Comfort Club is a Sydney Dance Music collective made up of Matt Plant (HendriK), Winston Green (Bazil), Ryan Fazz (Senor Face) and Billy Mansfield (Bilsn) that has been doing good things on the local scene for quite a while now. The inspiration for CC comes from a stripped back approach to Club culture which can typically be too concerned with appearances and not concerned enough with experiences. Comfort Club provides people with a no bullshit pure fun partying experience based on the comfort of the patron. This is encompassed by throwing free parties with a quality sound system using high calibre local acts. Musically the collective have different influences that stem from Australia and abroad, but they love providing a platform to showcase the hotbed of local talent this city has to offer. BBR recently caught up for a chat
BBR: Give us an overview of your parties from the beginning!
CC: Our party grew from humble origins out of the Dugout of the Burdekin Hotel. At the time, another successful party was expanding and eventually needed the extra space meaning we had to find a new home. This was a blessing in disguise as our Tokyo Sing Song home fits what we want to achieve perfectly. The staff and Hotel are amazing to deal with, we can keep it a free party, the space and aesthetic fit our brand perfectly (weird and wonderful) and they are outside these backward lockout laws which means more dancing and music!
Part of running parties is about taking the good with the bad, you can’t have one without the other. Being able to deal with problems quickly and effectively as they arise without losing a positive outlook or group moral is the most important thing. There will always be a problem that you have not been able to plan for and we have found keeping the big picture in mind and helping each other out to solve it has brought us closer.
Some of the best parts of our parties include being able to give people we respect musically longer sets to flex their talents. Sweetland from Melbourne, Dave Stuart of Something Else and the Mantra Collective boys have all been really great parties with extended sets. Our first B’day party was also special to be able to get some peak time for ourselves which was a B2B blast! We really enjoy being able to push local acts and friends who we enjoy and seeing them perform to a high standard with an engaged audience is indeed rewarding!
BBR: Electronic Music in particular seems to influence a lot of local scenes from certain global hotspots? We always seem to hear about London, Berlin, New York, Ibiza …. is there much of a reciprocal influence heading out of Sydney back into the global scene?
CC: We think Australia as a whole has a very good reputation overseas currently. We have a lot of great exports that are very successful internationally. Listening to their stories of success and where they have come from, it is clear that they are partially products of a supportive environment musically. The current climate where our government refers to a creative career path as just a ‘lifestyle’ choice is a backwards attitude that is suffocating the potential we have bubbling under the surface. The lockout laws are denying ‘up and coming’ artists the opportunity they need to improve, blossom and refine their craft into something which is competitive on an international level.
Basically, we need a 180’ turnaround for the way creative careers and artists are viewed if we want them to be able to have the success that others have had in the past (See Jimmy Barnes’ Keep Sydney Open video for testament to this). We are seeing more and more, creative and successful young Aussies are feeling exiled to use their talents overseas where they will be better appreciated and rewarded with opportunity.
BBR: It’s a tough environment in Sydney at the moment, but some crews including Comfort Club have just kept doing their thing and staying positive which is great for the scene, and shows remarkable resilience. How do you stay motivated in Sydney at the moment?
CC: Sydney is going through a tough time currently. We have an older generation of decision makers who are out of touch completely with modern times and nightlife simply because they are not and have not been involved in this area for so long. Ironically, it is this same generation that embodied the values of rebellion through rock and roll, punk and other forms of music. We are doing the same apart from our music has expanded to include electronic music as a reflection of the development of technology and music.
Keeping motivated can sometimes be disheartening with what seems like a David vs. Goliath battle for Art, Music, Nightlife and Culture vs. Political Corruption, Gambling Advocacy, Property Development and Greed. Seeing movements like Keep Sydney Open fighting the good fight makes us feel that we have to dig in and fight for our beautiful city. We can be the best city in the world (we feel) if we can just change this madness!
The nightlife culture and music scene has really strung together and seeing many of the other bigger budget and more established party brands continually bringing out international acts and running great parties and events in the face of this adversity really provides a sense of duty to keep pushing on. It has been great to see the scene pull together and support each other, not many other industries would do that.
BBR: Following the collapse of big festivals like Stereosonic and Future Music, we are seeing boutique festivals appearing like Electric Gardens, Pitch, Lost Paradise which is a healthy thing. How do you see the relationship of these festivals to the local scene?
CC: Big Stadium sized festivals are great and have their place but in a climate where the government is making it harder and more expensive to tour larger acts, it makes sense that these are refined back to a more manageable scale.
These smaller boutique festivals have a huge role to play in sustaining the scene on an international level, introducing new punters to amazing new artists and showcasing how strong the local support can be compared to on the international stage. It is really positive to see these festivals continuing to pop up and be successful, in the era of lockouts it provides a quality musical experience for people they otherwise might not get.
BBR: The BBR Locals Lounge at Electric Gardens will be a great way for some crews to get together and generate a decent vibe amongst a pretty high profile international line up. How many of these producers / DJs do you play frequently or find yourself influenced by?
CC: We really love and support BBR as you guys are always out fighting to showcase how much hidden talent we have in Sydney! The Electric Gardens lineup is really well curated musically and offers something for everyone which is very important for punter experience. Diversity and quality are 2 things that can make a festival. From a more personal taste point of view, we love the sounds of: &Me, AndHim, ANNA, Eelke Kleijn, Sasha, Guy J, Guy Mantzur to name a few.
BBR: And you will be going back to back with a like minded collective Pilot Co on the BBR Locals Lounge … how did you meet Pilot Co? Where is the musical overlap and synergies here?
CC: PilotCo are close friends, we have all played together before and at each others parties. This has brought a close music synergy between both crews. We all shares tastes ranging from funk, disco through all forms of house to tech house, minimal and techno. DJ wise, we enjoy sharing with PilotCo as they are really talented and have great taste!
BBR: Nothing better in the creative world than like minded people coming together over a common interest. What have been some of your memorable local collaborative parties during 2017?
CC: We have had some amazing parties at Tokyo Sing Song and at Peoples Club @ Good Bar. Every time we get together it seems to gel easily and we can push each other musically. We tend to pair up one CC DJ with one PC DJ to keep the nights sets as musically interesting as possible and to create a challenge for ourselves to work with different people and to improve through this.
BBR: What is on the horizon for Comfort Club in 2017?
CC: For January, we are having an all female event called ‘Comfy Grrrl’ on Sat Jan 7th which is a head nod to the all female Riot Grrrl events. This is a similar vibe but with electronic music instead of punk. We of course have our lovely support set with PilotCo for BBR at Electric Gardens on Sat Jan 28th. Plus also have a Comfort Club party lined up for January at Tokyo Sing Song with some stella local talent TBA.
In between these dates we may sneak in a cheeky pop up secret beach party too but keep Shhh bout this one ;).
For the rest of 2017 we are looking forward to putting on Comfort Club monthly at Tokyo Sing Song (usually the last Saturday of the month). We will also be putting on some other parties and doing some collaborations in between to keep things interesting and playing some fun support sets for friend’s events also. Looking forward to it!