From making Geelong dance to playing to a seated audience, local DJ explains how Covid has changed the scene

From making Geelong dance to playing to a seated audience, local DJ explains how Covid has changed the scene


The party is far from over.

Like many local artists who have forged a career in making people dance, Geelong-born DJ Brad Mayes has had to face this turbulent year head on. From playing at Babylon to live streaming throughout isolation, Mayes now faces the awkward task of performing live to a seated audience.

While COVID-19 has done it’s very best to shut the party down, Victoria’s nightlife is slowly making a comeback, yet the undeniable void in our hearts and dancefloors across local venues has not gone unnoticed.

Once filled with young adults’ shoulder to shoulder seen dancing all night to the sounds of Geelong veteran Brad Mayes, now legally permitted to stay seated.

Talking about the last dance, Mayes described how quickly the bustling club scene was struck down.

“Everything seemed to be pumping, the venues I was playing seemed to always be busy and have a diverse but like-minded crowd who just wanted to have a few cans and a dance.

“The intensity of the restrictions increased so quickly, one weekend you could have 500 people at a party and the next you could only leave your house for four reasons,” he said.

From being in the industry since 2015, Mayes has had to watch his friends grapple with the uncertainty of the entertainment sector while sharing in the joy of the slow return.

“It is super strange, but I am definitely more excited to be back.”

With the excitement comes new challenges particularly in engaging an audience who are often sectioned and ushered off the dancefloor by security.

“Punters not being able to dance definitely does not make it easy.

“In a normal gig you can gauge how you are going based on the crowd’s reaction, but with them all sitting down, it feels like they are not dancing because they are just not enjoying it.”

The absence of inebriated youths bumping and grinding on the dancefloor has seen house music replaced by more lounge styled tracks, something that has been prominent in Melbourne bars but had yet to make its mark in a pre-Covid Geelong.

Mayes fails to see longevity for local DJs under these restrictions with a greater demand for dance music.

“Everyone that I have spoken to has just been pissed off they cannot get up and boogie,” he said.

Rising to the challenge Mayes has diversified to conquer the imposing restrictions.

“I have always had a pretty broad taste in music but due to playing so many DJ gigs it was definitely more geared to dance music rather than anything else.

“Iso has been good in a way to explore other genres of music that are definitely getting more of a run now from me than they normally would,” he said.

Mayes misses the closeness of the mosh radiating with good vibrations and seeing everyone’s smiling faces as opposed to their backs in the dark corners of the venues like nowadays.

Despite all the uncertainty Mayes is convinced the party is far from over yet.

“I do not think the club scene has been forever changed, there is a certain feeling you get going to parties and clubs to see your favourite artists that just cannot be recreated through live streams or podcast recordings.

“It might take a while for people to venture out again, but we will definitely get back to normal.

“The first weekend of lifted restrictions we will dance again.”

Check out Brad Mayes’ latest mix below.

You can also follow Brad on Instagram here and follow his SoundCloud.

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