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Michael Mayer speaks out on Sydney’s lockouts ahead of his Australian shows

Ten o’ clock at night in Melbourne is midday in Cologne, Germany, and your humble writer is as exhausted from a day’s work as DJ Michael Mayer is from his previous night’s performance.

The German electro master begins with talk of Cologne’s activities over the weekend. “It’s been Carnivale,” Mayer says. “It’s insane what’s going on here, it’s like one week of total debauchery. Everyone is getting disguised and drunk. It’s a fun thing, a Catholic tradition.
 
“Conservative people, they go nuts for a week then they go to church and beg for forgiveness.”
 
It’s both reassuring and disappointing when Mayer says he’s done nothing to warrant the need to beg for forgiveness. Mayer may have, however, had a hand in stimulating the impiety, hosting and performing at the big Carnivale opening party, a tradition he’s kept for over two decades.
 
“It’s a fine line,” says Mayer. “I don’t like to be one of those DJs who’s like, ‘Whoa, kids. Listen to this, it’s better than what you’re listening to.’ It’s more like, the great thing about being a DJ, you get to play your favourite music, music that’s completely unknown to the audience and they still dance to it and enjoy it.
 
“The great thing about our scene is the open mindedness and curiosity. That’s where you get the chance to play stuff no one expects – carte blanche, so to say. I think it’s your duty as a DJ to play as upfront music as possible without boring the crowd to death.”
 
Evidently, Mayer’s sets are far from boring. Already this year he’s performed in Mexico and several cities around Europe, jetting off most weekends and giving fans the best party possible. “I usually do three or four bigger tours in the year and the rest of the year is one-hour flights within Europe. It’s very comfortable for DJs to live in Europe, to not always have to take long haul flights.”
 
This month will see Mayer embarking on one of those ‘not always’ trips as he jets on over to Australia for a string of shows. Mayer is a little disenchanted with the comparisons he’s forced to draw between his Australian and European fans. “There’s an unfortunate difference right now, especially in Sydney thanks to the lockouts – I knew that city from the times before the laws happened and I really hope, someday soon, this will be reverted.”
 
With the ever present threat of lockout laws being implemented in other cities across the country, Mayer, exposing the educator within, is quick to defend the very nature of his craft and how such ridiculousness affects the energy and crowd at his shows. “We’re talking about night music here. This music was made to be consumed at night-time.
“There’s a whole breed of music that is made solely to be played in the small hours, a culture that is not created for a three-hour party in the early evening. I personally enjoy playing very long sets; I don’t play less than four hours and often play eight or ten hours. It’s something I specialise in and love doing.”
 
Distain for our laws put aside, Mayer fervently wants to let Australian fans know he is very much looking forward to his shows here. “The Australian crowd are a very enthusiastic crowd. There’s a lot of great music coming from Australia now – Jagwar Ma, they’re an amazing Aussie band.
 
“I can firmly say I have friends in Australia, so Australian tours are always a lot of fun and great quality time with people close to my heart.”
 
By Anna Wilson

Michael Mayer will perform at Babylon Festival, taking place in Carapooee West, Victoria from Friday March 10 until Monday March 13. He’ll headline Piknic Electronik at Sidney Myer Music Bowl on Monday March 13.