more and more into the club scene, there are clubs nights now at Civic Underground and the Phoenix bar that are dedicated to dubstep and I personally love it. A lot of that industrial, heavy bass is coming in…Sinden did an interview last year and was asked what to expect in 2009 and he said ‘goodbye to 130 beats per minute’.”
In the meantime it’s dropping mad electro tunes at Retro Society gigs and watching the crowd go bananas that is the main focus of Mindgutter. The next step is more producing if they can just stop themselves from procrastinating, practising DJing and looking for new music. In the works is a remix of Tiga’s monster Mind Dimension and an EP titled First Encounter. “If you say a date it’ll be out by that date,” announces Telly before promising, “1 July, First Encounter EP will be out.”
“That’s it, write it down,” says Anna tapping her finger on the table. “I promise you it’ll be done. If it’s not done you can have all my CDs.” Ok, you called it: watch our shelf space.
WHAT: Play Twilight at Moulin Rouge / Blow at Candy’s / Retro Society at Oxford Art Factory / First Encounter EP
WHEN: Friday 1 May / Friday 8 / Saturday 16, Saturday 23 / Out 1 July