INTERVIEW #024 / ADRIAN BELL [BUNKER]
We had an intersting little talk with Adrian Bell, one of the hardworkers in the Australian Techno scene. He speaks about his project Bunker based in Melbroune, his gig at Tresor this summer, and the specificities of the scene in Australia. Enjoy !
Hi Adrian, we are very pleased to host you in our project for this special series that celebrates our first birthday.
Thanks for having me!
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Adrian Bell and I am a DJ and promoter from Melbourne, Australia. I run a touring & events management company called Bunker that focuses on a few things, the most important of which is pushing techno from the best local & international DJ’s and producers.
You’re the founder of an artistic structure called Bunker. Why did you choose that name?
The name Bunker is inspired from a time in my life when I was managing DJ bookings in an old disused storage fridge at a weekly Thursday nightclub from 2012 – 2014. I also felt that the word Bunker was a good representation of Techno as a whole, I was aware of other projects and brands under the same name but still decided to go ahead with “Bunker” anyway.
Can you tell us a bit more about that project? How and when did it start etc…
In late 2012 I started managing the bookings for the back room of a Thursday nightclub called “Basement 279” I was booking local Techno DJ’s to play in an old storage fridge on a weekly basis. At the time I felt that Techno in Melbourne was being underrepresented on a variety of levels so I decided to start a website where I could approach people to do interviews, have guests come onboard to record podcasts, talk about other events that my friends were putting on and just basically push Techno in Melbourne in a direction that I wanted to see it move in.
From there the focus quickly shifted from the website to putting on local parties, running our Open Air series every Summer, hosting international artists and beginning a new venture called Soft-Pedal – a series of events that specialize in ambient, electronica, dub techno and anything else we can think of.
What are the specificities of the electronic music scene in Australia compared to Europe?
Obviously Australia is geographically a lot more isolated than Europe and with that comes fewer international tours - but that’s not really a bad thing in my opinion. Sometimes less is more and I think that’s certainly the case when international artists visit Australia. We aren’t spoilt for choice here so when a quality DJ visits it’s special as both the crowd and the DJ make the most of it, which creates a really great party.
What club or concept would you recommend the most (apart from a bunker party!) for someone visiting Australia?
Talking about Melbourne specifically there is a number of Techno promoters who all put on great parties – Melbourne is in a very good spot at the moment. The people behind Stranger, Stable, The Public Works Department, Melbourne Techno Collective, Silo, A Colourful Storm, Out of Focus, Steeplejack and Green Fetish Records are all doing great things. As are new comers Zekt Collective and Arteq.
Sydney also has a lot going on with the guys from Trench, Anomaly and IF? Records regularly putting on quality nights despite the harsh lock out laws that exist there at the moment.
By the way is it easy to find edgy techno records there, is there many record shops?
Yep very easy, Melbourne has an array of quality record stores to choose from, my favorite being Bounce Audio in Prahran. Johan and the team are super nice and are always ready to help you out! Other worthy mentions are the guys at Profile, Alley Tunes and Wax Museum.
You’ve played at Tresor last summer, this has been probably a crazy experience…
It was a pretty surreal experience and an opportunity that I am very grateful for. It was my first gig in 2.5 months as I had been travelling across South & Central America with my girlfriend before hand, I was a little nervous but as soon as I got the first track in I was good to go. I opened up from 12:00 – 2:30 am and by 12:05 it was packed! The crowd was super into it and the system there is really immense! I still can’t believe that I played there.
Also once I finished I was taken into the office and it was like a massive maze, there were so many doors and corridors, I don’t know how we didn’t get lost!
Talking about you artistically, how would you define the music you’re playing?
Straightforward Techno. I do like to have a nice ebb & flow in my sets to keep things interesting though, I also like to be as technical as I can be so I’ll often keep a track looped or bring in a 3rd track if the time is right. I really try to make my sets sound as fluent as they can be with the aim of the listener becoming transfixed by what is being played. This year I’ve been influenced by more deeper and melodic techno so I often work some of that into my sets.
Saw that on your TOP 10 tracks, you mentioned a track from Inigo Kennedy, “Obsidian”. He is our first international guest for our parties in Marseille. Do you think that this guy is of one that will leave his print in electronics?
Definitely, in my opinion he’s one of the most forward thinking producers in recent times. Tracks like “Obsidian” and “Cathedral” will no doubt stand the test of time.
Which artists had blown your mind this year?
This year I have been influenced by more deeper, melodic and hypnotic techno so I’ve been really getting into artists like Giorgio Gigli, Donato Dozzy, Neel, Peter Van Hoesen, Nihad Tule, Cassegrain and anything released on Frozen Border.
How do you see the future for you and Bunker?
We always have a lot planned and try to keep our momentum going. We have a really great crew, support network and following which we are very grateful for and we hope that we can keep delivering! There is a fair bit in the pipeline but the next 5 or so months look like this…
December – Bunker Open Air 7
January – Bunker Open Air 8
February – Bunker Open Air 9
April – Soft-Pedal 5
May – Bunkers 3rd Birthday
Any projects on the production level?
I come from a drumming background of 12 years so production is something that I’d love to learn but I unfortunately just don’t have the time.
I saw that you play often warm-ups and closing sets. Which one of those two is the most difficult exercise?
Warming up is definitely more challenging. You really have to be careful with what you play. If you play too hard you risk looking like an idiot who’s trying to make the night all about themselves, too slow and you risk losing the dance floor or damaging the build up of the night.
How did you built this mix for Paradox project?
The mix is made up of tracks that I have enjoyed playing out this year but haven’t really put into a mix. I wanted to start things off slow with tracks that I have played at the start of the night before building up into tracks that I would play in the middle of the night and then finishing up with some real beefers!
Thanks a lot Adrian and hope to see you soon somewhere…