Rave On...with JADE
Jade, a well loved local DJ from the early 90′s is still loving living in Sydney. She was well known for her morning anthems sets that brought a smile to many of our faces and mixed at some of the biggest and best rave parties in Australia. Currently she is working as a graphic designer, learning the ukulele and swing or tap dancing up a storm 3-4 nights a week.
Mandy V asked her a few questions especially for Sydney Rave History.
Fav Party That I went to: Happy Valley 1. That I played at: FOD 4
Fav Venue The film studio in Alexandria where we held the first Space Cadet party
Fav Genre Early 90’s piano house classics – although I was more known for playing “Hi-NRG” (Italian/Euro vocal techno).
Fav DJ In my raver days: Ming D (he inspired me to become a ‘morning DJ’); During my DJ career: I always admired Pee Wee’s technical skills.
How did you get into the scene?
I moved to Sydney in 1991 from NZ and soon after discovered the then very ‘word-of-mouth’ raves that were happening around the place. My first proper rave was “Love is Back” in June of 1991 (from memory held in a film studio near McMahons Point). They had the first laser I had ever seen, played lots of Indie and House music (I remember hearing the likes of KLF and The Farm), had a chill out room with a couple of old mattresses and were handing out free ‘Funny Face’ ice blocks which I thought was the coolest thing ever! Needless to say, a raver was born and at least 3 nights a week were dedicated to attending the many club nights and warehouse parties.
When and how did you start DJing?
Around the beginning of ’93 I moved into a share house with a friend and DJ Fenix. At the time I was into the Madchester/Indie scene and was surprised at the lack of vinyl DJ’s and beatmixing at those parties. As I had access to decks at home, I decided to prove that it was possible to mix Indie music on vinyl and that’s where it started. One of my first gigs was at an Indie night called “Bang” at Club 77. Living with a DJ meant I started going to some raves again, and after hearing an amazing song being played by DJ Tru-Story at a recovery party at O’Malley’s in King’s Cross one Sunday, I bought my first ever rave 12” (it was “Nothing is Forever”).
When did you get your first big break mixing at a rave?
Soon after I started working at Central Station Records and my vinyl collection grew at a rapid rate, so with lots of practice, I started playing at small parties put on by a group of us calling ourselves the “Merry Pranksters”. Being involved with promoting was the best way to get gigs, gain much needed experience, and get known within the scene. Being a chick obviously helped a lot also, as there were very few female DJ’s around at that time, and not really any in the rave scene.
What style were your sets?
The main reason I started DJing was so I could play the kind of music that I loved when I was a raver – ie. the house piano anthems of ’91. As the rave scene evolved, the music got faster and harder, so I had to progress to Hi-NRG and then eventually Happy Hardcore to keep up (although usually a Happy Hard cover of those early house tracks), but around ’95 I realised that that wasn’t where I wanted to be musically, so I started playing more House parties and eventually moved into the house/club scene completely, save for a few ‘Anthem’ parties.
Do you still do any gigs now? Do you still have your vinyl?
I officially retired from DJing in 2012. Partially because I didn’t like the direction club music was heading in (at the time Electro/Dub Step), partially because my own music tastes were moving away from dance music, and mostly because I am and always will be a vinyl DJ, and didn’t want to take the next step to mixing CD’s or MP3s. I still have most of my vinyl (got rid of a lot of the Happy Hard stuff as it was never really me) and can’t ever imagine parting with my collection. To me music is just like photographs – each track holds a particular memory.
What is your best moment whilst DJing and going out during the 90s. Was there a highlight that sticks out?
I don’t really remember much from the parties I was DJing at during the 90’s as I was usually playing morning sets, so either wouldn’t get there till very late, or would sleep in the car most of the night, then get up and play. One of the highlights from my career though was playing Bondi Beach on Christmas Day 1993 to 30,00 drunk backpackers.
What do you listen to now?
My passion in life is music, and my whole life has revolved around it, including a ten year career in music retail, so needless to say I have very eclectic tastes in music. I can’t listen to old school rave music at all, purely because I have heard those songs way too many times, but still love the early house classics and indie/Britpop has always been a constant. I find it quite interesting that the last mix I ever recorded was “Deep & Funky Vol. 2 – On a Swing Vibe” which was a collection of house remixes of swing songs. Interesting, because I am now heavily involved in the Swing Dance scene, so was obviously being drawn to that style of music. My favourite genre at the moment is Electro Swing.
Any funny stories you can tell us about DJing or going to parties in general in the 90s?
My funniest DJ story was playing a gig at a party in the city, wearing a white bra under a loose knit top, not realising that for the whole set I was lit only by a ‘black light’ above me so all people could see was a glowing bra.
Thanks Jade for taking the time out to answer some questions for sydneyravehistory.com, very much appreciated.
Check out Jade’s legendary mix tapes to download from the mixtape section here.