A colourful Hawaiian shirt walks in. The man wearing it strides towards me; hands are out. He shakes mine, says ‘whatup’, compliments my shoes and insults the houseparty he was at the other night. The party in question was mine.
I tell him he’s a dick and hand him a coffee; as per his request it’s a fair trade soy vegan cappuccino or some crap like that. The cocoa powder is imported from the Ivory Coast.
We begin our interview.
“Apart from life, a strong constitution, and an abiding connection to the Thembu royal house, the only thing my father bestowed upon me at birth was a name, Ro-ro…lih-lahla.”
Since I could not see how this quote could have any bearing on the rest of the interview whatsoever, and being that the utterance was in fact the opening line of Nelson Mandela’s autobiography – the book which I now realised was held conspicuously in his hands – we decided to backtrack a little.
“Hi, my name is Hubble and I’m a DJ from Sydney.”
A little better.
“I like playing stuff with a solid beat that’s fun to dance to. But I’m also really into doing complex stuff and pushing...myself?”
Yes, while his dialogue at 9am pre-coffee may not appear to be complex, his mixing definitely is. Last year Hubble held a residency at The Wall (World Bar) and for months party cats were smacked across the face with tunes so grimy your mother would be generally displeased with its state of hygiene. Hushed whispers are still heard during set lulls and during DJ switchovers, and while I’m not a lip reader or anything, I can tell you with certainty they’re all probably asking the same question: where the fuck is Hubble?
“Most drunk set I ever played…oh, Halloween at World Bar! I was booked to play two hours except I ended up playing three because the venue was so packed at 9pm they opened up the back room – an hour early. I was supposed to be an opening act but I was playing to a full crowd at 10pm. That was…the fan was broken as well so it got really – I’m in a Duff Man suit right. So I’m in a Duff Man suit, the fan is broken, it’s getting really fucking hot, doing tonnes of 3-deck mixing – I would have gone through probably 130 tracks that night over the three hours. I was just having so much fun, probably the most fun I’ve played.”
Apart from World Bar, Hubble has played sets at a number of locations including Chinese Laundry, Home Nightclub, Fake Club, and, “all this stuff at Sydney Uni.” (Hubble, 2013, personal correspondence)
“I’ve supported Culprate, Brookes Brothers, Habstrakt…there’s heaps more, I just can’t remember at the moment. Supported Dr Werewolf a few times, Sticky Buds I’ve supported…man you’ve put me on the spot here.”
“I’ve supported all those guys, but playing with locals has been loads of fun as well. Last year I went back-to-back with NCrypt – he won the Bass Drop DJ comp the other year, and he won the National Student DJ comp in Australia. That was heaps of fun.”
I take a few minutes to ensure the correct spelling of every club and DJ he had just namedropped; Hubble fills this time by finishing his coffee, tapping his feet as he does so.
“Man I’m not happy with this interview. I’m getting weirded out by the fact that it’s being recorded – can you just make up what I say?”
I tell him that's against the journalistic code I didn't follow, and ask him another bland question about How It All Started.
“I sort of just fell into DJing in highschol – y’know, a bit of jerking around. Did lots of mixing with my good mate Count Scratchula. We mucked around all the time on MIDI controllers and when I went into university I started using CDJs. It’s kind of all gone from there – when I started using CDJs and won the USYD DJ comp, that’s when I started getting work. I learned the ropes a bit with the Distortion Crew in Sydney as well.
“And it’s just spiralled out of control?”
“In the sense that I might get a gig every 3 weeks, yeah. So not really.”
I take this moment of self-deprecating humour as a sign that I have hit a sensitive area (again) so I turn our attention towards a topic of hope – that which brings every musician and creative-type the necessary warmth to block out crippling hunger and fall asleep at the day’s end: The Dream Party or, What You Would Do If You Had No Limitations, Monetary Or Legal, And Had To Put On A Party.
“If the government gave me $15,000 to put something on and I don’t have to worry about selling tickets – man. I would get a bunch of local acts – so NCrypt, Commit, Wompa. It wouldn’t be in a club either, so it’d be in a warehouse setting. I’d also get an interesting international – I’d try to get the Monsterz Crew from the UK. Hardly any lights, smoke machines everywhere. I’d get the guys from Dungeon Events, Outer Bass and Qualia involved as well – they know their shit and they’re always gonna put on a good time.”
When asked about his modus operandi when controlling the decks – or whatever bullshit question I came up with on the day – he responded with a very correct answer.
“I’m trying to give people a fun time but doing it my own way – so sticking away from like, the tops of the Beatport charts. I probably spend about 2 or 3 hours a week looking for new tunes across all different genres. I try to get stuff that would be popular even if it didn’t have a big name attached to it – try and grab everything that people haven’t heard of and maybe they should’ve, or from people that have just been really crafting their skills and you know they’re gonna be big soon. I guess I’m trying to expose people to stuff they haven’t heard while still keeping the energy high; it’s dull if everyone comes in with the same tracks.”
“In an hour I try to play as much as I can. I think the mix I’ve given you guys is an hour long with 53 tracks. That was a 3-deck mix – I always try to do 3-deck mixes and pack as much as possible into it.”
Ah yes, the mix.
It’s been crafted in true Hubble fashion; take any 3 minute section and you might hear trap mixed into downtempo right back into glitch – followed by some Action Bronson. If ADHD had a sound, this would be it. It’s terrifying – don’t let your toddlers listen to this – but every kind of wonderful.
This is Hubble.