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5 Minutes With… Anthony Pappa

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Anthony Pappa is arguably Australia’s best known and most loved DJ. A true figurehead of the scene in his native country, he’s just as respected outside of Down Under, and now resides full-time in London, a city he’s taken to calling home for the past decade or so. During this time, he’s contributed mixes for a host of celebrated series’, with the still classic Renaissance and GU amongst them. Indeed, Pappa was the first man GU turned to for their ‘Nu Breed’ series – a true turning point for electronic music around the millennium. 

His latest endeavor, however, sees him play a pertinent role with Aussie promoters Darkbeat, a collaboration that proved the catalyst for our recent chat. Not only is Pappa a regular guest of theirs at their seismic events back home, but he’s also contributed a momentous mix to the three-disc 10 Years of Darkbeat compilation, with a track list that reads like a who’s who of contemporary house and techno. We caught up with the man himself recently to get the low down(under) on his story so far and to unearth his future plans…

I wanted to start by asking about your mix for Darkbeat. Can you talk us through the idea behind the mix?

The idea for my mix is created by the sounds that I am currently into and that I believe in. Each of the 3 cd’s have their own identity and style so as an overall package there is a wide spectrum of sounds for the listener to enjoy.

What’s your relationship like with the brand and the party? How did you first hook up with those guys?

I have been working with the Darkbeat brand for many years now and I have a very good and close working relationship with Dan. I hooked up with Darkbeat by Djing at Darkbeat events.

You’ve also mixed Cds for the likes of GU and Renaissance too. Is there a certain pressure attached to representing such esteemed labels or do you just approach it like any other mix?

I approach all of my mix cd’s in the same way no matter what the label is. It all starts with a lot of research of carefully selecting the tracks that you would like to use for the cd and listening out for those tracks and sounds that you believe will be special and as timeless as possible. Then it’s up to the record label to the best job they can to licence and clear the tracks that you ask for and then once that is done and you have your cleared list of tracks you put them together in the best possible order to create your timeless mix.

With podcasts becoming such a staple of the industry why do you think such mixes are still a worthwhile undertaking?

Doing a mix CD is something special in regards to it being a physical product as well as the amount of time and preparation from the artist, label, concepts & execution of the mix. This balanced with considered artwork tells a complete aural & visual story. A whole package compared to a digital link of a podcast.

And are you still living in Australia yourself? Do you get to play hometown gigs often? I gather it’s always great to play there?

I am still living in the UK and I do get to play hometown gigs in Melbourne a couple of times a year and it is always great and special for me to DJ in my hometown.

Have you noticed the crowd change much in recent years?

I’ve been Djing for 26 years now so change is always inevitable in regards to who attends a gig. As music is more accessible these days a wider audience can be reached, which is a positive thing. When I am performing at a gig my main notice and observation is how the crowd responds to the music I play.

About your style, it seems to have changed a lot in recent times too. Is this something you do consciously or does it just come about naturally due to you wanting to mix things up a bit?

My style has to constantly change and evolve as the music and trends also keep changing. It’s important to me to constantly evolve & move with the changes to keep things fresh and up to date.

Finally, mixes aside, what else can we expect from Mr.Pappa over the next while?

I will be in Australia throughout June touring and doing gigs to promote the Darkbeat 10th Anniversary CD. Then returning back to the UK to continue my regular schedule of gigs. Also I am working on a few studio projects producing some new tracks that will come out later in the year.

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