On Sunday just passed it was my pleasure to catch up with one of Melbourne’s rising pound for pound DJ’s and friend of Substance, DJ Alex Butler, or as he casually refers to himself as “The Alex Butler Experience”. It takes a bold and brash personality to adorn themselves with the title “Experience” and for those that don’t know him, you would simply write it off as DJ wankerism 303. But to those afforded the luxury of being in his inner circle, it’s actually more of an ironic middle finger to the conformity of what a DJ is nowadays, done with a ball’s out this is what I have, if you’re not laughing at it you should be stomping your ass off to it. So with beer in hand and recorder set to stun I set about interviewing Alex at the home of his own branded “Sunday Sessions” at the Terminus in Abottsford.
Substance: So mate how is that Tasmania came to lose you, what did you do with the second head?
Alex: I was living in Tasmania and one day got a phone call from my brother, basically telling me to pack up my shit and come over to Melbourne to party with him. So three days later I packed up my life into my car came over on the boat and was straight to Hard Kandy on the Friday night. They perform the operation to remove the third head before you get on the boat.
Substance: So you’re a real boat-person, wow you’re my first. So before you came over to Melbourne you had had your first experience in real big clubbing/ partying. Tell us about it?
Alex: Yeah I had been over here on a sporting trip to Melbourne in 2003 and was pretty buggered and after thirteen days of games. On the Friday night my brother said “Fuck it, I’m taking you partying”. So we hop into his car and after about half an hour of driving I asked where we were going. I found out we were going to a party, at a castle in the middle of nowhere. Was a bit shocked and had no idea what I was in for. Got to the front of the castle and I was amazed, I hadn’t seen ravers or set foot in a proper club before and there’s Kryal Castle done up to a T, I was amazed. I met Scott Alert back stage and when the night was done there was no looking back, I spent every Friday at Hard Kandy for the next three to four years.
Substance: When you first started getting into the scene did you know that you wanted to be a DJ/ Producer. Asking because you have been in the scene for awhile its only the last few years we’ve seen you really step up to the plate?
Alex: Nah, wasn’t like I wanted to get into DJing immediately I just liked to head out and party. I had a few friends that showed me the ropes, mixing wise and producing. It wasn’t until about 2006 that I started getting into the tunes, bought some decks and gave it a crack.
Substance: So you started playing electro house and Trance with Kandy at the start of your career and you’ve definitely headed into a more bushy sound, what are you preferring to play at the moment, What’s the Alex experience offering listeners at the moment and where is it heading?
Alex: I’m playing a hybrid of prog trance with definitely a more psy sound. It’s a universal sound, crosses over but it’s definitely got a tough feel to it. On the flip side I do like to get down and dirty and have a bit of fun playing electro house still. I’m definitely pushing the prog psy as my definitive sound though. I’m starting to produce tunes in this vein so that’s where it’s all heading.
Substance: Worst gig experience? If you had five robotic dancing chickens would that have helped the gig?
Alex: I ran an after party for a Substance, nothing worked, it was at Pony, which was a miss-booking in terms of a venue, we were heckled by people that saw us play there the last week, even though that was our first night. At the end of the gig we grabbed our shit and we broke out.
Substance: How important is the crew that you hang with n the EDM?
The support from the guys around in the early days, like the Substance crew was important. More so now my mates like Simon Murphy and Jordz have given me the avenues to get the gigs I’m getting. It’s great to have mates around me doing this cause the main reason I started this was to have fun with my mates.
Substance: Tell me about the beach party you and Simon destroyed New year? By all reports it was just a docile little affair until you and Simon got on and fucked shit up, is it true you laced the water with stimulants?
It was a docile party to begin with and was pretty tame during the day lots of people sitting back relaxing , the sun went down, we started bashing out the prog psy and shit got loose, started rocking it. I wish we could afford to lace water with drugs, unfortunately we are not that rich.
Substance: Use the words “Mint”, “Fresh” and “slapper” to describe the average situation behind the decks:
Alex: (Laughs) I’d like to think the tunes I play are pretty fresh, I like looking out at the mint chicks on the dance floor until the lights come on and they’re all slappers.
Substance: What is the one artist and or event you would give your left nut for a gig at?
Alex: Rainbow Serpent Open or straight after Neelix, market stage… Go hard or go home!
Substance: You’re really into Neelix?
Alex: Yeah he got me into that prog sound, everytime i see him play he never disappoints, he steered my sound towards a more rounded prog sound, definitely diverted my attention from hard trance.
Substance: So we’re at Sunday Sessions at the Terminus which you run with Simon, what is this all about? Is this the Dr. Jekyll to your Mr. Hyde?
Alex: This is more just for us to have an outlet to hang with our mates, play some chill out hip hop. We just thought it would be a nice change of pace to cross fade some tunes and enjoy a beer garden with a mean parma.
Substance: What’s the biggest problem that the Melbourne EDM is facing and don’t say clubstep!
Alex: I would definitely say it’s the stigma that some venues still have to partying, more so a throwback to the damage caused by bad crowds and negatively geared press towards the EDM as a whole. Liquor licensing and councils are slowly become more of a problem for venues.
Substance: Whore yourself again, Where are you playing next? What are you upto?
Alex: I’m playing an electro gig at Hard Kandy, with “The freak” Daniel Johnston going bananas on some tough electro. Then there’s a party coming up in a couple of weeks, ill post it underneath the article…. I’m also playing a two hour prog set down in the Otways in March, that’s going to be a good little doof.