We Meet The Men Behind Motorik

Brothers, and former members of Lost Valentinos, Pat and Andrew Santamaria; Bang Gang boy Angus Gruzman (Gus Da Hoodrat); Vi Hermens, one of the founders of Picnic; and Infusion member Frank Xavier are the boundary-pushing bunch. They run the MOTORIK! record label and parties, and have started an Australian made techno scene that they hope will eventually size up to those of Germany and The US.

“The label’s been going for a year, the party has been going for two years, and we’re about to hit 10 releases at the end of this month,” says Pat Santamaria. “With that, I feel like we’re coming to the end of one chapter of MOTORIK! and we’re about to enter a new one.”

Indeed, the boys shut the door on that first chapter in a spectacularly loose fashion. 800ish MOTORIK! fans headed west and found themselves heaving to the lads’ thumping brand of late night techno in a cavernous Marrickville warehouse. They had a jumping castle. It was BYO. And they pumped some ripper fucking tunes. Basically, if you missed it, consider yourself a fool.

“We throw the parties to promote the label and play the music that we want to play,” says Xavier.

“And it also allows us to educate a new crop of kids coming through the ranks of electronic music. I don’t feel like they are being exposed to – not the ‘right’ kinds of music – but different kinds.”

Things other than the EDM that manages to creep its way into the Top 40 charts courtesy of people like Calvin Harris and Avicii.

“MOTORIK! is a pretty underground scene,” adds Santamaria. “Also, in Australia there is a huge focus on international artists, and for a long time there hasn’t really been anyone pushing the people that are making electronic music here. That’s why we started the label and the party.”

He’s talking about people like Light Year, Jensen Interceptor, Gruzman and Xavier as The Finger Prince, and his own project with his brother, CSMNT61. They make up the bulk of the releases on the MOTORIK! record label and also do the majority of the mixing at their blowouts.

The latest release, which dropped on Friday, however, is a collaboration between Aussie lad in LA Craig Williams and French vocal seductress Louisahhh!!!. The Rawhide EP includes the bangin’, sultry single of the same name, and its remixes by JoeFarr and CSMNT61, and the building, bordering on space ravey single, ‘Chip a Tooth’. Get it here. Now.

The team have also just turned their hands to the next Ministry of Sound compilation, so prepare your ears for their This Is Techno treat which is out this coming Friday September 13. (Click here to pre-order).

It is refreshing to meet a clubbing crew that aren’t all about pumping cover charges through the doors. It’s not about how many buzzy international record labels they can put in brackets on the flyer, or snagging the DJ with the number one on Beatport for an Aus tour. Instead, it’s about celebrating the music microcosm of our own country. This is something that has been happening happily for years on the live music scene, but when it comes to all things electronic, is largely overlooked.

“If we get an international in for one of our events, it’s because they have approached us because they like our label,” says Xavier. “It’s never because we’ve approached them thinking we need a ‘name’.”

The group started having fun with techno as a reaction to the deep house and disco wave that was flooding Sydney’s nightclub speakers a few years back. They wanted to push something with an edge – and that continues to be the end game.

The parties happen in unexpected places – like warehouses and art studios – so there are never any promoters or licensees leaning over their shoulders, pressuring them to play a trendy anthem. They experiment. At a MOTORIK! party, you’re guaranteed to hear a whole stack of records that you’ve never heard before, and that is, after all, the wonderful thing about going to see a DJ.

They’ve made a creative ouroboros for themselves too. “We often have the parties to launch a release from the label,” says Santamaria. “But then we all feed of the energy of the parties to write more music.”

So what of this next chapter, then? MOTORIK! looks different – that’s for one. Up until this point, the art direction, which is taken care of by Pat, has been a nod towards graphic designer Peter Saville and his work for Factory Records and The Hacienda. Now, primary colour blocking has given way to colour negative imagery and graduated blends. And with these aesthetic changes, comes a couple of functional ones too. The boys have just taken the reigns of a new and super top secret warehouse space, and they’ll be rolling out a serious of super exclusive parties over the next three months. The first of these will go down this Friday, Sep 6, but we’ve been totally sworn to secrecy on the location front.

Keep your ears to the ground, kids. You really don’t want to miss the start of MOTORIK!’s next chapter.

By Erin Moy ofPagesdigital