THE NEW TOUR: DJ ROD DAWSON
When preparing for an adventure abroad, it’s always best to seek the advice of an expert. DJs and other musicians would do well to follow the example of Rod Dawson. Dawson is one of the most popular Australian DJs and is currently coming into his own on a global scale as a result of this hit remix with LA based DJ Slushii titled “Volt.” The song is so popular that some of the most well-known names in the EDM world are playing it in their sets including: Skrillex, Kayzo, Jauz, Party Thieves, and others. As an artist who began as a self-starter in the Aussie music scene and has worked his career into a place of international notoriety, Rod is well equipped to describe and give tutelage to those wishing to follow his path, whether they share his land of origin or are simply seeking fans there. Every place has its own idiosyncrasies and Australia follows suit. A location so vast requires one to be as prepared as possible before undertaking. Rod Dawson possesses the street smart practical knowledge that allows one to navigate the circumstances which present themselves as only a consummate professional and veteran of the scene can.
Dawson finds the US and Australian music environment to be very comparable, although America is an overall larger one. While the musical styles are very similar, the crowds are always larger in the States. By his estimations, the Australian electronic music is always about three months ahead of America, giving Australian artists a slight edge…as well as US artists who visit. One of the most enticing attributes of Rod’s homeland is the prevalence of “super clubs.” For those who can attract and hold a large following, these venues (which hold approximately 1,500–3,000 plus patrons each) make for energetic spectacles and a hefty paycheck as well as the means to announce yourself as a major player. With years of paying his dues in somewhat smaller venues like Stockies and Filth (both in QLD), it was Dawson’s “Long Hair” tour in these super clubs which affirmed him as one of the most popular DJs in the country.
There is a unifying sense of struggle that permeates all members of the creative arts. As part of his service to his fellow artists, Rod offers his experience and recollections of these super clubs.
Family Nightclub in QLD-
“The Family is one of the first Club I ever went to as a patron so when I was booked to play there was for my own headline show it was a real milestone in my career. I performed upstairs in the main BASS music Room. This room holds an estimate of 1,500–3,000 people. It was a packed out show where I played a hectic heavy bass music set. It was one of the most underground sets I have played but as someone who had attend the club frequently, I knew what the crowd would like and really connected with them. It’s always important to remember that you bring your own style to a performance but you have to find something in common with every crowd in order to create a connection with them. They want to have a good time and be with you, they just have to trust you first. If you speak some of their language first, they’ll happily follow you on the rest of the journey.”
The Met in QLD -
“The Met is also a club I attended a lot in the past in my home city. It is rated the best club in Brisbane and has the highest capacity of any club in the city. Playing the main room was crazy for me. I played a mixture on heavy bass music and mainstream bangers. The crowd was very diverse so I played a range of different genres and bpms (beats per minute) to a packed house for a very intense show. I feel like this is a club that feeds on recognizability. They want to know the vast majority of the songs but they are interested in what you do to put your own spin on things. They like an artist who has a unique voice.”
Chinese Laundry in SYD -
“The Chinese Laundry was a club I had always dreamed of playing when I was coming up in the scene. It has the reputation of being the craziest club in AUS with its basement like feel and a crowd that is down to go hard to anything. I played a very dirty underground set here and people where losing their minds. It is a very intimate room with around 400–800 people jammed inside its tiny roof but the energy of the crowd is as powerful as any of the biggest rooms. This is one of the places that is important to play as an artist because it allows you to really experiment. The room will be with you if you can engage them but you definitely have to prove your ability. The crowd just wanted it as heavy as I could play and had people moshing and throwing down to my music. It’s a gratifying gig for a DJ, kind of like riding a wild animal.”
Helm in QLD -
“I’d been to the Helm before playing there. I think any real artist wants to check out the venue in advance. It was good because it wasn’t far from my home city. Playing there was the best of both worlds because I had my home town crowd fans and fans from the sunshine coast as well. The Helm is an awesome venue with one of the most diverse crowds. They are ready to have a good time and you just have to guide them there. The lighting rigs and visuals at this club are insane so the production value is really high at this venue. I played a mixture of top 40 mixed smoothly into bass music and the crowd loved it. I use the mic a lot at this club because they respond enthusiastically to it when you yell like a hype man at them. It’s always an amazing show at the Helm and one of my favorite venues in Australia.”
Dog and Duck in ADE
“Dog & Duck is a mental venue! Every time I go to Adelaide I have some of the best shows of my life. I have a very big and loyal fan base in South Australia and they always pack the place out to see me. I played the dirtiest bass music I have at all BPMs, even playing a lot of underground bass house which I can’t do at most shows. They’re a rowdy crowd but that’s just because they are so into it. I’ve played there at times and they’ve almost knocked over the DJ booth because they’re dancing so hard and are completely into it. When you perform at Dog & Duck you should prepare to have a good time but don’t expect it to be a calm gig.”
The Cubby House in Toowoomba
“Cubby House was one of the first full-ticketed shows in which I was a headliner. It was awesome to see how much my fan based had grown and to be sell out a ticketed show that was not near my home town. I played a very heavy mainstream dubstep set because it is what they want. I remember having the room so busy that they were scared they might have to shut down; the air-conditioning couldn’t keep up with the heat because everyone was so full of energy. I gave this place love and they gave every bit of it back to me, chanting for me to come back up even after I finished my set.” Andrew Young (Booking Agent for The Cubby House) agrees, “We had Rod play with us in Toowoomba on his Long Hair Tour and he absolutely killed it! His performance was one of our biggest turnouts crowd-wise and definitely the craziest set we’ve seen up in Toowoomba to date! I’ve been booking acts and DJing myself for two years now and I love when an artist can control a crowd like Rod. When he jumps on the microphone he goes crazy and they absolutely love it.”
These enormous clubs not only allow music lovers to experience Dawson’s abilities but also expose international artists like Shock One, an LA based Dubstep & drum & bass artist with a huge hit in the scene [Chaos theory] and LA Dubstep and Trap artist /producer Riot 10. As Dawson prepares to tour as the opening act for Slushii’s “Light It Up” tour in the states, these artists may get a chance to relate some of their insight to the scene in the states for this incredibly popular Australian DJ. The benefits of these DJs cooperating on an international basis confirms that the spirit of creativity crosses over any international boundary. Rod feels that his ability to share his knowledge to other artists about what to expect while touring Australia is just his way of enabling the relationship between music creator and music lover, creating a universal win.