I Oh You Turns 4, Celebrates By Going Underground
Melbourne-based label and tour company I Oh You turns four this year – and are celebrating by throwing one of their infamous dance parties which are held at unorthodox venues.
This one is inside Flagstaff Train Station in the city as part of Melbourne Music Week on Saturday November 16. Performing are Yacht Club DJs, Gold Fields, Northeast Party House, City Calm Down, Neon Love (doing a one-off reunion show), SNKDKTL DJs, Indian Summer and Acolyte.
I Oh You founder Johann Ponniah explains, “When Melbourne Music Week approached us about getting involved in their label series with a party, there was one setting I wanted – in the city’s underground.”
Flagstaff Train Station worked because no trains operate through it on the weekends. The I Oh You start setting up at 3am on the day for the set-up before the party kicks off that night at 8pm. The whole event will be filmed and posted online.
I Oh You started in late 2009 when four friends who shared a house in Richmond (28 Brighton Street if you must know) received the final notice for an overdue gas bill. None had the money to pay. So they threw a house party, got Neon Love and Comic Sans to play, and charged a donation entry of $10. Over 200 people crammed in – including the Richmond Police who arrived after numerous complaints from neighbours.
It seemed a decent and lucrative way to make money. More parties followed at larger venues starring the likes of Foals, Yeasayer, OFWGKTA, The Drums. I Oh You promoted tours by Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Bass Drum of Death and EarlWolf.
They set up a record label, now part of the Mushroom Group, which signed DZ Deathrays, Snakadaktal, Violent Soho and City Calm Down. Stylistically different but with each with a strong sense of DIY and a “brat” mentality.
Ponniah took his inspiration from labels as Below Par, Epitaph and Boomtown. “They were more than just labels to me, they were brands who just gave you a sense of experience and connected with people on more levels than just music. My approach to the bands we sign are that they appeal to my peers, people who like to go out and have fun and whose musical tastes are a little left from centre perhaps.
“I’m too close to I Oh You to know exactly what we’ve necessarily achieved but it’s always nice when people say we’ve done well. I just work at achieving the goals we set for ourselves and then setting up another goal when we get there. Winning an ARIA was one, which DZ Deathrays did last year (for best hard rock/ heavy metal album for Bloodstreams). The next is to get a gold record and to try and promote tours for acts we love in venues bigger than the last.”