One of Australia and New Zealand’s most loved techno event, returns for its third year with another huge lineup. PURE, presented and curated by Carl Cox, Eric Powell of Bush Records and Richie McNeill of Hardware, will see Paco Osuna (Spain), Nastia (Ukraine) and Fabio Neural (Italy) take to the stage in 2018.
Celebrating techno and house music, PURE has quickly established itself as a ‘must attend’ event for dance music fans across the two countries, thanks to its reputation as an event where the audience can make a special connection with the DJs.
We chat to Australia’s own Eric Powell ahead of the event.
Hey Eric! Thanks for chatting to Forte mag! PURE is an event presented and curated by yourself, Carl Cox and Richie McNeill. What’s the process like in pulling this event together?
PURE is curated so we don’t just try and find the top five techno DJs; we go and listen to people play. We look around and we try and curate artists that can be either well-known and legendary, or someone like Nastia (who we saw playing in Ibiza last year) and now she’s really coming to and now she seems like an obvious person to add. Fabio [Neural] is just incredible; I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next 12-18 months he becomes one of the major DJ/producers around. We’re not just looking at the most popular DJs. There’s so many sit downs, emails and to-ing and fro-ing, and long discussions with curating – and that’s one of the things I enjoy about the event as well. We don’t necessarily take the easiest path in this!
You guys started with presenting Mobile Disco, how did you get into presenting PURE?
This is the third PURE, it started in 2016 and that one we had Joseph Capriati, an Italian DJ who was working his way to establish himself so he was fantastic. We also had Cam Bianchetti (DJ HMC) who I think is from Adelaide, and last year we had Adam Beyer.
The Mobile Disco that we do started out as just friends and family. Carl and I are from different parts of the UK so we had similar musical upbringings, references and influences and so we decided to do something fun and since then, it’s just grown… then we decided to do the techno thing and kind of bring it back to the music with PURE. I think there’s the space for different types of festivals, so we just want to bring events that don’t have any confetti cannons and it was more about the music rather than the show. Some DJs come out and have a show connected to lights and sounds and we just try to strip it all back and make it about the music; the DJ has no where to hide – a confetti canon isn’t going to help him here. PURE has grown into something that we wanted it to grow in, and we’re really happy it’s gone in this direction – it’s all about the music.
Do you need to prepare the performances for PURE?
As we are DJing, the show isn’t attached to a light show or anything so all of our sets can change from even just walking into the venue and just hearing what the other guys are playing and looking at the audience and see how they are responding and try to take them on a bit of a journey. I had some advice years and years ago and they just said ‘know the tracks that you’re going to play’ but that just means you can move them around and you can even replace them. You’ll always have some tracks that you want to play, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will – the audience might be looking for something else or you might want to take them in a different direction once you’re up there so really, you just have to have good music and good techno.
In saying that, I don’t think you should let an audience dictate what you’re going to play, but what you should definitely do is respect the audience and look at them and let them influence where you are going to go – but don’t let them dictate.
You and Carl seem to do a lot of things together and collaborating on multiple projects. What keeps you guys working together?
Well, it kind of started pretty organically and there’s a whole backstory to it, but there’s just a mutual appreciation for the music; he kind of gets what I get. We have similar influences, but of course there are tracks that he likes that I don’t like, and then there’s ones that I like that he doesn’t. But the collaboration has gone on a long time, and then I moved to Australia and Carl used to pop out to Australia just for a break and not tell anyone. People would be wondering where Carl was and he’d be in Mount Eliza of all places! Then one day he decided he wanted to come and live here and bought a house and then the collaboration continued. It could go on for ages; I have a genuine passion for music and a love of Carl’s music – techno, disco, jazz and funk. I just think of myself to be really fortunate on a daily basis to work in an industry that I have a passion for. We’re friends as well, so working with Carl and other people, there’s a lot to be said about it.
What’s plans for Eric Powell for the rest of year?
Carl and I have put together a group of live musicians from the UK and Australia for ‘MD Funk Connection’. We have an engineer-producer in the UK and an engineer-producer in Australia so we have the studio and we are able to get the musicians in, and that’s more jazz and funk focused. I have my label called Bush Records and Carl has his label Intec Digital so we’re releasing stuff all the time. We go to Bali in May for our Mobile Disco and then Ibiza in July for some techno stuff and then back here in November and all the stuff in between – so it is pretty busy but I love it!
Thanks for chatting! Any last words?
I’m just really looking forward to PURE again! We get to finish on a high. It seems so long when you’re looking forward to it and now it’s just around the corner. I can’t wait, I really can’t wait. And because I do have a real passion, I can’t wait to listen to Nastia and Paco and Fabio and see what they are going to do.
When & Where: Festival Hall, Melbourne – April 21.
Tickets on sale now: www.purecarlcox.com.au