Who said disco was dead?
For the last 16 years, London’s DJ collective Horse Meat Disco (aka James Hillard, Jim Stanton, Severino Panzetta and Luke Howards), have kept the disco fire alive with legendary residencies around the world, including Eagle London, Prince Charles in Berlin, and Elsewhere in New York.
Born in response to the cookie-cutter gay clubbing scene in London, their inclusive ethos as a “queer party for everyone” has struck a chord both in and out of the gay scene.
Soon, HMD will soon take their signature genre-blurring disco sound out of its usual nightclub homes for Days Like This Festival in Sydney. Think: classics, Italo, house, Afropunk and oddities alongside more obscure ’70-’80s gems.
Of course, their arrival comes at an interesting time for Sydney’s music festival scene, as the NSW Government cracks down on live music culture. The resulting festival cancellations of Mountain Sounds and Psyfari are only the beginning.
HMD have been pushing the music industry envelope since their inception. Now that Days Like This has joined five other festivals in taking legal action against the government’s latest draconian (and baseless) festival policy, there’s no better time for HMD to help us justify keeping the lights on.
We caught up with HMD’s James Hillard to address all that and more.
Back in Australia again – is it time yet to just set up shop here and allow us weekly parties?
It’s a long way to come for a weekly party. My circadian rhythms are screaming out in terror at the prospect, however my serotonin levels seem to back the idea. If someone proposed it, we wouldn’t outright dismiss it!
What have you noticed the most each time you come back for an Australian tour?
Sadly the relentless drive to crush peoples’ fun and attack the night time economy. Every time I come back there seems to be some crazy new law or draconian regulation that aims to scupper people having a good time by people who wouldn’t know one. That… and it’s getting hotter!
After so many years of crushing legislation and fuckwit politicians waging a war against nightlife, particularly in New South Wales, we’re interested to know what the chat over in the UK is about the Aussie party scene?
I’m not sure that if i wasn’t in some way part of it, I’d be that informed about it. People just go where they hear things are happening. Like Berlin. Used to be the case that people got excited about Mardi Gras in Sydney, but now I hear more people going to Pride in Tel Aviv. Most of the chat comes from Aussie expats who cite it as a reason why they left.
Drugs are a big tool our Premier is using to try and shut down festivals across the state, unfortunately with a lot of success lately. She claims to have never tried a drug in her life. What would you suggest would be a good gateway drug for her if she was to roll up to a HMD gig?
I suggest she takes a chill pill!
We’ll be seeing you guys soon at Days Like This which has quite a heavy techno lineup; can you let us in on what to be prepared for with your set?
If it’s quite a heavy techno line up then we’ll be the perfect disco interlude. I like to think that disco is techno lube! Fun foreplay before you stick it in!
Do you usually play differently to an Australian crowd? How do we differ from the Euros?
Like play Men At Work? Party people are party people! Sometimes it takes a few tracks to work out what people are into but we are nightlife professionals… it’s what we do! Aussies do tend to look healthier though!
Top 3 gigs you played in the last year?
The Glastonbury festival NYC Downlow
Love International Croatia
HMD residencies in New York and Berlin
What’s the drink of poison we’d find in your red cups and riders on tour?
I’m currently doing a dry February. It’s the shortest month! So by March I’ll probably drink whatever is in the nearest red cup to me! Saying that, I’m really not much of a drinker and old cooking lager will do!
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Catch Horse Meat Disco at Days Like This on Saturday March 9 at Victoria Park. For more info and tickets, head to the DLT website: HERE.