One of Australia's best electro and techno DJs shows her range.
Andy Garvey is one of Australia's most respected DJs, but it didn't happen overnight. Over the years, the endlessly driven Sydney resident has woven herself into the fabric of the local scene, whether it's championing Aussie music on the airwaves at FBi Radio or triple j, hosting parties and workshops with her crew Nectar, or enthralling audiences at clubs and festivals around the country with her refined style of electro, techno and experimental electronics. She's one of those locals who routinely astonishes even her most regular fans, establishing a reputation for bringing something fresh and exciting to every gig she plays. 2019 was a defining year for Garvey with the launch of her record label Pure Space, the release of her debut EP on Lobster Theremin and her first tour of Europe and the UK. Leading into a new decade, she looks set to spread that influence globally, advocating for the music from her home.
In her RA Podcast, Garvey takes the opportunity to demonstrate her range. The melancholic opener makes way for oddball beats and spaced-out joints, acid heaters, slamming techno and breakbeat workouts, all with a generous dose of Australian talent.
Watch RA's Real Scenes: Sydney documentary to learn more about Garvey and the Sydney scene.
What have you been up to recently?
Before we get into this I would like to acknowledge that all of the work I undertake happens on stolen land. I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation and their Elders past, present, and emerging.
Right now I am hanging out in Sydney and on my first break from playing shows in what feels like an eternity. Luckily finding time to hang out with my family and friends, work on my label Pure Space and spending time in the studio regularly.
I am currently on a deep explore through the archives of many Australian labels that were active through the '90s and am dreaming about doing some reissues… A long and slow process of course but here's hoping that I can make something happen. The artist and events agency that am a cofounder of, NECTAR, hosted DJ Marfox a few weekends ago. I think it was one of our most joyful parties to date. We have two really big shows next month—one collaborating with Astral People to present Objekt and the other with object blue and DJ Haram in collaboration with another collective called third space. NECTAR feels like we're about to really blossom in 2020, there are a lot of exciting conversations on the go.
How and where was the mix recorded?
I recorded this mix at home on some older CDJ900s, some Technics 1200s, my little DJM350 (that is the best, it records direct to USB!) and a single KRK speaker that's so close to the end of its life. I initially tried recording this mix at a radio studio called Nomad which has a more technical setup but I found everything a little too crisp so had to take it all back to the comfort of my home. Maybe I was overthinking it, who knows!
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
To me this feels like a really honest representation of my current sound as a DJ and the music I am exploring. There are a lot of Aussie artists that appear too; Ewan Jansen to open the mix, Rings Around Saturn (a sneak peek of the next Pure Space release), Roy Mills, Reptant, a Sleep D throwback that I could not resist, plus Mosam Howieson's forthcoming Pure Space release.
It's really natural for me to include a lot of Australian music in my DJ sets as it is also so prevalent in my weekly radio show Pure Space on FBi Radio. The station has a music policy of 50 percent Australian music and 25 percent from Sydney, so supporting and collecting Australian music is in my blood now that I have been on air for six-ish years.
2019 was a significant year for you, especially with the launch of your label and release of your debut EP. How did it feel to take those important career steps?
I'll speak about the label first, this is something that I have truly wanted to do since I left high school. I have a vivid memory of my mother asking what I wanted to do when I was finishing year 12 at school and I showed her the Future Classic website and told her I wanted to do something like these guys are doing.
That was almost a decade ago now. I was lucky enough to intern with them and worked there for a little over two years. I learned so much and am still so inspired by what they have achieved from such simple beginnings. When I left Future Classic I launched Pure Space as a weekly show on FBi Radio with the understanding that I would build the brand into a label when the time was right… Fast forward three years and that was the launch of the label. I guess I pride myself in trying to be as considered as possible, to not rush things and let them come naturally.
Now, production. I first downloaded Ableton Live in 2011, but found the software quite confusing. I also had next to no musical understanding or any friends making music in that way, so it went nowhere for quite some time. Around three years ago I decided to get my head around everything. I had a lot of fun collaborations that taught me a lot about process and synthesis. I was also DJing much more at this time and was learning piano so I was able to resonate with particular genres and sounds—it was a much more considered approach to the idea of producing music.
It was only when I stopped playing shows this month that I could take the time to reflect on what a crazy year 2019 was. Releasing my debut record and starting a record label in the same year was really wild but also felt really natural as I had been working on both of those projects for so long. I am really proud of my slow and steady journey.
How are you feeling about Australia's music scene right now?
It's been an incredibly tough summer in Australia due to the widespread bushfires and now the floods and cyclones. The natural disasters feel constant at the moment and they have impacted every Australian in some way.
For the music industry we had countless festivals and bush doofs cancelled over the usually stacked summer season because of fire hazards. I look toward next summer and wonder what it will look like… Never have I had to request a festival's fire plan before this summer, but sadly I wonder if that will become the new norm. Following the fire disaster came some light though. There were so many inventive and engaging fundraising initiatives and benefits thrown by artists and promoters from across the industry. I think this has given strength to the community knowing that we are united and ready to support anyone and everyone affected. Right now there are so many amazing artists in Australia and I think the women are really at the forefront of the scene. Shout out to C.FRIM, DAWs, Dameeeela, DJ Scorpion, DJ Mum, IV Drip, Jennifer Loveless, Makeda, Merph, Mija Healey, Millu, Natalia, Nat James, Pjenne, Ptwiggs, Roza Terenzi and third space.
There are also some amazing local initiatives that have helped that happen. FBi's Dance Class is a program run to elevate and fast-track the career paths of female identifying DJs. This program launched artists such as Lauren Hansom, Ebony Boadu, AK Sports and third space. I think it's an exciting time to be an up-and-coming artist in this country at the moment, there are lots of opportunities and spaces to be creative in.
What are you up to next?
Lots on again in 2020… Pure Space will be releasing Jennifer Loveless' release this Friday, the Rings Around Saturn 12-inch will come late April and then iota after that. We will be doing a Pure Space Australian national tour in May, when Rings Around Saturn and I will be heading around the country together.
I'll be heading to Europe again in June and will base myself in Berlin for some time. I am really excited to enjoy the ease of touring that side of the world, and I've some exciting shows already locked in too.
My next release will be out next month on Lobster Theremin; it's titled Complex Clarity. The release is a collection of music produced between 2016 and 2019, so encapsulating the real journey of my growth as a producer. Then I will release another 12-inch on X-KALAY, hopefully just before I land in Berlin!