Unknown Associates have been throwing parties in their native Wollongong for a decade and were the first crew to throw a weekly techno party – Institute Of Dance – which ran for five years and hosted names from Denis Sulta and Jayda G to DJ Boring and Patrick Topping. We caught up with them to discuss their latest release ‘Handle It’, their sound and more.

Hey guys, welcome to Music is 4 Lovers! What’s happening in your worlds?

G’day guys, thanks for having us. The world seems to be getting back to the way we love it. The music scene’s still in somewhat of a post-pandemic phase, but there’s more and more happening every week – so we’re stoked to be back releasing music, playing gigs and getting around the place. 

For those that might not have heard your music, how would you describe your sound?

It’s a homage to a lot of the sounds we’ve listened to since we started out djing or even just attending events around Sydney. Warehouse parties with our now close friends from Motorik Records and that type. It’s a late night/early morning vibe, keeping the party going with a growing use of elements throughout what’s usually a fairly long production. No hard sell though – give it a listen. 

You have thrown some huge parties in Wollongong and were the first to throw a weekly techno party. How did you get into the rave scene? Do remember your first party?

Yeah so we were djing around Wollongong / Sydney a bit. The places were flooded with DJs, promotors, and everyone was into the scene life. So much so that the limited house/techno labels in Sydney were hard to get releases out of, so we figured why not just do it ourselves? And the parties just naturally came along with that. The weekly techno affair called “Institute Of Dance” was a time that’s for sure. The memories of spending 5 years every Friday night with our friends is something we’ll never forget. Our first party was at the Grand Hotel and it was primarily an outdoor event, but it poured down buckets of rain. Something we came to call the Unknown curse because we seemed to have a talent of bringing rain to an event haha. But hey, it was still awesome, and over 300 parties later we’re still at it.`

You have a new EP coming out soon on your label Unknown Records. What can you tell us about the release?

We sure do. And we can’t wait for it to finally be here. We haven’t released any music in a while because it didn’t really make sense through the lockdowns, and as this is our 90th release we wanted it to be a special one. Backroom/warehouse techno, a driving low end and some pulsing synths probably sums it up.  

The record features remixes from underground mainstays Denney and Jacqui Cunningham, how did that come about?

For sure, Denney was touring Australia over the new year period. We had a NYE event he was playing for us. We’ve liked his sound for a while, and he’s a magician on the decks. Got chatting afterwards and he was happy to have us send over the mix for a listen and we’re stoked to have him on the pack. Jacqui is a long time friend, she runs parties in Sydney and we play at each others events often. She got straight onto it and delivered a sick mix.

Your label has released some great music from yourselves and the likes of Kolombo, Francis Xavier and more. What are some of the best and worst bits of running a label?

Best is the connections you make over the years. There’s something about helping someone getting their craft, their hours of hard work out to the world’s ears that’s really satisfying, and so many of the artists hold special memories with us. The worst part, if we had to choose one, it’s a lot of work – but well worth it.

Any up and coming Aussie talents that have caught your eye lately?

He’s well established now so probably not in this category but shout out to Luke Alessi, a Melbourne act who had his very first release with us. He goes from strength to strength with his production and performances. And is a hell of a guy.

Thanks so much for joining us today guys! Lastly, what’s in store for the rest of 2023?

Appreciate it guys. We’re currently on a tour run of shows around the release. Next stop with the Blueprint Sydney crew April 1st. Otherwise we’re back in the biz of releasing music more regularly, so we’re backed up with releases to get out and events coinciding – so it’s stacked! 

Unknown Associates ‘Handle It’ is out on 31st March via Unknown Records

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