Meet Third Degree, the crew bringing new energy into Perth's late nights
From Rinse FM takeovers to sold-out launch shows, the group are quickly becoming stand-outs of Perth's club underground.
Anyone with their fingers on the pulse of Perth's late-night dance music world would've probably come across Third Degree at some point in the last six months. While their foundations extend back to parties a few years ago, the four-strong collective have built themselves a platform as one of Perth's most exciting collectives of 2021, one that seems to be stepping up and excelling in its aim to unearth and nurture Perth's dance music next generation regardless of its background or sound.
At one point, they'll be sharing club edits and productions from their own members - ones that reflect and emphasise the genre-varying diversity of the label's members and their respective tastes. The next, they'll be spotlighting other reckoning forces through takeovers on Rinse FM and Rinse France - world-trotting havens for club music fans that have tapped into Third Degree for their broad knowledge of club music's even most out-there new names. Then, there's GASSED - an event brand launched by the collective earlier this year, with their two shows thus far attracting frenzied, get-in-early-or-you'll-miss-it reception.
In everything they do, Third Degree aims to explore the outer edges of dance music, and uplift those that exist within the culture's long-winding history. In its current form, the label exists as the partnership between four people - Nora Zion, Super Flog, Burna and Hally - with each of their respective tastes creating the signature Third Degree 'sound' which veers between UK-indebted garage, grime and jungle, as well as their high-octane US counterparts in ballroom and Jersey club and footwork - sounds that often aren't find amongst Australia's club circuit, let alone that in Perth.
That said, it's something Third Degree have strived to welcome into the mix. Their debut long-form release - a ten-track collection from label founder Nora Zion, titled OBEKT - feels like an entry point, exploring how club music can quite naturally form an intersection with more commercial and pop-adjacent sounds, regardless of how experimental its productions may lean. Likewise, their GASSED events have taken off, to the point where the orange tape that guarded the stage at their last event was almost unseen from the moving crowd in front of them.
While Perth's club music world was once internationally recognised for its devotion to dubstep and drum'n'bass, crews such as Third Degree - and a few others we've talked about over the last two years - have gone a long way in diversifying what's out there, creating new homes for people that have often felt long-excluded from everything else that's out there. Now, they're diversifying even more; Third Degree being just one collective beginning to branch out into world aside from events - and we have no doubts that there's plenty more to come.
On October 8th, the Third Degree Records crew will be taking over AFTERLIGHT - the late-night accompaniment to our new monthly music discovery party SPOTLIGHT - with a lineup including its core members Burna x Hally, as well as Jxnior, Is Boogaerdt and Lala. You can find tickets and more information to that show here, but in the meantime, acquaint yourself to the Third Degree team below, and get ready for them to keep making their mark on club music in 2022 and beyond:
Tell us about Third Degree Records. Who is behind it and how did it all start?
Third Degree consists of 4 people: Nora Zion and Super Flog (Bun Dem), Burna and Hally. The idea for the name came from combining Bun Dem and Burna which culminates in a third degree burn.
The beginnings of Third Degree can be traced back to 2015 and the parties organised by Nora Zion and Super Flog (Bun Dem, High Drive and Chargie) which helped to develop the sound and create a scene for the genres we push. At the start of the year, after some collaboration on the production side between Nora Zion and Burna, we had the idea of establishing a platform to release music, as well as launching our event GASSED.
Our aim was to celebrate the music we love as well as to bring people together and introduce people who may be unfamiliar with it.
What kind of music do you hope to support + emphasise through Third Degree?
Generally, we play and promote dance music with hard drums and heavy bass stemming from rave and soundsystem culture. This includes UK Bass music genres, like Garage, UK Funky, Grime and Jungle, as well as other genres from across the pond like Jersey, Baltimore, Footwork and Ballroom.
None of our music tastes are identical so you might hear influences from other genres in between.
Third Degree is still pretty fresh, what have you guys managed to do with the label thus far?
We launched the label earlier this year off the success of Nora Zion and Burna’s collaborative Beyonce Bootlegs EP on SoundCloud which blends Nora’s ear for chopped up Pop vocals and melodies with a touch of UK and Jungle influenced percussion and bass from Burna. We have also released a 10 track album by Nora Zion entitled OBEKT which further defines her signature style of cross-pollinating contemporary Club sounds with Pop-inspired melodies.
Since the launch of the label, both Burna and Nora Zion have had mixes featured on Rinse FM and Rinse France respectively, as well as having a Third Degree takeover on the Marcus Nasty Show on Rinse FM curated by Burna.
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What should people have to look forward to from Third Degree in the next little while?
Plenty of music in the pipeline to look out for, including a joint Nora Zion x Burna EP, a forthcoming compilation featuring some local and international producers, and two more GASSED events before the end of the year.
This kind-of UK club music world that you guys work in seems to have really blossomed in Perth over the last few years. How do you feel like it has grown recently, and where do you hope it goes?
We’ve always had a love for this music so it’s nice to see it gain some momentum and see more people fall in love with it who maybe weren’t overly familiar with it before. We are trying to occupy a space that differentiates itself from the House and Techno scene that still dominates the dance music landscape in Perth. Ultimately though we don’t want it to be a trend, we want it to prosper and gain long term stability.
What do you hope to achieve with the label’s future?
We are hoping to continue to release music and build relationships with Australian and international artists, as well as promote events that are diverse and unique in line up selection and music.
Tell us about the acts we’ve got playing the SPOTLIGHT Third Degree takeover happening on October 8th. What should people expect?
Is Boogaerdt, Lala and Jxnior are no strangers to the scene here in Perth. They are all such incredible DJ's who tear it up wherever and whenever they play, whether It’s on radio or in a club. Expect A bit of UKG, Breaks, UK funky and everywhere in between throughout the night as well as some Grime and Jungle.
SPOTLIGHT 002 feat. AFTERLIGHT - Third Degree Records Takeover (tickets here):