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Mark James: Melbourne is Trendier, More Fashion Orientated and More Music Conscious

Author: Jonty Adderley & Angie Ng
Sunday, December 2, 2001
15 years after he started his DJing career, Mark James is one of Australia's key players in the country's dance scene, not only for the strength of his DJ and production work, but also as one of Australia's leading promoters. With Future Entertainment he regularly helps bring in tours from Slinky, Godskitchen and Renaissance and will shortly be hosting Welcome 2002, John Digweed's chosen New Years Eve event, in Sydney. Mark himself will be DJing alongside Digweed, and will be presumably dropping his new single Hear Me, which achieves a UK release in January via Five AM Records. He's also like to be spinning his Pee Wee Ferris collaboration The Boost, which recently appeared on Paul Oakenfold's Underground Sound of Australia.

"Sydney's more about hussle and bustle and the rat-race, with lots of bars, pubs and tourists. Sydney also attracts loads of English and Irish which Melbourne doesn't seem to, particularly."
So Melbourne born DJ Mark James told Skrufff's Angie Ng last week as he passed through Kuala Lumpur to perform. That he believes a lack of British tourists enhances Melbourne's club scene is certainly interesting , particularly since he'll be spending New Years Eve in Sydney.

Skrufff : From your perspective as a promoter, how much have things changed in Australia post 9/11-

Mark James: "We've had a lot of cancellations especially with American DJs, such as Eddie Amador and Mike Farina. Quite a few DJs have done 'no-shows' and not jumped on planes at the last minute, so it has affected us, though I think it has affected the whole world really. Everyone is down in terms of numbers of clients by about 35% but I think it's getting better now. People are starting to realize it's time to get out and party, to forget about things."

Skrufff : You help promote Slinky, Godskitchen and Creamfields for Australia, though all three events see to book the same DJs, what are the key differences between say Creamfields and Godskitchen-

Mark James: "There's not a great deal, really, there's more difference, if you compare an American House or Renaissance Tour, but Godskitchen and Creamfields are a little bit more commercial, more upfront. Tours such as Renaissance are a little more exclusive, more clubby or, as some would say, more trendy, whereas Godskitchen would be more the 'all-in' commercial, glowstick type of event. We don't try and pigeon-hole ourselves at all, especially with these events. The events are for everyone."

Skrufff : You're from Melbourne; traditionally seen as a rival city to Sydney. . .

Mark James: "It is (laughing) though I don't know why. It's a real 'city thing'. Melbourne people think they're cool as do people from Sydney. The club scenes are very different actually. Melbourne is a little bit more boutique-style, . . ., Er, I wouldn't say boutique actually, it has larger clubs, it's trendier, more fashion orientated and more music conscious. Sydney's more about hussle and bustle and the rat-race, with lots of bars, pubs and tourists. Sydney also attracts loads of English and Irish which Melbourne doesn't seem to, particularly."

Skrufff : You've been DJing for over 15 years, when was the last time you cleared the dance floor-

Mark James: "I've never cleared the floor! Come on, what sort of a question is that to ask a DJ- It probably has happened, though I can't remember; not for a long time. But I admit I've cleaned the floor on occasion."

Skrufff : How much did Australia experience a late 80s rave scene like the UK-

Mark James: "Yeah it did. Those were my hey days (golden days) really, when I first started doing my own parties; you know, those days of smiley shirts and screaming 'Acieeed'. We also say 'Those were the days' and it'll always be 'those were the days'. Yes, I fondly remember them but those days really threw the dance scene into a slump; It was so good for awhile but then the media caught up and that really squashed it for a few years. By about 92' or 93' i