It’s Now or Never for CC:DISCO!: ‘I feel completely honoured’

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It’s Now or Never for CC:DISCO!: ‘I feel completely honoured’

Words by Jacob McCormack

Now or Never festival - presented by the City of Melbourne - will take over iconic buildings, beloved venues and unassuming spaces to present the futuristic ideas, art and concepts of a wealth of domestic and international artists from August 17 – September 2.

Over 300 Australian and international sonic and visual creatives and composers have stocked the Now or Never lineup, in an expansive and transcendental celebration of digital art and future thinking.

Nestled among the festival’s vibrant and eclectic offerings is a carefully curated ode to dance music co-presented by Untitled. On Saturday August 26, a night of exceptional electronic music will transform the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, featuring the likes of Âme (live), George FitzGerald, Ayebatonye and dameeeela, the potent lineup is highlighted by CC:DISCO!

CC currently resides in Lisbon, having farewelled Naarm’s nightlife and the beloved studios of PBS. Now,  in a homecoming like no other, she’s certain that the night will be a spectacle, paying homage to dance music in an authentic way, while transforming the Royal Exhibition Building.

“It’s nice to be coming home for something like that,” says CC. “I imagine they’ve got a state-of-the-art team working on the sound as well, just to make the whole experience 10 out of 10.”

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CC has been shining through the cracks of modern disco music for years now. In 2023, her most significant achievement is not solely confined to playing at major festivals like Glastonbury, Oasis, Lost Village, and Kala. Rather, it has manifested in the many ways in which CC remains involved in the global dance music community. The fact that she is not only an acclaimed DJ, but also a radio host, curator, label head and party promoter.

It’s a seemingly unbreakable connection that was established as a child upon the discovery of disco music.

“Well, technically I was obsessed with this one tape when I was a young kid,” she says. “That was a disco mix tape. It featured Womack and Womack, Rasputin, Amy Stewart, all the hits. I was obsessed with this tape, and then I went into bands and, you know, was into punk music and all that.

“Then I went to the DJ scene, I saw people playing house and techno a lot and I finally dug a bit deeper, and I saw people playing disco and I was like ‘Oh this is what I want and obviously like’.

“For me, I just like the happiness, I really like happy music.”

“I mean, don’t get me wrong I go clubbing and I love techno,” she says. “But for me to play music, it has to feel a certain way, and that usually comes from a happy starting point. Inclusive of really big drums and lots of vocals. Everything I play is centred around happy and uplifting music. I do go into other territories, but disco is definitely the foundation for everything.”

As she delved deeper into her passion for disco, it was the history – followed by a subsequent pilgrimage – that affirmed her resonance with the historically rich dance music.

“Once you start digging deeper,” she says. “You find out about where it’s all from and you look to the New York scene back in the 80s and that just resonates with me, that whole culture, it resonated a lot more with me than any other culture. Disco, and all stories that are housed in disco music, is a part of history that you can’t really deny.

“When I was doing the PBS show Smoke and Mirrors back in the day I would go on trips to America. I learned that you can’t just play this music, you have to learn about it. You have to see where it’s from. I would go to America to buy records and to learn about disco.

“One time I went to Chicago and ended up at this party that the Blessed Madonna said ‘you’ve got to go to if you’re going to America’. It was called The Chosen Few and there were 20,000 or so people there who were all over the age of 40. Every disco and house act from around Chicago and New York, like Evelyn Champagne King, Jamie Principle and Masters At Work.

“I was the odd one out from Australia, just like a bright-eyed possum. I’d never seen anything like that in Australia before. We play all this music and then to actually see this in real life and see these people who created it made me realise why I do it.”

In her new home, convenient for travelling to European festivals and North American parties alike, she has firmly established herself as one of Australia’s greatest DJs.

Adding a string to her bow, CC:DISCO! has also just released her first original disco double single to widespread acclaim. Title track Chez Moi (Waiting For You) features a collaboration with one half of Confidence Man, Janet Planet, creating a classic disco track teeming with romance and euphoria. On the flip side, heavier track Out Of Your Mind, joyfully replicates the house music of New York City.

Despite her global achievements and accolades, CC remains grateful to be able to share music with the audience that nourished her career.

“I’m honoured,” she says. “Melbourne was my home for so long and I got my whole career through Melbourne, so being asked to come back and do something like this – I feel completely honoured. I’m really stoked that I’m still thought of, and no one’s forgotten me just yet, which is great.”

Now or Never runs from August 17 to September 2 in venues around Melbourne, view the full program here. Get your tickets to see CC:DISCO!, Âme (live), George FitzGerald, Ayebatonye and dameeeela at the Royal Exhibition Building here.

Beat is an official media partner of Now or Never.