DHA crew Jim Poe, Ben Booth, and Coco catch up one of their local heroes Magda Bytnerowicz in the BBR studio. Magda has for years been consistently responsible for some of the finest house and techno heard on loud sound systems in Sydney. They chat about Magda’s beginning in dance music, co-founding the mighty 4our crew, to her recent escapades supporting Kyle Hall at Sydney Opera House and her One Night Stand with Picnic.
Jim: Anybody who knows me in Sydney knows that Magda is one of my favourite DJs around here, and that your crew 4ours is one of my favourite crews, or pretty much my favourite, but lets start with a Magda 101 type thing … in case you’re not familiar, or like me you are new, because I met you about three years ago …
Magda: Yep I think it was about three years ago, you wanted to come to one of our parties if I recall correctly, or I met you at someone elses party and you were like ‘hey I’m new, let’s be friends’ and I said sure … it was great!
Jim: So how did you get your start? … in music, not in life, but in music!
Magda: Well I first started with dance music in about 1997 with drum and bass and jungle and tracking music made by guys in the suburbs out near Epping – Elefant Traks shout out! – and from that I started going out to a night called Beatfix which was part of the old Sublime lineup at the old Pitt Street Sublime. So that was a Thursday night and you could go there when you were a student – a working person finds it hard to go out on a Thursday! – started going out to bigger parties, and …. I just remembered this the other day…. what actually happened was there was some massive rave at Olympic Park that went for 15 hours. Green Velvet played, I can’t really remember much else until Masters At Work played, and I remember at that point in time I looked at what they were doing and went .. oh, I want to do that ..
Ben: I want some of that action
Jim: House music suddenly was the thing. That’s cool
Magda: Yes absolutely
Ben: What a good influence Masters At Work were, could have started in other places, but that’s a great place to start
Magda: Yeah it was a great introduction to House music. I started collecting records and saved up for my first pair of decks. Practiced at a mates house until I could buy my own. And then I started a little party with some mates, and then I met … how I really kind of started gigging … was I met the Ha Ha crew. This would have been about 2005
Jim: Dean and Dave, also friends of ours
Magda: Actually I met the Scottish connection first, Alistair and Jono, and from there, they used to run a monthly party at The Abercrombie, and I did that maybe four or five times in 2006. And that’s kind of how I learned to play to a crowd at different types of night, and really they were the ones to give me a lot of good faith and opportunity … so thanks guys … love ya’s!
Jim: And how did you go from that to co-founding the 4our crew?
Magda: Well I was sort of lacking something that … well I basically wanted more gigs really!
Jim: So its DIY type thing?
Magda: Yeah and Renee Trinity was running a Loose Caboose party at the time and I think she was associated with the Pink Silver crew out of Melbourne. So she did a Pink Silver label night and booked myself, Kate Doherty and Claire Morgan in the side room. And I kind of went that was super fun, hey Renee, we’re not doing anything, you’re not doing anything, how about the two of us start a party and we get Claire and Kate along, and she’s like ‘sure’. And its honestly history from there. Our first warehouse party just went crazy, I think we did 3 in the first 6 months and they were all super successful, which enabled us to save some money and book our first international act which was Steffi.
Jim: Yeah cool. 4our parties are just so good. If I had to pick my four favourite DJs from Australia it might be the four of you … it kind of sounds a dumb fanboy thing to say … but its true as well
Magda: hey no it’s heartfealt, appreciate it
Jim: .. and so as we were just talking in our green room before hand, you’ve lately been really riding a bit of a wave of some success, you’ve supported Kyle Hall at Sydney Opera House for Vivid, and you were invited by Picnic for a One Night Stand which is a bit of …
Magda: … a bit of a huge honour I think we can call it! …
Jim: … bit of conferring a legend status … on anyone from Tornado Wallace to Simon Caldwell … so you know it was cool to see that! So how has it been going lately with these sort of gigs?
Magda: I’ve been really enjoying it. Every of these special opportunities has been just wonderful, I’ve been so excited to be invited, and try and bring my A game to all of them. I’ve loved every minute of this year
Jim: What were those two in particular like? How did it go with Kyle at the Opera House?
Magda: Well I opened the room up. My parents actually came because they were like ‘you’re playing at the Opera House? Can we come?’ and I said ‘Of course you can, come along’ and I was telling them look there’s not going to be anyone there for the first hour at least, if not the first hour and a half, don’t get too excited mum and dad, you’re just going to see me in a big room. But I think the beauty of the GoodGod brand and what the guys do with their events, is they put so much love into the production and the programming and the general vibe, that people just flooded into there. From 10 past nine three Irish lads who had a few pints rock up and encourage my folks to dance, and the vibe it just took off, it was incredible. In forty minutes the place was half full, I was so excited. It is hard to say, it didn’t feel like a real warm up gig at all, it went straight into a party.
Ben: You were totally totally playing it down to the parents, yeah don’t worry about it, its going to be really quiet …
Magda: Well you know what its like, no body comes in the first hour, but no, not at GoodGod at Vivid!
Jim: … the parents there is like the end of a Disney movie, that was beautiful
Magda: … it was cute …
Jim: … and so what was the One Night Stand like, basically as you were telling me, warming up for yourself, and then playing all night
Magda: Yeah it was kind of weird. At a certain point you realise the night is wide open and you can go anywhere, and that’s a real freedom, which can be intimidating in a way, but I think we went to some really cool places the dancers and I, and I played some of my ultimate favourite records. I dug really deep into my history because its been ten years since my first proper gig, so I went way back played some old Kompakt … Tracey in My Room got a run, some newer favourites that people have probably heard me play several times before got up … and I’m not going to spoil too much because sometimes you’ve just got to be there!