“DJing isn’t supposed to be about being cool or about dressing up, it’s meant to focus on the dancing, and there are not enough places to do that anymore.”
Hot Dub Time Machine hits Villa Nightclub on Friday, May 29.
MYJANNE JENSEN reports.
If the idea of booty-shaking, singing along, yelling “woohoo” and chatting up the person next to you combined with the best pop songs of all time sounds like your kind of party, then DJ Tom Loud’s Hot Dub Time Machine is the ticket to one of the best nights of your life.
The world’s first time-travelling dance party, Hot Dub Time Machine is one of the most exciting and universal concepts to come out of the Australian music scene in recent years, ever since its genesis at Sydney Fringe Festival. With a niche yet widely appealing premise – moving chronologically, song by song, through pop music history – it’s not hard to understand why Hot Dub Time Machine has become such a worldwide phenomenon, and has seen Loud (AKA Tom Lowndes) just last month playing at the world-famous Coachella festival, where he mingled with super celebs and even touched the hand of a crowd-surfing Yeezus.
“Hot Dub Time Machine is a dance party for everyone because there’s this awesome, natural build that comes from working chronologically from the ’50s and ’60s, and it just brings everybody together as it goes along through time,” Loud explains.
“I start off with the ’50s, which has a lot of awesome rock, swing and rockabilly, and from there I go into the ’60s with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Supremes. The ’70s obviously has all this great disco with The Bee Gees and where everyone starts getting their groove on, but then comes the ’80s, which has the most extraordinary music with everything like Michael Jackson, Salt-N-Pepa and Annie Lennox.
“The intensity then just keeps building with the heavy metal and grunge and modern hip hop basslines that come with the ’90s and from there through to 2014 things start to really go crazy.”
Loud and his Hot Dub Time Machine team have managed to create more than just your average dance party, with its use of huge screens and technical wizardry on Loud’s laptop, allowing him to scratch and mash up audio and video. The DJ’s wife, actress Alexandra Plim, also appears by his side (albeit virtually) assisting with the introduction of the show, as well as ensuring that patrons are equipped with all the best dance moves throughout the set.
Besides Mr. and Mrs. Loud, there is also a crew of production staff, so with the interchange between festivals and headline gigs, the wheels are always turning for the Hot Dub crew.
“Festivals are very different to the main show because they’re usually only a 45-to-60-minute set, whereas a Hot Dub Time Machine show is around two, three hours, so you have to pack as many moments as you can into the time you have – so it’s essentially a never-ending process.
“For a festival it takes about a week to prepare and we’ve made my wife into a hostess character, Lulu Loud, so we shoot a lot of videos prior to the show as well to use as visuals during the performance,” he says. “We’re constantly tinkering with what we do, so it’s definitely a work in progress and it’s my aim that when people come to see the show again, they can tell that it’s just getting better and better.”
Watching Loud at the top of his game and the way he works the crowd while fiddling madly with multiple turntables and other technical contraptions, it would be easy to assume that success was always on the cards. It wasn’t always that straightforward, however. Loud first started DJing well over a decade ago.
“I started DJing in 2001 and I’ve been doing it professionally for about four years, so around the time when things started to build with Hot Dub Time Machine,” he says. “I went through various stages where I wasn’t having much success in my career and was just doing house parties like the vast majority of DJs do, so there were times where I questioned if I wanted to keep going and where I had just had enough.
“I ended up developing this odd niche where I started to play in the comedy scene and which I started to really enjoy, and after that I knew that I wanted to be a part of that world and to travel and get out there,” he says.
It was after his performance at the Sydney Fringe, and witnessing a whole room erupt and break out in dance to Rock Around The Clock, that Loud fully understood the potential of his retro show. “I put the idea on Facebook for a name to suit a time-travelling dance party and one of my mates came up with the idea of Hot Dub Time Machine, which was a lot cooler than what I originally had in mind,” he laughs.
“The first night we performed Hot Dub we managed to sell out and it was amazing, especially having people sitting there watching the whole opening bit with Lulu performing her safety demos and all that fun stuff and then seeing everybody get up and dance with the first song – that’s pretty rare to see as a DJ.
“Hot Dub Time Machine is also a reaction to this whole thing now where DJs are just too cool and where people aren’t allowed to go into nightclubs because they’re too old or whatever. DJing isn’t supposed to be about being cool or about dressing up, it’s meant to focus on the dancing, and there are not enough places to do that anymore.”