Beats by Beat: FROCKUP shares an exclusive 90s German techno, prog and trance mix
23.03.2022

Beats by Beat: FROCKUP shares an exclusive 90s German techno, prog and trance mix

FROCKUP
Words by Sam Howard

FROCKUP is a colourful collective and platform created by three great friends, Ivy, Josh, Sean and James, born out of one of the city’s longest lockdowns as a way to not only kill time, but create a space for people to convey their experiences through a variety of mediums.

By taking part in FROCKUP events, listening to their streams, or just exploring the homepage, you can see some of the most humble and talented artists showcasing moments held in time as they convey their experiences via a range of compelling creative executions.

From art, to mixes and poems FROCKUP is about providing people with a place to share their creations in a form most aligned to them. The result is now a community network of creators, who are writing, painting or storytelling by day, then dancing and interacting at night.

We had an opportunity to interview James and Josh for our latest Beats by Beat series who also shared an epic mix fuelled by explorative downtempo tracks, followed by some 90s German prog, trance and techno sounds.

Get to know the best emerging Melbourne DJ talent through our Beats by Beat series here.

FROCKUP

FROCKUP has all kinds of creative executions, from art to mixes and poems. How exactly did the platform come together?

Josh: FROCKUP was cooked up deep in the second big lockdown by myself and James along with our two very good friends, Sean and Ivy. The birth of FROCKUP can be traced back to us having a hell of a lot more time on our hands but legally couldn’t spend any of it together. Around this time, a few of us dipped our toes into various creative pursuits, whether that be DJing, productions or writing.

So FROCKUP seemed like a great way to stay connected with each other while also providing a platform for people to share their art and creations.

James: Yes exactly what Josh said, it’s been such an incredible journey. And since we’ve launched FROCKUP in June 2020, we’ve met so many lovely people and formed some truly special relationships with them. Everytime I go out it’s great to see the same familiar faces, we chat about music and what we’re working on amongst other little things and it’s always a wholesome experience. I truly value these interactions and seeing how not only talented but genuine people are in the Naarm scene.

FROCKUP

Who have been your favourite people you’ve interviewed or types of art you’ve had on the platform?

James: One of my favourite interviews was with Signal, a local crew run by Claddy, HipHopHoe and Indicia. I’ve really admired them individually as artists as well as collective for a while now and was beyond excited when they asked for an interview.

I originally came across Claddy back in 2017 when I picked up a copy of the GlamouRatz EP on Public Possession from Skydiver Records, which is still one of my fave records to this day. In the interview, Niveen (HipHopHoe) offered some really interesting commentary on the scene and Signal’s holistic approach to improving accessibility, and working to dismantle the long-standing systemic barriers that continue to work against the inclusion and elevation of queer, POC and femme folk in the music industry.

Niveen expanded on these ideas through discussion on how the approach must go beyond lineup diversity quotas and instead encompass everything that goes into creating nightlife and nightlife spaces, from management, ticket prices, security and beyond.

Josh: For me personally, interviewing Cale Sexton ahead of the release of his SUSTAIN album late last year was a bit of a milestone. He’s one of the first artists I started vibing with when I eventually moved on from my old Melbourne bounce days and dipped into exploring our local house and techno scene.

Beyond that, he’s an incredibly talented musician, so it was undoubtedly very interesting to pick his brain in that respect.

FROCKUP

Even though you’re quite locally focused, you’ve interviewed artists like Jail Time Records in Cameroon – can you tell us about some of the international features?

James: It’s been so humbling interviewing people overseas and sharing our experiences in our respective cities. One of my favourite international features was when I interviewed Victor Kubin, a talented DJ and Producer based in Berlin and member of the Riot Collective – alongside fellow residents Ady Toledano, Borusiade, Charlotte Bendiks and Mauro Feola.

I was lucky enough to see him play at Renate back in 2018 and was simply blown away by his unique take on New Beat. However, although it’s been great interviewing international artists and labels, there’s also soooo much talent right here in Naarm so we’re trying to focus on that at the moment.

Josh: Yeah, I feel like the ramifications of the lockdowns caused everyone to look inward a lot more, so in terms of our little dance music scene, it put more emphasis on what was happening locally. This renewed focus on the wealth of talent within our own scene was absolutely a great thing. At the same time though, I feel like a city as small and isolated as Naarm does benefit from the rotation of fresh ideas and energy that international travel brings.

You have a spinoff project called New Neighbours interviewing migrant English students in Victoria, with an intention of celebrating the talented work of students from around the world who now call Melbourne home – some of it being presented in their own language. How did that series come about? And is it something you’ll be continuing with in the future?

James: Working on this project was truly special to me and I still feel so honored to be involved in it. It was led by myself and one of the other FROCKUP members, Sean, where we teamed up with AMEP (Adult Migrant English Program). We were given the opportunity to collaborate with their students and were invited to their classes, where we could hear all their wonderful ideas, talk about their experience in Australia and see their artwork. All of the students were so talented, with classes including a mix of musicians, producers, poets and artists.

In between lockdowns last year, we were able to physically meet all the students at their Croydon Campus and interview them about their favorite music and hopes for the future. It was such a special experience and I would love to continue doing it moving forward.

Across lockdowns you’ve been putting on live radio nights – can you tell us a bit about that?

Josh: Radio has been a core element of FROCKUP since the very beginning. Most of our major milestones were commemorated with radio broadcasts, and we’ve been keeping it going in various formats throughout our operation.

As both a listener and presenter, something about the radio is just so special. I think the interactive element of it through the live chat, made it particularly valuable during lockdown times. Additionally, the more relaxed, casual affair that it offers as a presenter makes it a lot of fun to put together and play.

The radio was a great way for us to connect with like-minded people, which was great when we were just starting out and didn’t really know anyone. For me personally, the ongoing nature of radio broadcasts is particularly important to how rewarding it is to be involved.

It was really touching to see the same presenters and listeners returning month after month to tune into our little radio station.

What’s your thoughts on the dance floor revival since the last lockdown? New and improved? Do we need more venues? What’s your general thoughts on the electronic scene right now in Naarm?

James: It’s always good to see the scene popping off, especially after countless lockdowns and an ongoing lack of support from the government. But I think since we came out of the most recent lockdown we’ve seen so many new and upcoming crews and more raves than ever, with an abundance of events in new and exciting locations.

Miscellania has been an unreal spot and has really gotten it right, even amidst countless postponed and canceled events and unfair liquor license changes. It’s definitely my favourite venue right now and I always feel safe and comfortable inside – the security, staff, events and bookings are all so well considered.

Some crews/labels I’ve really admired at the moment are Daisy Records, Resonance, Her, Luna Blessings, Signal and High Ground.

Josh: Yeah what James said! And to answer your other question, I think we could always use some more venues! I think in particular, we could benefit from more mid-sized venues with generous licensing agreements in place. But that’s probably the issue with it all, seeing new venues open up and struggle to reckon with our draconian licensing regulators is certainly going to be a bit of a turn off to anyone thinking of opening up a new venue.

It’s a bit ridiculous to force a club to close at 1am on a friday night, meanwhile, the pokies venue 400 meters away is allowed to crack on into the wee hours.

Can you tell us about this mix you’ve prepared?

James: We made this mix in July, 2021 and it features a lot of trance and techno sounds from the mid 90s. We started things pretty slow exploring some downtempo tracks we were digging at the time before taking the mix in a slightly heavier direction. The first track is an all time favorite of mine, one which I’ve always wanted to open a mix with. It’s IRM, The Actori, and features a deranged inner monologue of an actor about to take stage, before being slowly consumed by his own hubris.

The final track is an absolute classic Nurse with wound, Landed at Grandma’s, another experimental track unpacking the struggles of excessive thoughts. These two tracks act as a nice bookend for the mix and help guide its overall progression.

Another track we absolutely love in there is unreleased by local artist Al Dente (Neurocrank), which features the perfect intersection of dark proggy sounds and psy. Al Dente has had a huge 2021, both with his work for Neurocrank and as one half of Nebula – definitely keen for more releases from him over the coming year.

Beat Pops

What are three things you can’t live without?

Josh: Batch brew, olives, really soft pillows

Window or aisle seat? 

James: Perhaps aisle as I usually do little walks around the plane.

Josh: Window so then it’s easier to just conk out.

What’s inspiring you in life right now?

James: All the great parties happening in Naarm right now. It’s been difficult managing FROCKUP with my full time job, so any excuse to blow off some steam is always greatly appreciated.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

James: Never trust an electrician without eyebrows!

Josh: A falling knife has no handle.

Who would be your dream B2B?

 James: I would love to play alongside Tamo Sumo & Lakuti. I saw them play Christmas Night overseas and it was one of my favourite sets of all time! A back-to-back with a local artist would have to be Lizzynice as (like everyone here) I’m obsessed with her selections.

Josh: Although it likely would be a deeply humiliating experience for me, it’d have to be the late, great Andy Weatherall.

Check out FROCKUP here or follow them on Insta here.