Goodgod Congress: Sydney's new party
This Friday 27 September sees the inaugural Goodgod Congress at everyone’s favourite danceteria. Brought to you by the mighty combination of Goodgod Small Club, Astral People, 4our and Hunter Gatherer, Congress promises to be Sydney’s regular fix of quality DJ’s. Speaking with Mark Garland, the man behind new Sydney techno label Hunter Gatherer, it appears that, for the team behind this new venture, its all about consistency.
“Jimmy [Sing, of Goodgod] wanted to create something in Goodgod that was really consistent, sort of like a home base for good consistent music.” We’re one sentence in and he’s already said “consistent” twice. Such a night is quite a gift to Sydney in the present party climate. With the warehouse party scene dwindling and international acts only occasionally appearing in our fair city, Sydney is minus a consistent, regular party. As Mark puts it, “There’s not somewhere you can go every week to just hang out and listen to good tunes.”
From Mark’s point of view it’s also bringing the party in from the warehouses of the inner west to the city, where in his personal view, there’s a bit of a hole in the dance music scene. “Personally there’s not much that excites me [in the city]. I get excited when I see a Mad Racket or a Haha [Industries] party.” And it’s this kind of excitement that Mark and the Congress team want to bring to Goodgod on a weekly basis. “I see it as bringing that outsider vibe into the city and making it more consistent.” There’s that word again.
The forming of the Congress team was somewhat of a role on effect, with Jimmy first to Vic Edirisinghe of Astral People who then brought Madga Bytnerowicz from 4our and Mark to the party. Each brings their own flavour to the group. Astral People have brought through some of Sydney’s top electronic talents while 4our have run some of the wildest warehouse get-togethers Sydney has seen in recent times. As for Mark, his young record label Hunter Gatherer, whilst not boasting Astral People’s roster, houses some great talents and through his own project, Gardland, he knows the Sydney dance music scene intimately.
Besides the ever-mentioned consistency there’s a desire to bring through emerging talent. “There’s obviously guys that everyone knows about on the roster list but as well as that there’s guys like James Walsh, who’ve literally played three times, but we know they’re good enough to rock it every week.” The very first bill sees the likes of Magda and Haha Industries set to get Goodgod pumping along with Ben Fester, a DJ that Mark has seen grow to a point where he now finds himself mixing it with the heavyweights. “He started out as a house DJ for Astral People and he’s totally grown into his own thing. Every time I see him I get more and more impressed. It’s a pleasure having him on board.”
Congress, as it grows, will see guest international acts from time to time, but Mark sees no reason to give these guys special treatment. As comes through our whole conversation, consistency is the key, along with a healthy dose of respect for local talent. “The emphasis is definitely on the local scene. When we get internationals we aren’t going to change the price or promote it differently. It’s about keeping it all at the same level every week so there’s the same respect level for our guys as there is for internationals.”
Whilst starting off as a DJ focused event - residents including the abovementioned Haha Industries, Magda and Mad Racket – having Astral People and Hunter Gatherer on board gives a wide scope for including some live electronic acts as well. However, the focus remains solely on making this night a consistent avenue for Sydneysider’s to get their dance party fill rather than expanding on the organisers’ already established ventures. “We will be getting that kind of stuff in but we don’t see it as an avenue to push our pre-existing interests. Astral People and Hunter Gatherer already have their own ways of pushing stuff forward.”
Congress are not under any illusion that bringing consistently good dance music to the Sydney CBD is any crazy new concept, many have tried before them. So rather than proclaim themselves visionaries, they’re definitely keeping it real and hoping that Sydney’s views corresponds with their own. “I’m keen to see how Sydney respond to it, because I’d love to have a place that I could go every Friday to hangout and just rock up and know the tunes are going to be great.”
Importantly, the relocation of Sydney’s dance party scene from the warehouses to a regular venue is in no way designed to curb the hedonistic vibe of parties past. “I hope not! It’s definitely not meant to be more sophisticated. In the end it’s about people having a good time. If a hedonistic warehouse vibe facilitates that, then so be it.”
So can we expect to see Goodgod put on crazy parties week in week out? Mark laughs, “We’ll see. I have no idea what’s going to happen but we’ll see on Friday how it goes.” When the organisers have no idea what’s going to happen you’ve only got one option, get the fuck along and see for yourself! If it’s anything like the picture Mark has painted for me, Sydney’s in for a consistently wild ride.
- Joshua Manning