Listen :: The House Of Mince and Ben Drayton live mix on Spin The Bottle
March 3rd 2015
The House Of Mince’s Peter Lovertits and legendary Sydney DJ Ben Drayton joined Spin The Bottle for a mix and a chat ahead of their huge party, Lovecult 2000.
STB: Ben, you’ve been in and around the scene since 1987?
Ben: 1986 actually, 27th of April 1986, I actually have the first poster at home.
What was the event?
Ben: It was this very sad night that me and my friend Tobin, who went on to become Vanessa Wagner, started a night at a dinky little club on Crown St.
We had a couple of naked people on the poster, and so we got about 7 single men who nursed a beer each all night long waiting for the strippers to come on – instead they got to look at Tobin and I yelling… so that was great.
Fast forward to 1997 – you started off a night at Sublime, which was a fascinating little club on Pitt Street.
Ben: It was Steve and Ben’s Class Act. It was me, Steve Allkins – another huge, legendary DJ – like he was actually my inspiration. He was there a good 15 years before I ever turned up.
He and I shared a night together, and the whole idea was to play music that we loved, didn’t matter what style it was, and to attract anyone who liked the idea of that.
So there was no straight/gay, rich/poor, trendy/not trendy divide. It was just people who liked this stuff… and it was amazing fun.
Speaking of which – there was a story you had, you turned away a fairly famous Australian pop star?
Ben: Well, a good friend of mine was our door person, because it was important to us to have the people in there that we wanted to have. One night after Grease: The Musical wound up, a fleet of 10 Taragos turned up out the front and she sprung out one of them, like just leapt up to Harold, our doorman, and went “Hi, we’re here to look at the gays”. Seriously, we were like “mmm yeah thanks, come back another night.”
There was all kinds of scandal, the owner of the club was really upset, but he knew if he overrode Harold, who was a huge part of our night, Harold was saying that if you override me then “I’m leaving”.
So the owner had to just turn and go “I’m really sorry, but you’re welcome to come back any another night”.
So they got back into their Taragos and just fled. [laughs]
So now you’ve linked up together with Peter from House of Mince, how did you guys start that off?
Ben: Smoky nightclubs.
Peter: Yeah, I remember going to Sublime, I actually never went to Steve and Ben’s Class Act unfortunately…but I used to see Ben play regularly on a Saturday night at Sublime. I think you had a monthly residency?
Ben: Yeah they used to put me on with whoever was touring at the time. I was kinda like the support for that stuff as well, yeah that was fun.
Peter: I always loved Ben, and his music. And then I started doing little underground parties for a while, and I’d always ask Ben to play and he was always keen.
With The House of Mince – did you start that out of a reaction Peter, similar to Ben, by creating a party you wanted to party at?
Peter: House Of Mince started with a warehouse party that I did with Felix Warmuth, and I guess I was just sick of going to clubs. And I’m a raver from way back.
I really kinda miss that whole warehouse vibe and stuff… and Felix had a friend called Jerry who had a place, on Holland St in St Peters and that sort of just happened, and it grew and grew.
Then I started touring people that were never going come to Australia who I really wanted to see them, and thought hey, I’m just going to make this happen.
From the House of Mince parties I’ve been to, it has a unique vibe; you almost have a Berlin kind of vibe to them, would you agree with that?
Peter: I’m very inspired by what’s happening in Berlin, but I guess there’s no musical policy – its just good music. Like I’ve had guys from Mykki Blanco to Boris, it’s kind of all over the place, but it’s just all about good music and good people.
Ben: I think it’s a weird thing of being really selfish and really generous all at once, putting on the thing you really want to have and share it with everyone else. So we bond on that and we’re really stubborn.
I was talking with Peter earlier, and Ben there was this place near Wynyard called Jamison Street, Peter described it as the Berghain of Sydney?
Ben: It was an amazing looking place. It was an old warehouse, well factory, when Sydney had trams that’s where they would be maintained. So when you walked in it was double height, there was a mezzanine, there was a gantry crane, there were lights that would raise and lower out of the ceiling…there was this enormous video screen, which in the eighties…no one had ever seen such a thing.
When I was a lonely stressed out country kid I used to come out from Singleton, get on the train, and just to go out to this club. It was the only place where you felt like you had really gone out.
Like this – is a club.
The big night was Tuesdays. There were queues down the block, there were hundreds of people in there, the capacity was 1000 people and Steven Allkins and Robert Rasic used to DJ at that one – it was fantastic.
I can’t even think of a Tuesday event that happens in Sydney.
Ben: I know it blows my mind looking back, I can’t imagine such a thing – but it was by far their biggest night that club had.
Talking about partying now, and you’ve got a few events coming up…Lovecult 2000? What’s the background behind it?
Ben: Everything we’ve just said – on steroids. Just the party we really wanted to have. [laughs]
Peter: It’s our alternative Mardi Gras party, we’re calling it “alterna queer pride”. I guess Mardi Gras failed to um…
Ignite your interest?
Peter: Yeah, they’re not really looking to please everyone in our community – it’s gone very mainstream and very commercial. I guess we’re not into that, so we’re looking to bring some great acts out and having some great DJs, which expands from MikeQ, Tama Sumo and Jason Kendig from Honey Soundsystem, so it’s quite broad.
Ben: All of whom come from different queer communities around the world.
Like that’s the thing – there’s a really strong history of the gay slash queer underground that’s existed in a lot of big cities for decades around the world, so this is like a current incarnation of it.
We’re not trying to be negative about Mardi Gras – that is its own thing. We really feel for them because they’ve got these giant halls they have to fill, so they have to go for big name acts, but at the scale we do stuff – we can be, as I said, selfish and generous, and get people we really believe in.
I’m really looking forward to the dancers at Lovecult 2000 – I did see that Sydney Morning Herald article where you said voguing is back!
Peter: We’ve got Beige Control, otherwise known as Bhenji Ra, who’s the queen of Sydney vogue and him and his dancers are taking over the side room at The Metro – it’s called the “Throwdown” actually for Lovecult 2000 and it’s going to be really exciting!
Lovecult 2000 with Tama Sumo, Jason Kendig, MikeQ, Ben Drayton, Victoria Kim, Seymour Butz, Hip Hop Hoe, Double Duchess, Tanzer, Beige Cantrell & the House of Rā, Agt Cleave, Gang of She.
Saturday 7th of March, 21:00 – 06:00
Metro Theatre, 624 George St; Sydney, NSW 2000
Tix $70 + booking fee here