INTERVIEW – Yacht Club DJs


Ballarat duo Yacht Club DJs, made up of Guy Chappell-Lawrence and Gaz Harrison, are the Margaret and David of mash-up DJs, having been together for six years ripping up dance floors across Australia, Europe, and America. But much like the beloved film reviewers, all good things must come to an end. They’re calling it quits at the end of 2014, but not before a massive 14-date Hooroo! Farewell tour around the country to wave goodbye to everybody.

Looking back on their six year run, Guy Chappell-Lawrence can’t exactly single out a career highlight. “We’ve been asked this a lot, and I can’t cut it down to one thing. The whole experience has been pretty great,” he says. And while being hand picked to tour with Mumford and Sons on their North American Gentlemen of the Road Stopover Tour definitely sticks out in his mind as “it was our first time doing a big international tour and we were doing really, really big venues”, it’s their first ever festival show at Meredith Music Festival in 2008 that’s his personal favourite moment.

“[It was] the first we ever played in front of these people. It was just an honour to play it and it went really well for us and it sparked what we’ve done since, so that’s one of the bigger moments we had,” he says.

Especially given the fact that the whole idea to start out as mash up DJs was really just a joke between friends that didn’t really stop. “It was more like who could mix the craziest shit together” laughs Chappell-Lawrence, “we toyed with calling ourselves ‘DJ Stark Contrast’ early on, we would just play Britney Spears, Slayer, Gesaffelstein what ever cross culture shit we could get away with and still make people dance”.

Even the duo’s name Yacht Club DJs reflects this idea as Chappell-Lawrence explains, “the yacht club in Ballarat has always been a high class, polo wearing establishment, and you know that high class yachting lifestyle versus what we do….but not only that it was just funny name, and summed up with what we were doing”.

So it’s pretty remarkable that a chance spot at Meredith would launch their career. Their debut set at the festival was such as success that they were invited a spot to play at Meredith and Splendour in the Grass the very next year. Not mention that it kicked off two sell out national tours, and regular festivals appearances at Falls Festival, Southbound, Parklife, and Groovin’ The Moo in the years that followed.

While it’s sad to say goodbye, Chappell-Lawrence sees it differently “we said from a year in that we don’t want to become one of those kind of guys that pass their used by date. We feel like we’re at the biggest we’re probably going to be now and it’s the perfect time to call it quits”.

As for these upcoming farewell shows, they’re preparing things differently to go out with a bang. From their free mixtapes and original EP No 1. released this April, the boys have plenty of material to pick and choice from. “We’re going to go through a lot of the things we’ve done. I’m going to remake a lot of the things I made early on because it sounds pretty bogus now, I really had no idea what I was doing for the first few years,” he says, “basically whatever’s worked over the years, what people have really responded well to on the mixtapes and live”.

Yacht Club DJ Hooroo! tour

Friday October 31  - Republic Bar, Hobart
Saturday November 1 – Republic Bar, Hobart
Friday November 7 – The Northern, Byron Bay
Saturday November 8 – The Brightside, Brisbane
Friday November 14 – The Cambridge, Newcastle
Saturday November 15 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Friday November 21 – Barwon Club, Geelong
Saturday November 22 – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Friday November 28 – Jive, Adelaide
Saturday November 29 – Lost at The Vic, Darwin
Friday December 5 – Amplifier, Perth
Saturday December 6 – ‘Hooch’ at Toucan Club, Mandurah
Friday December 19 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat
Saturday December 20 – Karova Lounge, Ballarat

Partaker in dance offs, making playlists, and partying hard front centre of gigs. I like music.

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