Ever since a fateful night back in '05, when two naked lesbian strippers, dripping in whipped cream and hot wax, engaged in a hardcore bedroom act on the bar top of an old Sydney strip club, Bang Gang have been the lords of dancefloor hedonism Down Under. Inspired by the madness, six bored kids — DJ Ajax, Dangerous Dan, DJ Damage, Double Nolan, Jaime Doom and Gus Da Hoodrat — started their own party night in an ingenious attempt to score free booze (50 to 60 free drinks cards per night!), and it miraculously turned into Sydney's most popular electronic enterprise, influencing a whole generation of brightly dressed young kids to get wasted and dance like spazzes to the latest post-punk/electro/disco/kitchen-sink mash-ups rocking the world. From regular club nights to their own record label (Bang Gang 12-Inches) and critically praised mix CDs (their latest Light Sound Dance just hit shelves in Australia), Bang Gang has since become a name synonymous with dancefloor ingenuity as much as good-time decadence.
“It's been amazing, a lot of leaps and bounds,” says Bang Gang-er Gus Da Hoodrat about the crew's evolution. “We started Bang Gang 'cause we were tired of sitting in a pub and wondering what to do with our nights. Now everyone in the crew has their own production jobs, and we've had to make the parties a special monthly affair. Bang Gang as a party is now just a celebration of friends, and Bang Gang as a DJ entity is more just five or six idiots all fighting over one record player. There was a lot of experimentation with it in the beginning. Sex, drugs, music — everything was wild and constantly shifting, but slowly it's solidified into something more professional. Now with the record label and our mixes, we're looking to take over the world.”
Located in the inner-Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst, a place where kids wear tight pants and drink the cheapest beer, Spank! Records is Gus's store of choice. And when he calls it his second home, he's not kidding. When Remix arrived, he was hunched over the counter, taking pokes at a plate of homemade rogan josh.
“There's always a good vibe in here,” Gus says. “Mark Murphy, who's the face out in the store, has been running this place for a long time, and he's a big name in the electronic music community in Australia. There aren't many places like it in Sydney, and I mean in the sense of something like Rough Trade in Notting Hill, where you go in and the walls are this much thicker from all the concert posters and stickers that have been plastered on there since the '60s. To me, Spank has that kinda vibe. Every time you drop by, you bump into friends, you chat, and you learn something new from people whose opinion you respect. I started buying records here when the shop was coffin-sized, and I feel at home here now. I eat lunch and dinner here; I use their bathroom. I even operate the till and ring up my own purchases!”
The Bag Raiders EP (Bang Gang 12-Inches)
I did this with two other friends of mine. I guess I picked it up ‘cause it's on our record label, so I better like it! The best way to describe it is “adventure house music” or “modern music for modern dimensioneers of the dancefloor.” Every time I DJ, I play every song off this. You gotta like the music that you're making; you gotta wanna put it out on the dancefloor.
BURAKA SOM SISTEMA
These guys are superpop stars in Portugal, but the girl who raps for them is from Angola, and she's really fucking young, like 15 or 16 or 17. They've been classified as kuduro, which is an Angolan style of music, and Diplo has been pushing their sound like crazy lately. Anyway, the label Modular just signed this band. It's one of their first assaults on world music. Next, they'll be getting Philip Glass to record a soundtrack to their next world trip. [Laughs.]
“System Breakdown/Wet ‘N’ Wild” (Cutters)
When we originally started doing our Bang Gang parties in 2004, K.I.M. (also from The Presets) was a really good friend of ours, and he gave us this song to play. “System Breakdown” is kinda like the electronic shout-out song, and there's a shout-out to everyone involved in the electronic music scene in Australia. It's like saying hello to all our friends and peers. We used to play it at our parties, cut out the vocals and sorta freestyle into the mic. It's a lot of fun.
Mature Macho Machine (Counterfeet)
You wouldn't expect these Euro dudes to make this kinda stuff, since it's very ghetto driven, very Baltimore, but it's really good. There are four tracks on it, and the four tracks are completely different, meaning you could play them all at a club and cover different areas without sounding too monotonous. Also, I love the artwork. The lady's young on one side and old on the other. You could flip that for hours and just watch her age change.
Shadow Dancer (Boys Noize)
This is music that's too hard for its own good, although it's still awesome. I was just reading about Alexander Ridha the other day. He's about 24, owns this amazing record label in Germany, calls himself Boys Noize. He discovered these French guys, Shadow Dancer, through MySpace. They just sent him some stuff and it was one of those cool Web connections. It sounds a bit like old Mr. Oizo — really noisy and very chopped up.
“Smoke Screen (The Glimmers Beyond the Smoke Edit)” (DFA)
The Glimmers have made this cut really fun, like a percussive thing. It's one of those funky-punk records that lasts for about 10 minutes and doesn't really go anywhere, but you can just groove to the bass line forever. There are some really good cuts going around right now by these proper groovers, and they just re-edit old disco songs and extend them so you can mix them in. I really love that stuff. So many people these days just play slamming music. I've noticed that since we first started DJing, the music's just been getting harder and harder, and now everyone's playing stuff that just hurts your ears.
“Organ Grinder” (Dubsided)
Fidget's really exploded in the last two years or so. Switch has been doing it for ages, but it's gotten very popular recently. It's just very choppy and stuttery and almost depressing at times. This is an amazing track though 'cause they've chopped up DJ Shadow's “Organ Donor.” It's originally a Giorgio Moroder track anyway, and they've just re-chopped it into a house sense. It's really cool to drop in a club where you have all these old-school hip-hop dudes. They hear it come on, and straight away they're like, “Ooh, ‘Organ Donor’ remix!”
“Lower State of Consciousness (Justice Remix)” (Turbo)
It's a sly reference to Josh Wink's epic acid hit, “Higher State of Consciousness.” Basically, it sounds like a fax machine with a bass kick. It's seriously fucking noisy and blows your head off. But the Justice remix is supercool. It's kinda like a fax machine in a disco hanging out with an '80s covers band doing the electric boogaloo.