RIP DJ Mehdi
September 14th 2011
Nick La Rosa
The sad news that French DJ, producer and musician DJ Mehdi passed away last night after an accident in his Paris home has devastated fans worldwide. Here at FBi we were lucky enough to have Mehdi play at one of our Afterparty club nights at Spectrum way back in 2006. He packed it out, played for nothing and was just generally an absolute legend.
The ever eloquent Levins, who played his very last show on FBi last night with the Ro Sham Bo crew, wrote this sweet note on his smokin' blog. RIP Mehdi. RIP Ro Sham Bo! So many emotions right now…
"I had a really nostalgic day today. Ro Sham Bo, my DJ crew with Jimmy Sing, Toni Toni Lee and Moriarty is ‘retiring’ after 5 years together and today we had our last ever radio show. We ran through so many of our classic club tunes from 2006 onwards, laughing as we reminisced. It was an amazing evening, and I was gonna write a corny little history of Ro Sham Bo when I got home tonight.
In the cab, about five minutes from home, Twitter started lighting up with the terrible news that DJ Mehdi had died. I didn’t want to believe it but sadly it was true. It was an eerie and tragic way to end such a nostalgic day.
I put on Mehdi’s first ever Australian DJ show in 2006. I was 21 and I think he was the first international artist I ever promoted. It was just a little before the Ed Banger explosion of 2007 and I wasn’t sure what kind of stuff Mehdi would play. I was familiar with his hip hop productions but I had also just been given a promo copy of his more electro-tinged album Lucky Boy.
My friend Jon and I stayed up all night and picked him up from the airport at 5am. I remember being nervous about what we should do with him all day before the show. I remember putting on Notorious B.I.G. and hearing him rap along to every single word from the back seat. Then I remember rapping along too, muting myself whenever Biggie said ‘nigga’ so as not to offend. Hahaha.
Mehdi was a really sweet guy, surprisingly eager to chat and hang out with two nerdy youngsters. I remember the only tense moment was when Jon insisted that the European raised Mehdi wore his seatbelt for the drive but Mehdi caved pretty quickly on that tough issue.
The show that night? Amazing. We packed out Spectrum on Oxford St and Linda Marigliano did a great job warming up the crowd before Mehdi jumped behind the decks for his set. It was such an inspiring couple of hours. Mehdi mixed so many different genres of music but made them all fit together so well. Every mix was seamless and he looked like he was having more fun than anyone else in the club while he was DJing. He was drenched with sweat within his first three songs. He is one of the few DJs I’ve ever seen that really DJ’d with soul.
Mehdi was still in town the next night and asked what there was to do. I had a Ro Sham Bo party that night and he decided to play that too, playing another fantastic, completely different set. Keep in mind that he brought the same CD wallet and vinyl to both shows, he didn’t burn anything new! I feel guilty admitting this, but the fee we paid Mehdi for that second party was $50!
Mehdi returned to Australia with different promoters and festivals some 6 times over the next five years. Every time he was here we would cross paths, and if we didn’t, I would hear from someone else who had seen him that he passed on his regards and promised we would see each other next time. With each conversation he would bring up all the people he had met at those first two shows with me and would ask how each of them were doing.