One of the most revered names in the Melbourne clubbing scene is Christopher Gafforini, better known to most under his DJ alias of Citizen.com. Involved within the scene in a multitude of areas, Gafforini holds a profound passion for the constant development and progression of the events and its ethos. Ahead of the launch of his multi-cultural extravaganza Mixed Grill, 100% catches up with Gafforini to discuss what he plans to offer this city.
The lowdown - what is Mixed Grill?
Mixed Grill is a new cultural concept combining various aspects of street culture, live performance, visual arts, and an all out Aussie BBQ. All to the sounds of a lazy Sunday afternoon soundtrack by some of Melbourne best DJs and acts.
Where did it all come from? Why did you decide to found it - what was the reasoning?
Having been involved in the Melbourne party scene for many years, I have always wanted to create an event that incorporated all the various aspects of talent that were available in our crew. It stems from the fact that 'back in the day' there was a lot more to dance music than just the music and standing there all night staring at just the DJ. So this event hopes to bring back some performance and culture into dance parties.
What can one expect from a visit to Mixed Grill? Basically - what happens? What goes on?
You can expect a chilled and relaxed atmosphere, with indoor and outdoor arenas. DJs spinning Lazy Sunday tunes, Performers showing their skills, artists showing their talents and live art auctions. Trash Parlour is also setting up a market stall selling second hand records for vinyl junkies. Plus there is the Sunday Sangria special! DJs for the opening party are Kodiak Kid (Mixed Messages), Jake Judd + Nikki Sarafian, Obliveus, Monkee (Twisted Audio), Flip + Citizen.com (Rock Like This), Matty Blades (Brotherhood of Beats), D-Stract and DJ Ides.
If there were a mantra or message for Mixed Grill - what would it be?
Everything is possible with music.
I've read that you'll be showcasing performers, artists, workshops and more. Who and what can we expect to grace Mixed Grill over the upcoming months?
For the opening party we have the Shimmy Bliss Burlesque dancers, Awkward/Amazing performers, live art by At Large Gallery and an exhibition by MILF. For up and coming months we will be introducing various workshops such as break dancing and graph techniques for people to get involved and learn some skills. Plus a huge swag of new performers and acts, including puppeteers, contortion, booty dancers, animation shows and much, much more.
You've said that the Melbourne dance used to be exciting but has now lost a lot of its culture and lifestyle. Can you expand on this? How will Mixed Grill combat this?
When I was a younger punter (and before I got involved in the scene), what ultimately sucked me in was how involving gigs use to be. The fondest memories being those of parties where it didn't matter what the DJ actually played or about the 'genre of music' because the vibe of the party was so intoxicating that it was hard not to enjoy yourself. Tight and forward thinking DJs, perfect light shows, surprise guests, stage performers, market stalls, the list goes on. Then one day it just kind of stopped, and dance parties became about an identity. It became more about pushing a particular genre and than trying to be diverse and 'educational'. Lots of the expression was taken out of the gigs, and it resulted in a forward facing crowd that just faces the DJ all night in the hope that they were entertaining to watch. Then the laptop came into it and took even more performance out of DJing and just left a stale taste in my mouth! So the idea of Mixed Grill is to experiment with various aspects of performance, art and culture to bring back a sense of involvement to an event, while taking out some of the chin stroking.
What are the long term goals for Mixed Grill? Where would you live to see it develop and progress to?
My ultimate goal is to run an international event that tours around the globe incorporating many aspects of performance and culture into one massive dance party. To push new trends in music and focus on pushing punters into more diverse sounds away from the trends of the mainstream. And to have a space where people can get feel a part of what is happening, and get involved in showing off their skills and talents to the Melbourne party people.
Mixed Grill kicks off on Sunday March 20 taking over Lounge.