INTERVIEW: Yacht Club DJs

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We recently sat down with YACHT CLUB DJS man GAZ HARRISON to chat about their coming tour, making music and stories from the road.

With the Mayhem Tour announced, there have been a lot of dates outside the regular capital city stops, what makes you keep going back to regional areas? Why do you think most music acts only play in capital cities?

I honestly don’t know why more people don’t go to regional areas; we always have a great time and meet awesome people at nearly every one of them. Last year when we took Hunting Grounds on tour, we met a guy who gave us all 80s basketball hats for no reason at all. He had a “kid that didn’t grow up” kind of vibe and was mega excited that we’d come to play a show at his pub. I think it was in Toowoomba? The other thing I remember is the buckets of spaghetti he gave us as well. You don’t get that anywhere else.  I guess we live in the Ballarat as well, so it’s not that much of a stretch to go on these detours.

DJing is going through a massive boom at the moment, what do you think this is?

I personally think DJing has always been massive, I’ve been involved with it for over 15 years, and I’ve seen trends change and the popular genres switch around. But the actual art behind what DJs do has always had a strong following and its consistent stars of the game. I read a lot that DJing is suddenly an art form and there is a boom, but I don’t think it’s fundamentally changed at all. Well apart from more people use laptops, and don’t have to drag 8 bags of vinyl upstairs to a club like I used to. Other than that, it’s all perspective.

Your mixtape They Come Mostly At Night…Mostly is pretty full-on with all of the samples and tracks you’ve used, what made you choose so many tracks from such a wide variety of genres?

We’ve always just used the music we like. Simple as that. Sometimes we make mash ups with it, sometimes we makes edits so we can do something crazy like playing Tom Waits or Johnny Cash in a club or at a festival. Our original Idea for Yacht Club was you can dance and party to any genre of music so why should DJ sets be restricted? That idea is even more prevalent on our mix tapes, but more so, we want to present the music we love in new ways that people may not be used to, even show them things they might not have heard before.

Your live shows are known to be pretty insane, have you got anything special planned for the Mayhem Tour?

The music is the star on this tour – it’s mostly material from the new mix tape, with a couple of favorites thrown in. As for the show, we are doing a lot of small venues where we can really get close to everyone who’s there to party with us, but that doesn’t give too much space to do anything too grand. That generally doesn’t mean it won’t get wild, in our experience the smaller the room the crazier the shit that goes down.

There are many stories about the antics of Yacht Club DJs on the road, have you got any big pranks planned for this trip?

Ha! No, I don’t think we’ve ever planned any of the shenanigans. We always just cross our fingers and hope we’re alive at the end of the tour. What ever else happens can be put down to the nature of the beast.

The mash-ups with Groupie Magazine are very interesting, who initiated the idea?

It has been great so far! They definitely threw us some curves. As for who thought of it, well, it must have been someone, it definitely wasn’t me. But I’m sure glad it’s happening.

What’s your formula for creating a really awesome mash-up?

There isn’t really a formula, but it has to either make you laugh or make you dance, or make you scratch your head and go how does that work? If it doesn’t do any of those, it’s probably crap. That’s why mashups have only ever been maybe 30% of what we do, they can be really hit and miss, as much as I love them.

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There was a lot of hype surrounding your Call The Cops show with DZ Deathrays and Bleeding Knees Club last year, are there any plans to do similar shows this year?

Anything’s possible I guess, but really that started as a couple of pre-Splendour parties for old tour buddies to get back together and it kind of turned into its own monster. I don’t think I have ever been worn out after a run of shows quite like I was after Call The Cops. We literally partied for three days with no sleep, it ended on my birthday as well so I flew home and did a show with my other band, Them 9s, and then drank until midday the next day. Insane times.

After the Mayhem Tour has wrapped up, what’s on the cards for Yacht Club DJs?

Our whole year is looking pretty insane. We’re working really hard in the studio on something special. But that’s a secret, and we have a massive couple of incredible tours after this one, but where and who with is also a secret, so, you know? I could tell you. But I’d have to kill everyone that reads this. That’s too much work. It’s going to be massive though. Believe me.

Check out YACHT CLUB‘s newest mixtape, cheerfully titled ‘”Find Me A Macchiato Pronto”. It’s the perfect soundtrack to your friday night pre-party 😉

Words by Lauren Payne

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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.