How did you get into lighting and sound?
I guess it all began at school, I volunteered to become part of the crew
that built the sets for the school plays in my first year of high school
and by the end of high school I was running the schools 2 theatres.
What was your first lighting and sound gig?
Ok you really want to know this - I can't remember the name of the venue
but it was suburban Christchurch NZ with a band who's name I will never
forget - "Busta Hymen and the Penetrators" around 82-3
What was your first significant event and how did you feel before hitting
the lighting controls?
It was 1989 and I was working for a Sydney AV company, I was sent as
system engineer with a huge PA to an abandoned warehouse in Alexandria. I
have no idea of the name of the event or what it was until the night when
2000+ Poms descended on the place from Bondi it was amazing to me the
sound of the Tin Rattling with each bass beat still to this day typifies
the original Sydney rave sound. I was hooked
Were you once a punter like other ravers or were you just part of the cogs
that organised things?
I guess I was a bit of a punter but through different events that would
pre date the rave scene in Australia. I was certainly part of the
organisational and management structure of the raves that I worked on
however I did always try and have a good time.
Clay Paky scanners were used a lot in your light shows, what was your
favourite brand of moving lights?
The choices for fixtures in those days was very slim I loved the big clay
Paky scanners because the mirror could move the beam around fast and they
were very bright.
What was your favourite type of lighting controller?
MA Technologies Scancommander
Did you put on any parties yourself and can you tell us about that?
I was the sound and lighting guy, why would I want to compete with my
customers so I didn't throw my own raves. I did promote one party and there were a number of reasons for that - Colossus 1994.
The rave scene was crumbling and there was a clampdown on the illegal
raves by the police - they had finally worked out how to shut the
warehouse parties down before they even opened their doors - We set out
to prove that even in this climate you could do a rave legally in a
Colossus was one of the biggest parties Australia has even seen, can you
tell us what inspired the pyramid design, the highs/lows of the night and
confirm if the rumour of money being stolen is true?
The pyramid design came to me in a dream, when I woke up I drew it and
that was the beginning of the idea that became Colossus It was built over
the seats at one end of Homebush sports centre to leave as much floor
space as possible for dancing. It was the biggest thing I had ever done. I
was told at the time it was the largest number of moving heads ever used
for a show in the southern hemisphere.
The biggest low came on Friday afternoon when we had a problem with three
of the Scancommanders, they all blew their power supplies up there were no
spares, we had all the controllers that were in Australia. We finally
worked out how to run them off old PC power supplies its amazing how
resourceful a few ravers can be late on Friday night when you need three
PC power supplies.
Now the money rumour - yes there was approximately $17 000.00 of ticket
money stolen by an employee of Disco City who disappeared prior to the
You were known to control the lights at most parties people went to in the
day, tell us about your favourite party and why?
Krackerjack 1 in Mascot as it was the first rave to introduce a
performance artist to the stage
Did you have any preferred venues to design lighting set ups for?
I loved the old style warehouses as the venue itself became the lighting
rig - you could light the old derelict structures as features
Who was the easiest DJ to LJ for?
Easy answer Pee Wee, Nik Fish, Jumping Jack
What were some of the things you liked least about the scene?
In the beginning it was all about the music and the scene had a truly
underground the vibe was friendly and it was a bunch of likeminded people
out for an experience, a journey of musically driven psychedelic aural and> visual experience.
How much influence did promoters have on your lighting design and what was
your take on them generally?
The lighting setups were to a major extent governed by the warehouse
itself often we did not know where the event was going to be prior to
loading the trucks so it was a bit of make it up as you went along
In retrospect do you envy the good time ravers were having when you were
working or do you look back fondly on the aesthetically pleasing lighting
designs you provided that kept large crowds partying?
I was generally positioned beside the DJ looking out to the crowd I would
often connect with them and have as much fun as them dancing and carrying
on while operating the lights
Do you still provide Lighting and Audio services to the Entertainment
Industry? If so how can companies can get in contact with you?
I sure do 11 years ago I started DJW Projects www.djwprojects.com.au
although we have followed the rave scene into the clubs and now specialise
in permanent installation for licenced venues along with hire production.
When we look back through the flyers on Sydney Rave History, other than the DJs, one name pops up again and again - Dave Coxon. He was hired by many different promoters to help 'design' the event. The lights, the sound, and lasers. Such parties as the Tribal partiers, Subzero, Night of the living Appleheads, Technology, Field of Dreams and of course - Colossus. He was a master of transforming an ordinary warehouse space into a magical wonderland for a few hours. His creations would take you to another world. Sydney Rave History's Jezza Thompson tracked him down and asked him a few questions about the early rave days in Sydney.