few weeks ago I was at a Bless show at the Foundry in Fortitude Valley. Bless is a regular monthly gig hosted and promoted by A Love Supreme (if you haven’t been you definitely should), and often features local Brisbane DJ Sampology who I happened to be watching play that night. Earlier that same week Sam had posted a short clip on Instagram from an old interview with Mike Banks, we’ll get to who he is later, and during his own live show Sam remixed a vocal clip from the interview into a song. The vocal clip said something along the lines of,
“You want to move to Berlin to do it? It’s too late. They’ve done it there. You gotta do your own shit, make your own club, play your own records. You gotta go to Warsaw Poland, or Brisbane Australia. It’s on there. They got it!”
And that’s exactly the reason I fuck so heavy with A Love Supreme.
Yes, ALS books touring DJ’s from Australia and abroad, but they primarily use in-house talent from their pool of friends and network of Brisbane creatives. Even the touring acts are relatively lowkey, and through those acts I have discovered a whole swathe of new music I otherwise wouldn’t have ever heard, and enjoyed awesome live shows for the cheap. ALS not only gives Brisbanites a platform to promote and share their music, but also a space for locals to experience the sounds of their city and socialise within an expanding scene that is open to newcomers and ever growing in diversity.
Mike Banks did a similar thing in 89’ in his hometown of Detroit, and although D-Town and Brisbane are worlds apart, the same grass roots template was applied with considerable success. Mike’s group Underground Resistance (UR) focused on the sounds of Detroit Techno as a unifying force for young black men to relate to in a period of social and economic hardship. UR was more than just the music, and while techno was what drew everyone together, the scene became a collective voice for those underrepresented members of society who desired to express themselves and to be understood. The term Detroit Techno is now widely used to describe the pedigree of early electronic music that shaped the genre and is now revered by DJ’s worldwides. DJ’s from Detroit are proud of their cultural heritage, as they well should be, and for a city that is often overlooked on the national stage of the US, Detroit’s home grown culture of Techno, Hip Hop, Jazz, and Soul is one of the most internationally regarded. They did it in their own city, in their own clubs, with their own records.
Back in Brisbane, the valley has a pretty decent selection of venues to choose from nowadays but unfortunately many of the larger clubs are owned by a single organisation and the musical selection is often criticised for its lack of variety. I imagine the ALS guys felt similarly to how I used; frustrated that I couldn’t find a venue that would play those sweet sweet boogie grooves. The Chiu Brothers, Sampology, Thirsty Paul; these guys all saw a space for themselves to do their thing and must have thought something along the lines of if we build it, they will come. From monthly gigs in a carpark in 2015 to selling out the BrightSide with Theo Parrish and Marcellus Pittman in 2018, Brisbane has turned up for ALS and accepted the collective as an integral part of the new dance music scene. My point of admiration can be summed up as this; ALS saw a culture gap and took it on themselves to fill it rather than waiting for somebody else to. They did it in their own city and as a result have sparked a cultural trend that is giving rise to other independent artists who share their vision. I’m keen for their next show and hope that 2019 is another bumper year for Brisbane dance music.
by Zach Greening, 2019