TRIBUTE: Ajax 1971 – 2013

djajax

On the 28th of February Brisbane’s Bowler Bar hosted a pioneer, tastemaker and ‘Dance Legend’. AJAX, aka. ADRIAN THOMAS took to the stage and spun tracks the punters knew and loved with style, displaying why he’d had such a successful DJ career. It would be his last ever performance.

Australia was shocked and saddened to wake up to the news on March 1st that our beloved mate had sadly passed away. We at Purple Sneakers greatly admired him for his contributions to electronic music as a solo DJ/Producer, BANG GANG DJs member and SWEAT IT OUT records label head.

He graced the stage of our clubs countless times and shared many festival lineups with Purple Sneakers DJs over the years.

Adrian was a close friend to our community. In tribute we are going to take you though our favourite of his tracks & mixtapes as well as share some memories from various PURPLE SNEAKERS contributors.

Let’s remember how he inspired so many of us.

DANCE TILL DAWN 2007 MIXTAPE

AJAX’s nickname in the early nineties was Thommo. However as a school teacher he felt ‘Thommo’ wasn’t “acid house” enough. A sudden change of heart about one’s career is relatively common among young uni students, and he took the ultimate plunge when he threw away his chalk and tie to pursue a career in music.

This particular mix shows what he was most known for. ‘Dance Till Dawn’ mashes together some great hip-hop with crazy dance rhythms. It’s quintessential Adrian – fun, energetic and hip as shit.

ADELE – ROLLING IN THE DEEP (AJAX REMIX)

ADELE’s ‘Rolling In The Deep’ already had all the emotion it could handle, so he just made it fun. Adrian produced many wonderful remixes in his time, but this jungle inspired remix was one that caught a lot of attention.

NORTHBROOK – MOVE YOUR BODY (AJAX REMIX)

His performances were always entertaining and he never failed to capture the attention of the entire crowd. Many successful acts today owe him credit for inspiring them to travel down the DJ garden path. Our very own website contributor TONY KINGSTON is one of those.

“AJAX was a true taste-maker when it came to DJing. After he passed away people were immediately talking about the songs they grew up listening to because Adrian used to play them. In his performances he always showed incredible passion and was always ‘sweating out’ his amazing energy.

I remember seeing AJAX play before THE PRESETS at Splendour In The Grass in 2006, just before they got really popular. The atmosphere during that set was so intense. Everyone was so excited, especially Adrian.

It’s safe to say that Adrian was my hero. Even though I never got the chance to meet him he was a part of some of the best times I’ve ever had in my life and I’m so thankful for that.”

YOLANDA BE COOL – LOVE KEEPS (AJAX REMIX)

Sweat It Out Music was Adrian’s brain child with artists such as YOLANDA BE COOL, PARACHUTE YOUTH, and WHAT SO NOT all signed to the label since it’s humble beginnings in 2008.

The label released a statement the day the news of his passing broke:

“We remember Adrian as a person who was loved by everyone, a person who was regularly described as the ‘nicest guy in dance music’ or the ‘reason I got into dance music’, a person who made time for every single fan in every club he ever played, a person who gave his unconditional support and encouragement to artists on his label and a person who was smart, funny and extremely generous.”

LUMI – TASTE OF LIFE (AJAX REMIX)

Jessica Holton, a contributor for Purple Sneakers, feels the same as many who had experienced an AJAX performance.

“AJAX was the pioneer of my love affair with all forms of house music and for that deliciously sordid time when the sun sets in Sydney. Under the cover of darkness, we would flock to dim lit quarters to bask in the divine decadence we had come to know so well as Bang Gang. Without him, I don’t think we would be as bound together as a collective of people who love this form of music and the debauchery it brings. So thank you, everyone already misses you.”

MIDNIGHT JUGGERNAUTS – SHADOWS (AJAX REMIX)

With Adrian’s career soaring in 2013, it’s tragic that he was taken away so swiftly.

We will all miss you, buddy.

Words by Lauren Payne

FLASHBACK ON THE CAREERS OF MORE INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS HERE

About:

Brisbane based photographer and writer who will judge you first and foremost on your music taste. Likes mint slice and a damn good cup of coffee.