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Scott Pullen was one of the first Australians to make it onto DJ Mag’s Top 100 DJs list in 1993. Technology that travels well is essential when he’s playing around the world with The Groove Academy Band.
How did you get your start?
“I was a musician in the ’80s. One night, the DJ between bands at the pub where I worked didn’t show so I got on the decks. A year later, I was playing at Sydney’s famous Hordern Pavilion parties and Mardi Gras. I’ve been DJ’ing full time since then, including at the official Sydney 2000 Olympics Closing Party at The Domain and the World DJ Festival in Seoul. I’m now touring with my band, playing at some great club and corporate events. We’re off to play at some beach clubs in Bali before returning home to play at the ski fields in Thredbo.”
Has travelling with music changed over your career?
“I’ve always taken a lot of music with me to gigs. I used to haul at least three crates of records that weighed 60 kilos or more. The first time I toured Europe, it cost me more to fly my records over than my seat. Now I carry a huge library of music on my laptop, which connects to the mixer and decks; it’s a good hands-on mix of new and old-school tech.”
How does technology improve a set?
“The laptop I’m using now was built for gaming so it keeps cool while it handles everything. I upgraded my old one when it crashed under pressure on a hot stage. You can’t afford to have tech fail at a party – the audience wants music, not excuses. People sometimes ask if I’m checking social media up there; I multitask but not like that. If the dancers are up for more esoteric sounds, I’ll search my library between mixes; I can set loops, record and stream sets live. When I’m travelling, the laptop is my record box, streaming kit, studio, office for my entertainment agency and sound system. And it’s an amazing gateway to the world’s best music.”
What’s your approach to DJ’ing?
“DJ tech has come a long way but it’s too easy to load a set of hits from a USB stick and let machines do the work. Where’s the fun in that? Even with the band, we don’t play planned sets. It’s a bit like James Brown: conducting, seeing where the audience wants to go and letting the horn section know when to cut loose. It sounds like a DJ cliché but you need a big repertoire to take people on an unexpected journey.”
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