TF Archives

John Course just keeps rockin

Author: Michelle Pirovich
Friday, May 30, 2003
John Course thrives on doing what he enjoys and does it well. Arguably Australia's favourite party DJ, John has kept fervent clubbers coming back time and again for the past sixteen years. Producer and Co-Owner of Vicious Vinyl, John spends his days actively promoting Australian artists here and beyond.

Vicious Vinyl was the brainchild of John Course, Andy Van and Colin Daniels. Taking shape in late 1990, the trio had produced a track of their own and upon realising its potential, Vicious was formed.

Come 1996 and Melbourne's dance scene was on the verge of explosion, genres were emerging from everywhere and an intuitive Vicious crew expanded to accommodate.

"DJs were playing techno, house and progressive by this stage so we decided that if we always wanted DJs to support us by playing our stuff, then we had to split up the genres that we released. We started Vicious Grooves which aimed to put out house and vocal disco, Vicious Vinyl was more techno orientated and Vapour Recordings for progressive."

Unlike many labels that evolve considerably over time, Vicious and in particular Vicious Grooves has remained fairly consistent.

"More stuff comes out on Vicious Grooves than any other label but I guess that's because myself and Andy like to play funky house as opposed to progressive and the harder stuff. It hasn't really changed that much, it has always had a fairly open agenda, we just figured that Vicious Grooves should consist of the music we play and that's the way it has stayed."

John's latest project 'A night out with Vicious Grooves' is an album that typifies the high quality standard that Vicious Grooves represents.

"I was looking over our vinyl release schedule for distribution through Prime in the UK (which means all of our vinyl gets out to the DJs in Europe and the UK) and noticed how good the tracks were that we had. We decided that we needed to put these tracks in a format for people who don't have turntables, and you can't do a CD single for each song as CD singles in this country are very aimed towards the commercial pop market. With all the tracks coming from our network it seemed pretty logical to do a compilation and it was basically a case of if you guys don't like it, bad luck" laughs John.

Consisting entirely of Australian artists the music in undeniably a universal sound but when writing the copy for the artwork John found himself in a slightly awkward predicament.

"When I was writing the words 'from Australia's', I actually thought… is that going to make people not buy it- It did cross my mind; it shouldn't but from a marketing point of view I wondered if that was going to hinder selling the CD."

Like it or not Australian's still have a preconceived idea that our local material is not going to be as good as that from overseas, so to his credit John provided a little bit of inside information into each track on the album.

"DJs worldwide are playing our music and that's part of the reason for putting the linear notes in. I want people to understand where the tracks are from and what has happened to them. For example Diane Charlemagne who toured with Moby, appears on the album. 'Keep Rockin' is in the top 5 of the Italian charts, 'You Give Me Everything' has been signed by 'Look at You' - the Pound Boys label and 'What's Come Over Me' is on Roger Sanchez's and Azuli's new compilation. People like to know these things when they hear a track, it builds respect for Australian music and whether you are into it or not you still say yeah cool."

After sixteen years in the business John knows only too well the pitfalls that can arise and through collaborating with other Australian labels, in this case 'Cosmetic Records' and 'Bamboo' John is hoping it will help to expose more Australian music.

"Basically we try and look at the world rather than just Melbourne. Some of our relat