•••mULti cULti •• • •
Multi Culti, founded by Thomas Von Party, A&R and head of Turbo Records, also brother of Tiga, and Sydney Native Dreems, once a part of the Bang Gang crew, is the perfect pick for this issue. Not only does the label itself totally deny genres and tight dance floor corsets, it keeps it fresh and revitalising because of just that. Its members - an evergrowing bunch of individuals, fondly calling themselves the Cult - are open-minded libertines, free-spirited nomads, multiculturalists, world travellers, cosmic sherpas, wanderers of parallel universes, wayfarers of alternative realisms, hunters of the mystic, keepers of the myths, devotees and explorers of a vision of a sound they break down as music to trip out to. Music to meditate on. Music to heal the world. Music to upgrade your DNA. Music to get your whole family dancing. Music to teach you. Music to live by. Music to die to. MUSIC TO MULTIPLY YOUR MIND… probably just the type of guys the 21st century needs to make this world a better place.
First off: Thomas, you’re from Montreal, Angus, you’re from Sydney - two cities that couldn’t be farther away from each other. How did you meet? ☯☯☯ TVP: My brother had hung out in Australia and hung out with the whole party crew that Gus was a part of. I guess everyone seemed to think we’d get along, so we linked up online and for about a year or so we were friends on iChat (I miss iChat), sharing music. So the friendship was always kind of based on taste in music. It’s surprising what a rare and special thing it is to really trust someone’s taste in music.
So because of (iChat music) it clicked? Or was it love at first sight? ☯☯☯ TVP: We’re a funny couple - very different - we compliment each other well. I tend to stick more in the realm of thinking and talking, Gus is more a man of action. There are a lot of qualities I really admire in him that I would say either I lack entirely or that don’t come so easily… He’s frighteningly energetic, a morning person (even when he hasn’t slept), he can keep things inside whereas I’m a compulsive sharer / communicator. His hair is straight. ☯☯☯ Gus: It’s definitely love. If we didn’t both share a love that we could grow upon then I don’t think we would be in this together. Loving what you do and loving sharing this with someone you love is an incredible thing… it breaks down all the barriers.
And how did the idea of doing a label together evolve? ☯☯☯ TVP: We’d both been through a long history in the music industry, me running Turbo, Gus with Bang Gang, and I think we both felt like we were ready for something new. At the same time, he’d just finished his album, I’d gotten some tracks together that I wanted to release that didn’t fit very well on Turbo and we felt we just had a good vision for a new project that felt full of potential. We wanted it to be very broad spectrum, something that could live outside the realm of record labels and big clubs, something we could get not only our DJ friends excited about, but our regular friends and even our friends’ moms into. So it started as a MILF hunting strategy. ☯☯☯ Gus: I had actually taken a couple of years away from the DJ booth. It came to a point of slight disillusion with the music scene I had gotten involved in. My earlier crew had disbanded for several reasons and I felt alone out there. To me – the music thing had come from a place of sharing, and I lost that feeling. Luckily fate brought me and Thomas together for a summer in Montreal and that sealed the deal.
How would you describe Multi Culti? What is it? It seems to be more than just a label. ☯☯☯ That means we’re doing something right. When the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and when you can glean a greater vision and ethos from something very simple. That’s what makes it a bit bigger than just a label. It comes down to the love and curiosity that we put out there, as individuals, that funnels into the brand.
Ideologically, there’s something very important at the centre, and that is a firm belief in the potential for multiculturalism. There are so many good ideas and beautiful traditions to learn from in different parts of the world, and we believe in the idea of culture as an evolving field that is enriched by cross-pollination. So in practice, the goal is to create a platform where we can spread good ideas, myths, recipes, anecdotes and other works of wisdom and humour. Hopefully those things can help people broaden their horizons and in the process learn to see and feel the commonalities which link us all together.
Is running a label over such a geographical distance at any point somewhat of a problem? Or is it helpful to not sit in the same bubble, while you detect different vibes on different continents and fuse it, making it the Multi Culti vibe? ☯☯☯ Reflecting on your experiences and being able to tap into all the information you’ve downloaded throughout life and re-upload it in an understandable and logical sense can be tricky. For us it isn’t as simple as taking vibes and fusing them - it’s about gathering yourself as a whole and programming those feelings into something cohesive for everyone to engage with. By having some geographical separation we are able to at least tap into some simple differences.
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Most labels stick to their trademark sound and stay in those tight-fitted realms while others try to exploit and push the boundaries of dance music and what’s expected to keep the crowd going which sometimes results in an overly intentional exxageration. For Multi Culti it feels more like you couldn’t care less. It feels free, light, natural. Is that due to some kind of masterplan or did that just grow? Were you fed up with the tight rules and what was going on in the electronic dance scene? ☯☯☯ We both put out a plethora of records on our individual labels which were quite eclectic in their own way - so the sense of ambition and scope in doing Multi Culti was definitely that much bigger.
We love loads of different styles of music, and as DJs a lot of the people in our crew have the knowledge and talent to play amazing, long sets, that really span a tremendous range. That’s something really important to us, and I think a much needed antidote to the boring conservatism rampant in electronic music.
Some of your releases don’t necessarily target the floor, but in the end most work at some point of the party - whether it’s an opener, a psyched-out interlude or something for the last half hour before the crowd goes home. Is reaching the dancefloor even a goal for you guys? ☯☯☯ We’ll probably never escape the dancefloor, even if we tried… However, rather than TRY to deliver peak-time bombs, we feel like it’s important to have great records for the quiet times, early hours, those special moments when minds can be blown wide open. Sounds to stick with the ethos of the label: ‘Music To Multiply Your Mind’. There’s nothing really more to it than taste. It’s a shifting thing, you just have to love the music you’re releasing. Your own decisions can often be the ones that surprise you most.
There’s different experiences and encounters in life that help to be open-minded. One thing is to just grow older. For Multi Culti it seems like it’s a mixture of traveling and living a nomadic life, having the Cult around you, a big network of artists from literally all over the globe that infuse each other with new ideas and sounds and last but not least psychonautical experiences and journeys into alternative realities. Is that an apt observation? ☯☯☯ Totally true. Whatever success we have with the project is rooted precisely in all of that. Combined, we have an AWESOME level of experience - like, truly frightening - in terms of party hours, psychedelic voyages, travels, etc. It’s not something you can fake, and it’s not something you can overestimate, it’s just real. It makes you feel better about getting older!
The Cult is getting bigger and bigger. How do you acquire new Cult members? ☯☯☯ There’s nothing to it… we just use our ears. We listen to all the demos we get. In the past it was a lot more insular – but now as the family grows we are always trusting friends and their taste and suggestions.
Any anecdotes or funny coincidences that lead to signings or collabs? ☯☯☯ TVP: I found Thomash on this little private music sharing site and Peter Power on a night when I didn’t get into Berghain on my birthday and went to Renate instead, he was playing and I was super impressed by him. ☯☯☯ Gus: Manfredas was a unique connection after a big night in Vilnius. It ended up with him being arrested for trying to steal a police car… I knew it was LOVE. Xanga & Ccolo are also native Australians with whom I’d known for some time – so all it took was a phone call and a beer at the pub…
Is there anyone you wanna work with? ☯☯☯ Definitely hope to get Mickey Moonlight out of retirement at some point, he has been a big hero for both of us.
Did it ever happen that one of your artists sent you a track he was 100% into and you’re like, “No way man, that’s too far out.”? ☯☯☯ 'Too far out’ would not have been the objection. The personality of someone like Ccolo gets close to being about as far out as you can get, but we have always seen that as a great thing.
On a side note - watch this amazing film called ‘Far Out Isn’t Far Enough’ about Tomi Ungerer.
I see, so let’s take it this way: It took me almost over 30 years to find out (and accept) that there’s no such thing as a bad instrument or a bad sound, it all depends on the way you use it, but I still know people my age that can’t stand the sound of, let’s say, a saxophone, a sitar, a classical soprano. Is there anything that gives you cold shivers and you’re like, “Nope, I don’t wanna hear that in any of our music!”? ☯☯☯ TVP: This is a dangerous thing to say, and perhaps misleading, but I don’t like Jazz. I mean, of course I LOVE a lot of music that certainly has jazzy elements and could never have existed if not for jazz, but for me hectic jazz fusion is like hell on earth. I also don’t like chordal stabs, which basically means I don’t like 50% of big house records. ☯☯☯ Gus: I LOVE JAZZ.
Ok, are there any boundaries anyway for MC, soundwise? ☯☯☯ If there are, there is hope we find a way to break them. Maybe by pairing the wrong sound with the right drug.
Did you ever have a moment that you were booked at a venue and you learned that nobody understood your sound and the promoter was expecting something completely different and you ended up playing safe house records? ☯☯☯ TVP: Nope. I feel pretty comfortable going on after just about anything, though probably the hardest thing is psytrance. ☯☯☯ Gus: I don’t own any ‘safe-house’… so that party isn’t going where Mr Promoter thought it was, and perhaps everyone is going to bed earlier than planned. Always living up to my Dj name.
You’ve been playing all over the globe, where do you think the crowd is the most open-minded, willing and expecting to cross borders, to hear something new and get lost in it? ☯☯☯ Lately we’ve really enjoyed playing in smaller market cities with closer-knit musical communities. The enthusiasm for something new and different is always strongest in these places. Probably our favourite gig recently was in Vilnius at Opium Club.
Coming back to our theme: Dropouts. There’s a certain hippiesque approach in MC. Hippies of the 21st century. Like a big community, everyone is doing stuff with each other, experimenting, and crafting. Your social media output gives me the feeling of the Cult hanging out as an open group, people coming in and out and you’re experiencing the parties together rather than just coming, playing, and leaving right after. Then there’s this psychedelic, almost new age approach in sound and vision. Would you consider yourself (modern age) hippies? ☯☯☯ TVP: My 10 year old nephew thinks I’m a hippie… he probably knows best. I’ve never really fit in too well with any group, I’m generally kind of a conflicted set of walking contradictions, but I love getting high, sprinkling cardamom on things, yoga, and value vibrational frequencies over worldly accolades, so I guess so?? ☯☯☯ Gus: I have no idea who i am. Does that make me a hippie? I hold no grudges, and have no prejudices however I also enjoy material things. I thought being a hippie meant you were supposed to grow your hair and throw away your computer, but here I am typing on it right now… And I got a haircut.
Dunno, for me all of that fits into my definition of a modern age hippie. Was there ever any moment where you woke up and were like “What am I doing here? I should have a wife, two kids, a house, a fence, a proper bank account instead!”? ☯☯☯ TVP: Yeah - today! ☯☯☯ Gus: Tomorrow maybe.
Would you agree that having some certain narcotic and psychedelic experiences help to get into the sound of yours? And if so, what would it be?
Despite the fact that our music is ‘trippy’ it’s less integral to be on drugs in order to appreciate our records than it is, say, to really appreciate some other forms of 4/4 music with a firm eye on the ‘front-row’ of the dancefloor. ☯☯☯ TVP: In terms of a cocktail, I’m a great believer that a little bit of acid goes a very long way, I like combining things in careful dosages. I’m not into ‘getting fucked.’ ☯☯☯ Gus: Drugs are for people on drugs.
Best place you’ve ever experienced? ☯☯☯ TVP: Tough question. I think Goa as a little kid was the best. In the 80s it was still really amazing there. Very free, wild, beautiful. ☯☯☯ Gus: I don’t play favourites.
Best place you could imagine? What is paradise? ☯☯☯ TVP: Paradise is a state of mind, but I imagine the best place to be in that state would be in the densest rainforest. To be buzzing in ecstasy with all that other life would be tough to beat! ☯☯☯ Gus: I feel alive in the ocean. Paradise is being able to breathe eternally underwater. It’s like being connected to the mainframe of existence. It’s electricity on tap.
Best party moment ever? ☯☯☯ TVP: Hahahaahah man… so many fun moments it’s crazy hard to call!! I’ve had some good ones at Burning Man, definitely… had a very very serious dance on acid in Goa where my dad showed up and was wrestling a cow off the dancefloor… that was pretty dope… ☯☯☯ Gus: I wish I was at that party in Goa to watch Dr Bobby wrestle that cow off the dancefloor. But as I said before there are no favourites. Each time I go out I treat it like the first. In a strange way it makes me like a wide-eyed amateur ready for anything, with anyone, all the time.
What does the perfect party look like? ☯☯☯ We can tell you what it doesn’t look like - what you THINK it looks like.
It’s probably something like a large bowl with every fruit in the world chopped up and tossed about in it with flashing lights and monkeys serving piña coladas in yard glasses.
What are the plans for Multi Culti in 2017? ☯☯☯ While we both come to terms with what we want out of life it’s hard to tell where Multi Culti will go in the future. All we know is that we will continue to put out music that we love and strive to work harder on ourselves so that we can hope to share more knowledge with our friends and families. Doing it together makes it easier and with the network of loving people around us who help along the way we would say that 2017 brings unlimited opportunities.
We’re opening a little shop in Berlin, we just made our own rolling papers, some lifestyle assistance products, and lots of other physical content for the shop. Musically - an EP for Zongamin, Nicola Cruz, and lots of music from the both of us.
Since we're fans since day one it's obvious that we talked a lot of the Cult members into delivering goodies for our Monday Mixtape section (that you should follow anyway) - in case you've missed them here's some hours of finest Multi Culti sound:
Thomas von Party & Rodion pt.I
Thomas von Party & Rodion pt.II