Untitled 909 Podcast 185: Andy Garvey

An Australian spotlight from one of the country’s shining stars, Andy Garvey.

Hailing from Sydney, Andy Garvey has cemented herself as a formidable force in the industry through her various projects that are all tied together by one centring mission – championing those around her and providing a platform to some of the sickest underground sounds. This is done through her platform Pure Space – a party, mix series and record label – focusing on ‘so-called Australian music’ as well as her previous residency on FBi Radio. Her work in radio and as a promoter underscores her commitment to nurturing the next generation of artists and pushing the boundaries of the genre.

Now back in Europe for the summer, where she’ll be based in Berlin, we catch up with Andy before the busy schedule begins. In the accompanying interview, we chat about first fandoms, how living in Australia has informed her work, a little peak into the curation behind Pure Space, Andy’s journey with production and Australian artists she’d like to put on your radar.

 

 

Hey! How are you doing? What have you been up to lately? 

I’m good, I just touched down back in Berlin for the summer. This is my second year doing the Europe half year relocate from Eora/Sydney and I am feeling so lucky to have the opportunity and capacity to be over here. I am coming with such a nice foundation from my time here last year, it feels good!

The last few weeks I’ve been taking time to see my family and friends before doing the dash. Half my family lives in Boorloo/Perth on the West coast of the country so it’s a pretty big trip but important of course.

I also played a nice show in my hometown Ngunnawal/Canberra which was really sweet. The show was called ’Too Many Crews’ and was literally that; 20 crews playing short sets from the evening – morning in a big new licensed warehouse space that’s just opened. I got to play the closing extended set after all the chaos.

 

Let’s start from the very beginning, what was your first introduction to music in general and then more specifically electronic music? 

I was quite lucky as a kid that both my primary and high school had solid music programmes, that was my first real connection to music outside of my Dad’s Beetles tapes and Mum’s Santana CDs.

When I was in my mid-teens I made a friend called Charlie at a holiday camp, and he has ended up being one of my first and longest ‘music friends’ – we’d exchange tracks on MSN almost every night and he rapidly expanded my music taste. We were both obsessed with Ed Banger and the BBC Essential Mixes / Mini Mixes – that was before I even knew what a DJ was and I was just obsessed with looking at tracklists and kind of back engineering them..

 

Who was the first artist or band that you were a fan of?

The first pure fandom that I ever had for an artist was for Uffie. That was in the era where you could buy music videos on iTunes and I would sit on the bus on my way to school studying all her music videos on my iPod.

I was obsessed with the music, and the steeze of each of the ED Banger artists. It also felt like she’d come to music as an outsider, which I also related to as someone with no real training, but such an eagerness to be a part of something.

 

Was there a formative moment growing up, whether that’s seeing your favorite band live or an incredible DJ set, that led you to this path? 

I grew up in Ngunnawal/Canberra, the capital of so-called Australia and at the time there was around 300k people living there, small city vibe.

My first clubbing experiences were reflective of a city of its size and that would end up being one of the major reasons for my moving to Eora/Sydney.

Anywho, as the city was pretty small there was not always much of a choice as to who you saw when you went out so often I’d just head to literally every club in one night just to see what was happening..

One very regular night I was doing the rounds and I was in a club called Academy watching an EDM DJ called Helena. I have a feeling this was the first time that I saw someone who was not a man DJing in a club.

I remember standing on the main steps that lead to the sunken dancefloor just watching her and thinking ‘omg, I have to do this’. I was always hanging around DJs and was out every weekend but for some reason it just hadn’t clicked yet.

I think this is one of the reasons that so much of my work behind the scenes has been with representation at its core. It’s so deeply important for all people to be represented on the stages and in the clubs, and I am so glad that one EDM DJ inspired me to take the leap..

 

How does your environment inform your work / Where do you look for sources of inspiration outside of music?

I really am so lucky to be surrounded by so many creative people in Eora/Sydney and Australia working across so many mediums that drive my hunger to experience more of life’s creative offerings.

I think in Australia there’s this catch 22 surrounding being so isolated from the rest of the world.

In some ways I think it’s created this really unique artistic ecosystem that really feeds off itself and is deeply collaborative.

But on the other hand it’s really difficult for Australian artists to break globally without having to physically remove themselves from the scene that has built them up and to relocate overseas.

There are some of us at the moment that are trying to balance both worlds, but it’s got its own weight and reward.

 

You’ve been running your own platform, Pure Space, since 2016. What was the motivation behind launching Pure Space? 

Pure Space first launched as a weekly radio show on a local community radio station in Sydney called FBi Radio but I always had an intention to turn it into a label at some point, I just wasn’t sure when.

FBi Radio and in turn the show has been such an integral part of my music exploration over the last decade (I first started volunteering in 2013). Pure Space’s first time slot was 9-11pm on Monday nights, and that really allowed my collection to grow into some pretty left-field sonic territories. There aren’t too many radio shows or stations that will be chill with letting you play 15 minute ambient tracks in full before also playing deep techno and more.

The station also has a really amazing music policy that 50% of the music played needs to be Australian, and 50% of that needs to be from Sydney. So it really drives the hosts to be engaging in the local music scenes and driving the local artists exposure constantly.

This also had some really wonderful synergy with my intention to launch the label as it meant I was already reaching out to artists regularly and there was a natural progression in the end.

 

What has curating your own label and series allowed you to do? What do you enjoy the most about curating Pure Space? 

For the label, I really hope for it to become a time-capsule to all of what I find interesting in contemporary music in the current moment.

I don’t ever want the label to feel pigeon-holed in any genre and I think that’s allowed me to explore and work with such a huge range of artists.

 

What’s next for the label? 

I am really psyched for both the music and shows that we have coming this year. It all feels really focused and complementary.

Recently we put out the new al dente EP ‘multiform’. al dente is a Paris based Aussie who I discovered via his release on BEAMS. It’s sickeningly good, futuristic electro-tek.

Eora/Sydney artist Command D will return to the label with an EP, following appearances on our compilations / his single ‘Musik’ last year. The EP is a collection of tracks that were first written for his live set, and have finally come to be realised in the studio. It’s deep n dubby – as you come to expect from his sound.

Next in our Home Listening series is an album from local Eora/Sydney artist mara. She has such a wonderful way with sampling, and this release captures her travels and live performances across time and space and place.

There is also a stunning neo-classical composition on the horizon from Naarm/Melbourne artist Tangerine that has been almost 4 years in the works but I have faith will finally see the light of day this year. Fingers crossed!

I’m also hoping to put out my next EP on the label later this year. That’s my current focus musically but I’m also just in a really playful phase – so it’s got some shape but far from fully formed.

 

It was great to see you featured in the latest Harmony Records compilation! What has your production journey been like? What joys and challenges have you faced along the way? 

Yes, I am so proud to be a part of that record. My production journey has definitely been slow and steady with waves of inspiration and frustration as I can be sure all artists go through.

I first downloaded Ableton in about 2012, but it was only around 4 years later that I finally finished my first ever track.

I remember finishing that and having a friend do a home-master of it so I could play it that night at a warehouse party and I don’t think I could have been prouder of myself.

This was the era that I was running parties regularly with Nite Fleit who was also on a similar baby producer path, and whose focus and work ethic will never not inspire me.

The pandemic was probably one of the hardest challenges in my producer journey. I really struggled to keep any sort of creative music flow without being in the clubs each weekend. I know so many artists really dialled in through this period but it really hurt for me. I felt super lost.

 

Is there a track you’ve listened to and wish you made? 

 

You’ve contributed a mix for the 909 series, what’s the concept behind this one? 

I’m really excited to share this mix of all Australian based artists. It was so fun to dig through my music collection and was honestly so hard to cut down the final tracklist. Most of the music is from the last 5 years and a solid representation of the local music that I love. I’m honestly surprised that I don’t do this more regularly.

 

Any specific Australian artists you would like to highlight here for people to check out? 

The two opening tracks are by Naarm/Melbourne artist CORIN (titled Solis) and then Eora/Sydney based Makeda (titled Professors, Lovers, Critics) – these are two of my absolute favourite experimental artists. Both have such amazing focus and poise in all of their music offerings.

There is also a track in the middle’s by a local Eora/Sydney artist called Kaisei. One of my absolute favourite new acts in our local scene. He’s making some extremely tight psychedelic techno and has started to break through outside of Australia – just finished his first tour of Japan and I hope will also make the journey to Europe next summer.

There is also an older cut in there from 2001 by Andy Rantzen who’s most well known for his 90s dub productions (many of which have been reissued on Michael Kucyk’s Efficient Space Label). The track ‘Black Smoke’ that I play is one of the freshest techno tracks, and was also one of my opening tracks at Organic festival in Taiwan recently.

 

If you were given the opportunity to organise your dream party, what would it look like?  

Out in the bush in rural Australia in the summertime, one stage with like 2,000 people with riverside access. The actual DREAM.

 

A track you’re obsessed with at the moment? 

I get the synth line from this song stuck in my head all the time at the moment. This was another highlight moment from my Organik sunrise set

 

What are you looking forward to the most for Northern Hemisphere Summer 2024?

I am so lucky to have some really wonderful shows this year. Pure Space will host two label showcases in Berlin.

I am also playing b2b with Spekki Webu at Paradigm in August which will be such a force. We first met at Solstice last year and he’s really such an inspiration for my artistic drive.

I am also really looking forward to La Nature in Belgium later this month. I am excited to experience the forrest and the first festival of my summer.

I also am going to have my partner with me for three months of the trip this year, which is going to be such a dream. We did long distance last year while I was away and though it was how we had to live I am just so excited to have him with me this year. Special!

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