Shepz_ has been doing proper techno in Sydney for a good while and those familiar with his Church of Techno parties will know exactly how they go off. We caught up with the high priest for a special sermon..._
RR: Hey mate, good to see ya. Church of Techno has been representing the harder end of the house & tech spectrum in Sydney since 2010. Talk me through how it started.
Shepz: Well the party was born out of my experiences in London, where I used to go to heaps of daytime parties. When I arrived in Sydney, I was surprised that nothing like this was happening, not at the time anyway. This is a long time before the lockout laws almost destroyed the industry in Sydney - Spice was still running back then, which would take punters through to 10am but there was really nothing after. So the plan was originally to do a party that started at 10am and went on to 8pm, but in reality we found ourselves still going at 3am on Monday. Those were painful Mondays at the office job, but well worth it! The name was influenced by Daniele Papini's 'Church of Nonsense' track at the time and the event was on Sundays, so we went with Church of Techno - it just made sense.
RR: …and The Techno Bug moniker grew out of that?
Shepz: The Techno Bug was actually a name for parties that I used to run in London at Corsica Studios and 54 Commercial Street in the years before coming to Sydney. When we brought the Church of Techno brand in to the nightlife scene, it felt right to use another name to differentiate it from the Sunday day parties. It also allowed us to use really cool branding concepts, like mechanical bugs and bugged out graphics.
RR: So how do you think the techno scene has progressed in Sydney over the years?
Shepz: Now there's a loaded question haha! We've seen parties and brands come and go, we've seen things go up and down. I think the underground scene has flourished - like outdoor parties and warehouses, but the club scene has certainly taken a hit. Deep House and Tech House has dominated Sydney clubbing to be honest. It's unfortunate that the wider audience of punters in Sydney like to hear familiar tunes with the same DJs at Sydney clubs. And a lot of promoters have played it safe, especially after the lock out laws hit. There are some great parties happening right now though, like some of the warehouse parties. And I'm a really big fan of the .darkroom events, Gav really puts his heart and soul into it.
RR: You’ve brought some quality DJs over including one of our faves - Max Cooper. Which was the most memorable Church of Techno gig for you?
Shepz: Max Cooper is also one of my favourites. I'll never forget it, it was an honour to have Max play for us. Boris Brejcha was also pretty intense, the party was off chains! I'll always fondly remember the day parties we used to run on Sundays though - they were loose as hell, and damn good fun.
RR: Bass to Pain Converter is headlining your event this weekend - he’s been bringing the pain in Berlin and Australia for a while. What do you think we can expect from him?
Shepz: I think you can expect a lot of bass to be converted to pain, at 100% efficiency. He plays quite aggressively, just what you need to peak into your night. If the set at Dragon Dreaming Festival is anything to go by, you're in for a real treat!
RR: You’ll be supporting along with some other techno heavy hitters (including Qu-Zen, who we’re digging). How would you describe your sound?
Shepz: My sound would probably piss off the techno purists. I tend to go between darker minimal techno, techno and darker tech house sounds with a dabble of prog psy chucked in for good measure. Maybe I'd call it Bush Techno. I've got a more aggressive style of playing which works for me - I thrive on it and enjoy it.
RR: You’ve played some massive venues in London as well as a load of gigs in Australia. What would you say is your most memorable set?
Shepz: Rather than pin point it to any one set, I'd like to say that all of my outdoor sets at Australian doofs or festivals have topped my list of DJ sets. It gives me an opportunity to experiment a little more with my style, get a little more psychedelic in my approach. So in no order of preference: Psyfari, WI3RD, Dragon Dreaming, Subsonic.
RR: You’ve produced some tracks too, including your 11th Hour EP. Can we look forward to any more tracks from you in future?
Shepz: You certainly can - I'm in the process of finishing off a track for a various artists release on a bigger Australian label. I can't really name who until it's ready to be announced, but it's going to be a good release! I've also started learning the piano too, so that will no doubt influence some future stuff I'll be working on.
RR: Last question... if you could bring any one DJ over for Church of Techno in future, who would it be?
Shepz: Probably Kollectiv Turmstrasse - although not strictly techno, they'd be a solid booking. Other than that, I'd like to be able to book Dopamine again. Matty was a resident of ours in the early days of Church of Techno, and tore many a head apart at our parties over the years.
RR: Nice one. Cheers mate, catch you at the service!