What signifies a vibrant nightlife? Well, a diversified, 24 hour run city home to endless amounts of restaurants, bars and clubs would be a great start. Even before the recent lockout laws made their way to Sydney, Melbourne has been the capitol for dance music in Australia. But aside from the clubs and warehouses, Melbourne thrives in the arts and culture department. Their appreciation for the unfamiliar has made way for the success of some of the best dance clubs and weekly schedules for music events, all of which are able to draw in vastly diverse crowds night in and night out.
We spoke with Richie McNeill of Beatport and founder of Stereosonic about why Melbourne’s dance music scene is leaving Sydney in the dark. “Every major promoter and past promoter--bar a few--was and is based here: Live Nation, Coppell, Frontier/Gudinski, Paul Dainty, Hardware Corp, Future, Earthcore, Green Ant and Rainbow Serpent," McNeill told Pulse Radio. "We had King St back in the 80s and 90s and it was the home of clubbing as well as copious amounts of music labels. I remember when I was running Mushroom Dance Department, other than Itchy and Scratchy and 90% of the music was coming out of Melbourne, like PSY Harmonics, Vicious Vinyl, Azwan Transmissions, Snog, Smelly Records, Dirty House and Juice Records. Modular and Fuzzy saved Sydney’s reputation big time.
“I personally believe Sydney is a real battle. It’s a pretty postcard city, but it’s expensive and there’s lot of racial tension, culture clashes, particularly in the suburbs, traffic is tough, property prices are through the roof and now it’s a nanny city with crazy regulations. You need a grand prix, grand slam, 300 more bars and more affordable restaurants! Melbourne is definitely less of a slog and I think that helps the creative types. We are known as the arts and sports capital of Australia and there has always been strong support for music, culture and food with festival and government grants in full support," he says.
Alexander Haeusler, director of Australian touring agency FÜNF, believes that the culture and way of life in Melbourne may contribute to the flow of creativity amidst the dance music culture. “I do believe that there is a different culture down here that ultimately leads to the quality of work that is coming out of the city [in the music and arts industry]. Maybe you need more trams up there so people aren't so angry on the road?”
With a booming nighttime economy alongside an abundant arts and cultural environments, it’s clear as to why Melbourne’s dance culture is able to stay on top. The city has a clear focus on moving forward with new ideas and sounds, all the while Sydney is being strangled by bureaucratic red tape with rules and regulations left, right and centre.
Click here to read more our take on the current lockout situation in Sydney.