Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sunday Schooling (with Dave Stuart)

Couple of weeks ago on a Sunday saw this free little Sunday night hit the 'going-for-one-year' mark here in Sydney. Dedicated to giving up-n-coming DJs a chance to play their stuff behind the decks in a relaxed atmosphere with small but always music-loving crowd. Considering the organisers charged no cover charge at all, its quite an achievement.

Those of you who read my blog in the early days would of remembered my many Monday-reviews of the night before with often glowing reports of the new DJs who played, many of whom who have gone on to get more gigs as a direct result of playing. The Sydney DJ scene can be a hard one to crack and getting your first gig for the more techno and 'true-house' styles is not exactly easy, with a lot of already established DJs/Producers on the scene in the respective areas. So being able to say to an organiser I've already played in a club, on a proper sound system is always better received.

It also served as a good 'meet-up' for those who just couldn't resit staying in on a Sunday night but didn't want to be exposed to the generic electro/pop rubbish many venues 'aspire' to on a night like Sunday.

Selection of photos from the many Sunday School nights over the year

I talked to the man behind Sunday School, Dave Stuart, to get a deeper insight into the night and its perks;

Q: For you what was the best thing about Sunday School nights?
The best thing by far was being able to give so many great young (and a few of us 'older" djs) DJs a set playing their first set ever in a club. Playing out in a club is daunting at the best of times and the only up & comer nights for bedroom bangers seem to usually be "competition" nights. I really wanted to get away from that idea and just give people a go based on talent rather then doing it in a competitive environment, I think it makes for a much more friendly / supportive experience for all involved. My favorite quote from someone who played was; "It's like an awesome house party with a massive fu*k off sound system."

Q: Any particular nights stick in your memory?
By far the best night we've ever had was out Xmas party late last year (Check the photos), the bunker was decked out in some pretty bizarre decorations, including a 7 foot air filled Santa on a hot rod, flashing lights, and people in dressed up in some hilarious Xmas themed outfits. Being a Sunday night we usually close about 1am, but this epic night went well on until after 3am, with most of the crowd kicking on to the after party. The best things was that the bunker was packed out the whole night with one of the best crowds I'ver ever seen.

Q: What was weirdest thing you ever saw during a Sunday School night?
There's been a few Sunday's where most of the crowd is still going from Saturday night, which is always messy. But the weirdest would have to be seeing two very tall leggy trannies stack it down the infamous stairs...then perch themselves on the even more so infamous "bed", then to see one of our younger regulars attempt to chat them up. (Who could that be!?)

Q: Many of the DJs you've booked for the night have gone on to play at more club nights, any notable DJs you would like to mention?
Well the best thing I've seen from Sunday School is most of the DJs who've play gone on to many other gigs around town, many of them getting a lot of confidence & experience from playing with us first. A lot people find it pretty intimidating to make that first step...
Some notable mentions go to;
Chris Combe/facebook- Played at one of our earlier nights in August 2008, he's a really talented DJs and has become a great friend, so much so we've been running Sunday School together and will start our new project in July 2009.
George Hall - Definitely one of the best up & coming house Djs in Sydney at the moment, he's gone from playing at Sunday School onto playing more gigs around town to now running his own house night "Quiver" at one of Sydney's better venues; Favela. He's also played alongside international DJs such as Stacey Pullen & Justin Martin, as well as top locals like; Illya, Anya, & Husky.
Jamie Tek/myspace - one of the best 'young guns' with regards to outstanding taste in music and has a great knack for promotion, he's gone on to running his own night "Space Cadets" in the bunker, with a similar idea to Sunday School but targeting more of the "uni' crowd.
Jeremy Nothman - Has probably the best ear for sound from any DJ his age, he has taste in music that certainly is far beyond his young age. Its also refreshing to see a young dj play only off vinyl too!
Chris Rawlins - One of a couple of Djs who used to play out quite regularly but had a break and used Sunday School as a bit of motivation to get back into the scene. I've booked Chris a couple of times as really dig his style, he even was good enough to win the opening set at the We Love Sounds festival this year.
Fuck...I could go on for ages....so other notable mentions go to; Alex Marsh, Lachlan Ainsworth, Linda Jennsen, Sam Niall, Mitch Crosner, and apologies to anyone I've missed....too many great Djs!!!

Q: Will there more Sunday School nights in the future or do you have other plans for the night?
Well after hitting the one year mark for Sunday School, Chris and I have pulled the plug and called it a day. On the up side though, as of July we are starting another project to promote up & comers. The new night will be called "Sideways" and will be on the 4th Friday of the month, in the Bunker, 24th July being the first instalment.
Chris & I will be resident DJs, and will have one local headliner playing, as well as two new up & comers at every night. The up & comers will be given slots suitable to their style and not just thrown on to warm up as is the case at other nights. I'm really excited about the new night as will give new Djs to play alongside some great locals on a great system.

Q: You've gone on to organise more events with selection of Sydney's and Melbourne's best locals. Where can we catch you DJing or nights you will be involved with over the next month?
Well my other night Shrug is on the first Friday of the month at the civic underground, this is a great night featuring some of the best underground house & techno Djs. At the moment I've been booking DJs from Sydney & Melbourne but toying with the ideas of opening that up a little. As for my own DJing I have a busy month ahead playing at some awesome parties, for those interested;
Fri 3rd July - Shrug @ Civic underground
Fri 10th July - The [BOX] @ the bunker
Fri 17th July - Mr Meaner @ The Cave (Chinese Laundry)
Fri 24th July - Sideways @ The Bunker

For info or to send DJ demos to, visit myspace.com/davestuartmusic

Below are some of the sets from the last Sunday School which range from the moody to the tech-house, techno and the more progressive sounds, all of which are from relatively new DJs on the Sydney scene. Watch out for Dave Stuarts upcoming mix which I'll post up on the blog.

Sunday School Sets, 14-06-09 (in chronological order);
Jamie Tek warm-up
Just an assortment of new-disco cuts and some minimal-house, very similar to what I also play at Minimal Mndays on Manning Bar balcony.

Mitch Crosher
Has already being seen at some of the well-known clubs in Sydney and has quite an 'edgy'-tech-house sound. Great flow its a nice mix to get you in the mood. He'll also be an up-coming guest for Space Cadets Thursday nights.

Chris Combe
The man of the infamous techno-fist and resident of Sunday School/Sideways. Often getting the place pumping later on in the night with his rolling-techno sets, always bouncy, always danceable.

Alex Marsh (Partial recording)
After a recent club-hiatus and former Sunday School resident, Alex returns to treat us with a slightly more 'chilled' progessive-house set, unfortunately only partly recorded but none-the-less well worth having a listen too.

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