It’s fair to say you’ve heard the name. In fact you’ve more than likely heard the music. Whether it be propped in front of the spectacular visuals at loop bar, the dingy surrounds of Brown Alley, or the hip vibe of OneSixOne. Roughly five years ago a man started DJing that would, with a little help from his friends, rebuild a stagnant progressive scene. In fact with the Darkbeat and Substance crew, Dave Juric has risen among the swill to become one of the biggest local names in the Melbourne EDM. I haven’t really known much of Dave until mid last year, the first time hearing him I was suitably impressed. Yet another man who looks further into DJing than putting together tunes, staying true to a genre or suffocating himself in the hype or bullshit. I only do articles on characters I know follow their curricular activities or vocations with love, I love writing and would never waste my words on people that didn’t deserve them. Dave is another soul whose passion, no matter how quietly displayed, is always ever-present in his audio extractions. So from borrowing his brothers decks whilst in Europe to playing at Summadayze 2012, I celebrate Dave’s career with cake… or so be it a cake in interview form, a celebration of the life and times of one Dave Juric. So sitting down with him amongst the cafe’s of the inner east I manage to elude his barriers and extract all the dirt on being Dave Juric!
So Dave, it’s all coming to an end soon honestly from one DJ who is in the process of hanging it up, to one that has John Farnhamed twice. Where is your head at right now in terms of life and music?
To be honest it’s a really strange feeling. It was a decision made probably 6 months ago that when my girlfriend and I moved to London that I was going to stop playing. It just felt like the right time. So for a while I’ve tried to enjoy each gig as much as possible. I’m sad, but at the same time pretty excited to be moving to a new city and finish DJing on a bit of a high. When I started it was always going to be a hobby, and I’ve achieved more than I ever thought I would, so I’m content.
You’re moving to basically where most of the genre’s you play began their lives. The Hacienda in Manchester will be just up the road, Ministry of sound, Liverpool’s cream. No interest in setting up shop overseas?
No. Not at the moment at least. I’m quite happy to give it a bit of a rest for a while and pursue other interests. I’ve been playing or out clubbing every other weekend for about 8 years solid. I’m looking forward to leading a bit more of a ‘quiet life’. And checking out more Hip Hop shows in London!
How did it come to be that you started DJing and more so what events shaped your sound?
My brother Jimmy got me into it initially. He spent the money, got the turntables and a mixer and a CDJ100. I was really lucky because he went to Europe for a while and I was able to use his equipment and records and sort of teach myself how to play. I was also studying at Swinburne Uni in Hawthorn so would go to Alley Tunes every week and just pick random records that I liked. I learnt how to mix by playing progressive breaks into Chicago house into German minimal, which really made me focus on beat-matching and not really tying myself to one sound. The first big parties that I went to were James Zabiela & Infusion at Room in ’04 and the MOS Breaks tour at Metro with Kid Kenobi. From there, it was all about Sunny and later Darkbeat.
I know most DJ’s nowadays have a wide range of genres, but in terms of your progressive and house stuff, what influences formed the basis of your sound?
‘Progressive house’ was dead by the time I came of age and breaks was in full swing. So progressive for me was always a way that you played rather than a sound per se. Phil K, Nubreed and Infusion were the 3 acts/dj’s that I followed religiously around Melbourne early on. Watching Phil move from breaks to minimal and everything in between showed me that you really could do whatever you liked and I always wanted to have that flexibility as a DJ. But most of all he was dynamic. He made you want to go see him; it’s what always inspired me. And the other side of things was that I got into buying house records in a big way. Dimitri from Paris, Masters At Work, Derrick Carter and pretty much anything on Drop. It was never something I heard out, but was something I really liked listening to. It was also around ’05 that I met Rollin Connection and they had recently moved away from playing breaks to that sort of dark minimal tech sound that they championed for a few years. I was really into that sound when I first started playing in clubs. They were both a massive influence on me, not only on my sound, but also on DJing and ‘the scene’.
You’ve played some pretty crucial sets with supporting some major DJ’s, how did you feel when all this was going on? The change from regular Melbourne DJ to Melbourne support DJ in particular?
I always was really excitable (I still am in many ways). I got a massive kick out of supporting artists that I loved. I tried to meet and become friends with as many people in the scene as possible and I’ve always cherished any opportunity to play any role in a night. Be it closing a side room or opening the main room or whatever. Each DJ has a purpose and I was always happy to do my part, whatever that may be.
Musical heroes, give us two electronic DJ’s/ artists and two non electronic?
Geez that’s tough, as there’s been so many.
Phil K and James Zabiela. They had the most influence on me as a DJ because of their determination not to be pigeonholed and how much they both respect the art of DJing.
Jimi Hendrix and Dom Kennedy. Hendrix was the first artist I ever obsessed over and Dom Kennedy is a new one. He reignited my love of hip hop about 18 months ago. (Special mention to The Prodigy, Daft Punk and Led Zeppelin).
Between you and Simon Murphy, I have to admit to knowing two of the most technically gifted beat mixers the planet has seen. What would you recommend to up and coming DJ’s in terms of exercise routines. We know that before you take to the decks you usually do at least 500 sit ups. What other tips would you have for people to break out of the bedroom?
Wow, thanks! Definitely agree on Simon though. It’s all about the sit ups! Haha! Honestly, my advice would be to try and be the best mixer you can when you’re first starting out. Learn how to mix! Take the time to learn the basics. Learn how to phrase tracks. Do it by ear, not by software or key charts. They have their place, but I feel that a lot of the ‘love’ (for the lack of a better word), has left DJing. It’s about throwing 2 tracks together that you feel will work together rather than what a program is telling you will work together. It’s something that you need to focus on and constantly try to be the best you can be when you play. My favourite gigs are the ones where I walk away and feel like I mixed well.
If you’re hanging up the headphones, are you hanging up the scarves and knitwear as well?
Worst gig experience ever Vs. Best gig experience?
The worst experiences are the ones where you wait till 5am and then get told that the club is closing. It’s the nature of the beast, and it does happen. It’s not the clubs fault, it’s not the promoters fault, it just happens. But it’s the worst, because all I ever wanted to do was play tunes.
I’m going to give top 3 most fun sets in no particular order.
- Freestylers Boat Party w/ J-Slyde (2012)
- Summadayze w/ Rollin Connection (2012)
- Trust Us NYE on the rooftop at Brown Alley w/ Alam after Nick Curly (2010)
Top 10 tunes for the smashings?
Luke Chable – Tokyo (Nubreed Remix)
Stetsasonic – All That Jazz (Dimitri From Paris Remix)
Drumattic Twins – Feeling Kinda Strange (Bass Kleph & Nick Thayer Remix)
HiFi Bugs – Lydian & The Dinosaur
Royksopp – What Else Is There (Trentemoller Remix)
Infusion – Love & Imitation
PQM – Babe, I’m Going To Leave You (Phil K vs Nubreed Remix)
River Ocean ft India – Love & Happiness (Michael Cleis Remix)
James Holden – A Break In The Clouds
Leftfield – Africa Shox
What has been your favourite venue for DJing?
Brown Alley was home for me for so many years, and I knew the people there really well. The promoters, the door girls, the staff, the owner, they were all really good to me. It still feels like home when I go in there. Loop & 161 I love because of the intimacy, seeing people rave right in front of you, you get that rush that sometimes you don’t get in a big dark club.
Do you have any closing gig’s coming up?
This Sunday at New Guernica will be the ‘biggest’ gig to date and will hopefully sit in that top 3 above. Me and a very good friend of mine will be warming up for Guy J. A few months ago I sat down with Dan Banko and we tried to figure out a gig that I could warm up an international for. Guy J is the perfect artist, and I’m VERY excited. Also having the opportunity to play alongside Andrew Wowk from Sydney will be great fun. I consider him to be my Sydney counterpart. Someone who has that real passion for DJing and has an even bigger range than me. He plays everything! We’ve supported each other and traded tracks since the very start of our DJ careers. I’m really happy for how well he’s doing up there.
My final gig will be at 161 with Fluidlife with one of my favourite producers, Tom Middleton and Haciena’s very own Graeme Park. I’ll be playing a bit of a ‘classics’ set. An opportunity for me to play all the tracks I’ve loved over the years. Really looking forward to that as well. The last few parties I’ve played there have been incredibly fun.
What are your views on MASH, Dubstep and Shappelle Corby? five words please, not in sentence form…
MASH – Vintage TV; Alan Alda’s rad.
Dubstep – Like everything, CAN be GOOD.
Shappelle Corby – Not my favourite Chappelle show.
Have you got anything to say to the pundits and fans of yours before your last set?
For the love of god, dance. That’s all DJ’s want, for you to dance and enjoy yourself!
Thank people in this space:
I’ve been really appreciative for a lot of people in Melbourne for giving me chances to play and supporting me. I started to write a list of all the DJ’s, promoters and friends who have helped me over the years and it was getting ridiculous. So there’s a few I really want to thank and I’ll give a big generic thank you to everyone else haha.
Dan Banko and Darius Bassiray have been the biggest support for me over the last 5 years or so. They gave me an opportunity initially, and then kept giving me opportunities. More than that they offered advice and for the lack of a better word ‘mentored’ me during the early days.
The Clarity crew: Mark Stewart, Phil Moore, John Morcom & Ryan Quinsee. It really started here. These guys gave me the confidence that I could actually play. Some of my fondest memories of playing are from these parties.
Symphonic Tonic and Dynamic: Alex Boffa, Alam, Nat Lipton and Dave @ Room. I loved the 3 years I had running parties for up and coming DJ’s. So many fun/loose nights were had there.
Substance Crew: Simon Murphy & J-Slyde in particular. Mad love. Best new crew in Melbourne, hands down. These 2 are in my opinion the future Phil K’s and Gav Keitel’s of this town.
Finally to all the DJ’s, promoters, club owners and music fans I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with over the last 8 year, massive thanks! Keep on raving!
Last but not least my girlfriend Jess who has been incredibly supportive and patient.
So there we have it. As it is, is ever as it was. As one door closes for someone they casually open another. I’m sure that as that door closes there will be Dj’s lining up to open the door. But none of them will carry themselves with the dignity and respect earnt by Dave. I’d personally like to thank Dave for giving me the scoop on this and especially for giving me his humbed thoughts and opinions. Us here at Substance HQ wish him well in his future endeavours and hope he enjoys the transition from the decks, to the couch in the same manner he approaches everything he does…Like a Boss.
Taran M and all the Substance krew
Interview by Taran M / Photo by Kenji Eu