We chat to the revered DJ and producer before he makes his debut at Piknic Électronik.
After spending much of 2020 in hibernation, Melbourne’s events calendar is steadily coming back to life. Amongst the gigs, COVID-safe gatherings and gallery exhibits cropping up is the revamped Melbourne Music Week, whose program extends across three months to make up for lost time during lockdown.
A host of exciting events have been taking place under the MMW – Extended banner since early December, and they’ll be rolling on through until the end of February. There’s something for music lovers of every genre, and one upcoming show is a must for those with a penchant for house and techno.
Most dance music aficionados will already be familiar with Piknic Électronik, the revered event series that’s navigated many parts of the globe. It’s been a sunny season staple for Melbourne punters since it arrived in Australia in 2014, and will be making its return on Sunday January 10.
They’ve reeled in some impressive co-headliners for 2021’s opening event, inviting house music mainstay Late Nite Tuff Guy, who’ll be making his Piknic debut, alongside local legend DJ Sunshine.
“Oh my god, I have been dying to get back to Melbourne,” says Late Nite Tuff Guy from his home in Adelaide. “Let’s face it, Melbourne is pretty much the party capital of Australia.
“I do a lot of my gigs there, whether they’re festivals in country Victoria or in Melbourne itself, so I’ve been waiting for this day a long time and I cannot wait.”
Late Nite Tuff Guy, or Cam Bianchetti as he’s known away from the decks, has been making music for around 37 years, since buying his first synthesiser back in 1981. An avid lover of vinyl and anything by Prince, he integrates flutters of disco, techno, house and more to craft his own infectious sound.
“I think the best DJs are the ones that appreciate all kinds of music,” he explains. “I always love listening to disco, house and techno and whatever you want to play in a club from a DJ who’ll play like a four, five, six hour set and incorporate all that music, that’s a lot of fun.”
Over the past ten months, Bianchetti has had more time than ever to lose himself in his craft. With a schedule usually full of travel and shows, COVID-19 forced Bianchetti to slow down and immerse himself in music, ultimately becoming a restorative period for the artist.
“I did a lot of creating in the studio and all of it was just more so healing for me,” says Bianchetti. “I’ve been suffering with anxiety for such a long time now that it came to a head just before the lockdown, our first lockdown, so I kind of had to deal with that over the last months.
“For me, [creating music] is really healing, and I think I could say that for just about everybody in that music has amazing healing qualities. I know for sure that if it wasn’t for that I doubt whether I’d even be here.”
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Bianchetti experienced that burst of energy from a crowd again over the new year when he performed in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. However, there’s something about Melbourne crowds that gets him particularly excited, although he can’t quite put his finger on what it is.
“I’ve played in lots of clubs in Melbourne and I’m not really sure,” he muses. “It’s a big city, there’s a lot going on, people work hard and people have a lot of stress and what have you. They go out, they want to release all of that, just dance.”
As for what punters can expect from the set, Bianchetti says it’s always a mixed bag for him and something that changes depending on the environment, audience and how he’s feeling at the time.
“I always go by how I’m feeling on the day or night and my set will change by looking out at the crowd and judging the crowd and seeing what they want,” he explains.
“It’ll be an interesting gig, I’m keen to see how the COVID-friendly restrictions go and I’m looking forward to it.”
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