How To Run A Club Night For 10 Years: Death Disco on celebrating 500 parties
We chat to the Brothers Maz about their much-loved club night, and how it's remained such a powerhouse.
If you read Pilerats you're probably no stranger to the term "club night" and there's a very good chance you go to one quite regularly. They also come and go quite regularly, sometimes in part to people having no clue what to do beyond telling their friends they're doing a party. Sometimes they're too aligned to a particular music trend. Or perhaps they just run out of steam. Not Death Disco though - Capitol Nightclub's weekly Saturday night party, run by brothers Anton and Andrei Maz. Each week they man the 1's and 2's from early til very late, sometimes alone, sometimes with up-and-coming locals and other times with out-of-town special guests.
Saturday 27 May will see them celebrate 10 years of Death Disco, which equates to around 500 consecutive parties, which equates to sheer insanity. We sent the loons a bunch of questions, and there's definitely a lot of very hand tips any young club night promoters could take from it. Have a read below, and check out the huge lineup they've arrange for party number 500 HERE.
Congratulations on 10 years of Death Disco!! An enormous effort any way you look at it - let's go back to the start first, how was Death Disco born, and what background did you guys come from to start it?
Anton: Playing in bands together (Yummy Fur and later 6 Mile High) which took us to Melbourne in the mid-90s and then onto London for another 6-7 years. I always worked in record shops too, buying and selling mainly dance music 12’ vinyl and ended up working for a big distribution company in Kent, called Pinnacle Entertainment. I met Danny Watson and Alan McGee (Creation Records) and they’d just started a weekly Wednesday night at The Notting Hall Arts Club called Death Disco. When I moved back to Perth in 2003 I asked if I could start a DD club night in my home town as they were popping up all over (Prague, LA, London, Sydney, New York, Paris, Tokyo, Glasgow). They said yes and the rest is history. We’ve grown from a celebration of indie-dance, alternative anthems and early electroclash at The Flying Scotsman (2005-2007) to an all out rave cave at Amplifier/Capitol (2007-2017).
Andrei: Well to start with we are brothers so its inception goes way back! We played together in a band for over a decade so our background is firstly as musicians... I started DJing back in the 90s when we were gigging - DJing paid better than being in a band! The band basically played live dance music, lots of loops and synths etc. whenever possible I would play a set into and out of our live gigs to set the right party mood and then keep it going.
Club nights come and go, so even just stringing one together for a few years is impressive - what are some of the keys to success when it comes to running a weekly club night?
Anton: Keep it diverse and fun and never take yourself too seriously. As the promoter/DJ you’re not just responsible for the tunes but also the overall vibe, so when you’re not on the decks get out into the crowd and be a good host, make everyone feel welcome and show them that you really appreciate them choosing to party with you. It’s 2017 and I don’t think we’ve ever had so much choice on where to spend our hard earned $$$ in P-town on a weekend. Ultimately it's something we love (how could you not?), it’s a real privilege to be part of that incredible feedback loop between the DJ and a room full of hard partying folks, to be in control of setting the vibe and responsible for keeping everyone dancing. The energy is addictive. Good times and good vibes :).
Andrei: Inclusiveness. Not being too niche or taking it all too seriously... Not being fixated on genre's and singular trends. Don't get me wrong when it comes to the tunes and how they are mixed we are serious to the point of obsessive compulsion but we won't disappear up our own backsides on some chin stroking, obscurity fest. We want you to dance like there is no tomorrow and you do that best with tunes you love.
How has the sound policy adapted over the past 10 years?
Anton: I guess we are both really into new music and always have been, so we just stay abreast of musical trends through everything from blogs and podcasts to listening to the J’s when I’m in the car, listening to mixes DJs we respect put out and get a feel for what they’re listening to. But it cant be entirely about brand new music. A good DJ is always going to have some guaranteed dancefloor gold up their sleeve, something that has stood the test of time, that literally every single person in the room can sing along to whilst dancing like a maniac; Kid Cudi - Pursuit Of Happyness (Steve Aoki Remix), DJ Fresh - Gold Dust, Basement Jaxx - Where’s Your Head At, Skrillex - Nice Sprites... basically every variation on electronic dance music has its bonafide classics.
Andrei: We have been through so many genre shifts over the last 10 years I've lost count. Electro, big room, deep, progressive, hard and bass house, nu-disco, nu-rave, fidget, dubstep, drumstep, moombahton, drum'n'bass, trap, grime... You name it we've played the best of it in the club. The really good tunes from any of them will still get a look in at Death Disco. Main thing for me is keeping it super ravey, it's the 90s boy in me.
With 500 parties, this is gonna be tricky, but what have been some of your faves over that time?
Anton: I remember talking to What So Not in the warehouse bar at about 6am in the morning sometime in 2012 or 2013 and I recall looking down and his little what so not was just hanging out of his pants...that was memorable. Not sure if it was a “wardrobe malfunction” or he just felt like it. I was like, 'that’s cool, but I’m maybe gonna stand over here now'. This was all after a rather debauched triple j House Party which also featured a very young Flume and Nina Las Vegas. Simian Mobile Disco played a set once which was great. Lovely lads too. The Big Day Out After Party when Diplo got up and played a set was very special, to have such a massive influence and star spinning tunes in Amps! RUFUS playing our sixth birthday party to a packed room and seeing a heap of WA legends coming through early on in their careers and going on to do really big things like Kevin Parker/Tame Impala, Slumberjack, Command Q and Zeke Beats.
Andrei: So many great ones. We are so privileged to have played with so many awesome people over the years. For me playing with James Lavelle (UNKLE) was fanboy wish fulfillment. ShockOne turning up for an improptu set was huge. What So Not exposing himself to Anton was wrong in a good way. The birthday's have all been huge...having RUFUS play our sixth just before they exploded was amazing. But some of the real standout nights have just been with us and locals, when the stars align and you have a really up for it crew, you could be in any of the best clubs in the world.
What's your take on the Perth club and event scene at the moment - is our nightlife following suit with the rest of the economy in our post-mining boom phase?
Anton: Well in 10 years we’ve gone from having one big event every four-six weeks with a touring headliner to four or five playing various venues every weekend. So people have never had so much choice but it’s never been so competitive for promoters and venues. Obviously in a “post-boom” economy folks aren’t so flushed with cash so they’re maybe more discerning on where they are going to spend their precious dollars. So all promoters need to ensure they are offering a really good product; guaranteed good times.
How do you survive being up til the crack of sparrows every Saturday night and trying to function normally on Sundays?
Anton: I sleep in till about 1.30pm every Sunday. My family are kind enough to let pappa catch up on his Z’s. And you get used to it, just like any shift worker. It’s still a privilege to get to do what we do every Saturday and I hope to keep doing for as long as possible. They’ll be wheeling me out onto the Capitol stage, when I’ve gone full Gandalf and I’ll still be dropping those bangers!
Andrei: I don't... If I have a gig or something important to do, my wife performs some kind of voodoo to patch me up, otherwise I'm no use to anyone on a Sunday... Some Monday's can be not too pretty either.
Lastly, when I send you questions in 10 years time for the Death Disco's 20th birthday, what do you reckon the music we're listening to will be?
Andrei: Complained about by all the previous generations, just the same as now!
Anton: Maybe in 20 years full body, haptic suits with all integrated midi hardware will be a thing and so instead of just standing behind static CDJs or turntables the DJ will be like some kind of modern, interpretive dancer, triggering all these weird samples and cueued up tracks. Like a cross between Kate Bush and AraabMuzik. That’d be mental!!!!
You can celebrate 10 years of Death Disco with the lads Saturday 27 May, alongside a monsterous lineup of nationals and locals. Click the image below to get amongst it:
Follow Death Disco: FACEBOOK