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Pappa's Balancing Act

Author: Mark Burton
Thursday, July 22, 2004
This Saturday will see Melbourne's most famous dance-music exile returning to promote the latest offering in the critically acclaimed Balance series. The last time Anthony Pappa was in town was on his 30th & Sunny's 6th birthday back in November, a night he remembers fondly. "It was amazing, I loved it! It was a really good gig. It was at The Palace which is a fantastic venue, which I haven't played at for years, I love that venue. The crowd was great, it was busy, I played a 4 hour set and I loved every minute of it. It was a really good gig!" And there was even a chorus or two of Happy Birthday- "Yeah…it was cool! I really didn't expect that from the was perfect!"

Having mixed compilations for the likes of Renaissance and Global Underground, on the 10th anniversary of his departure to the UK, who better to 'come home' and mix Balance 6- "The reason I've done the Balance one was because it's an Australian series which I really believe in. Being an Aussie DJ, it's something that I wanted to do for them and the Australian scene." In fact it was something he'd wanted to do for a while. "We kind of asked each other. They wanted me to do one and I really wanted to do it. I actually wanted it to happen as far back as after Phil K did his one, which is probably a good year ago. They said 'well look we'd love you to do one; we're actually doing a James Holden one' so we kind of scheduled it after that."

How does Anthony compare this release to his previous compilations- "The first major difference would be that one CD is completely breakbeat. Compared to my other mix CDs, there's been some breakbeat tracks on some of the mixs, but there's never been a complete disc like that. So that was something that I also wanted to do because I'm into breakbeat tracks, and I've wanted to mix a complete breaks CD. This was the perfect one for me to do it on because the breakbeat scene in Melbourne is probably stronger than anywhere else in the world. So I thought 'Well this is perfect. I get to do the CD that I want to do, how I want to do it.' And being a double CD I can do one disc that way and another disc with a house, kind of 4/4 vibe." When I suggest Disc one's almost an ambient offering of breaks, Pappa agrees. "I mean when I play breaks in a club set I tend to play a bit harder but I wanted this to be more of a listening experience as well. I don't want to say the words Northern Exposure but I'm kind of using that as a slight reference. I had that in mind for the ambience of the breaks side. So I deliberately set out to keep it a bit more chilled 'cause I wanted it to be something that people can listen to at home as a listening thing and not be too intrusive and too heavy… I thought the second disc can be a more clubby vibe"

So how did he go about sourcing material- "Once I know I'm gonna be making the CD and I've got a date to work towards, I just get in touch with every label, producer, DJ from around the world and I request them to send me music for my new album. Over the course of a month I got so much stuff…(laughs)… maybe 1,000 to 2,000 tracks to listen to! Once it arrived I just had to spend as much time as it took going through it all to try and pick out the tracks I wanted to use." This in itself would take mere mortals years to do… "It's hard yeah it really is! For me getting the right album depends on the tracks and music that you're sent. I had a vision of a vibe that I just wanted to do in the back of my mind, and just listening to the tracks that you get, the kind of tracks that will sit to the piece of what I'm creating, and I just worked through it like that. There are a lot of tracks that I got which are fantastic that just weren't suitable for the album, which I've obviously kept and just taken out when I DJ! It was great! A lot of hard work, but enjoyable at the same time. It came together really nicely. I think for me personally, its one of the better if not best mix cds I've done ever 'cause I r