Sydney needs parties like Rotarydisco. Though only just celebrating its first year on the clubbing circuit, Rotarydisco was born for the love of groove and born ready, run by dedicated folks with a great deal more musical experience behind them than the party’s tender age lets on.
The music policy extends beyond what one might traditionally class as “disco”, incorporating house, disco, nu-disco, jackin' house and chug. It’s an all inclusive dance floor which deliberately distances itself from the tech house circuit which dominates Sydney - and global - dance floors.
This week Rotarydisco welcomes the DJ’s DJ, Frank Booker, to The Tatler's basement, whose clever edits clock in regular play from curators like Todd Terje, Horse Meat Disco, Bill Brewster, Jimpster and Tim Sweeney, and who has toured the world extensively playing alongside Moodyman, Dam Funk and Francois K. A master weaver of the disco-house blend, and a cracking choice to ring in Rotary’s first milestone.
Pulse caught up with one of the founders and Rotarydisco DJs, Andy Donaldson, on some of the party’s finest moments so far and why this coming birthday party is going to be all time.
Describe some favourite memories of Rotarydisco thus far:
"Blimey - that's a hard one. Our good friends Somerville and Wilson bringing the Chug sound to one of our Slyfox parties - that was pretty special. But I'd have to say Ron Basejam rocking the house at Crane Bar; that party was off the hook! He tore the place apart. We recorded his set - check it out..."
Frank Booker plays your 1st birthday celebrations this Friday - why do you love his work?
"He's a DJs DJ - really a master of the craft. A man that can live mix proper old school disco, throw it into a bit of Chicago house and pull it back up into more contemporary edits. After 20 years of honing his skills around the world’s nightclubs and parties he knows how to read a dance floor. Come on Friday and you'll see for yourself!"
This is certainly not your day job, what motivated you to start Rotarydisco?
"I sporadically present a late night radio show called Rhythm Nights (on Bondi Beach Radio) with my very very good friend Tony Garcia. After much on and off air discussion we decided we wanted to start a night focusing on the music we wanted to hear, some of which we thought was pretty neglected in Sydney. Matt Trousdale that runs People Must Jam records got involved as well, and hey-presto the night was born."
"It was a real labour of love for the first year - certainly a lot of ups and downs. Matt left after a couple of parties, Alex and Andres from H.A.T.S. then got involved, and more recently the team has grown again with great up and coming DJs like Alex Low joining the family. It's really important to acknowledge that Rotarydisco is a collective of like-minded people and everyone that comes to the parties make it what it is - it's certainly not about any one individual."
"The parties aren't always free, but when we can make the numbers work it's our preferred modus operandi. We're very much in this for the love of it... frankly you'd need your head-read doing it for any other reason!"
The Rotary Disco vibes are not confined to Sydney, you’ve been part of some great regional parties too. How do they party in woop woop and what might Sydney-siders learn from a regional disco?
"Tony and I get booked together as Rotarydisco to DJ outside of Rotarydisco events, though when we get out of town it's generally a booking rather than us throwing the party directly."
"So how do they party in woop woop? Hard! We recently played peak slot at Delicious in Lismore… never let ANYBODY tell you the Big Smokes have all the action. Total nonsense. The Lismore dancefloor went off: cracking sound system, up for it people, super friendly and inclusive. It's a 50% LGBTIQ at Delicious and there's something about the tolerance and acceptance of a mixed gay/straight party that make for a heady dance floor stew. We loved it."
Why does everybody need a bit of disco in their lives?
"Because you owe it to yourself to feel good! Everybody needs music in their lives, full stop."