To backtrack for a moment though – musically, life for Brendan began when he bought his first vinyl single with money given to him by his mum. “She actually gave me the money to buy a small toy way back when I was four years old,” he explains. “My mum always reminded me of that as my musical career progressed!” Indeed, he has moved from running his own mobile DJ business; to undertaking smaller and larger scale events that would ultimately see him release mixed compilation albums, own a record store and later kick another goal with his own label, PHD Digital Recordings which has had numerous #1 releases on dance portals around the world.
And that magical spirit – the sound – has always inspired him. While musically, the brand is associated with harder, more energetic electronic sounds, Brendan admits music has always been an inspiration and as such, narrowing his love down to a specific, single genre would be false economy. “It’s really shallow in my opinion,” he chimes. “Having been a part of the many changes in styles and sounds over the years has helped me to keep an open mind. There is music for any time and place, occasion and emotion. On a professional level I choose to work within the harder styles of electronic music but that’s not all I listen to. From a trance music point of view, the energy and emotion, the ambience and reaction it creates in a club environment is what appeals to me most. There are a lot of International artists and producers that this applies to as well and there are plenty of local producer that inspire me as well. All artists deserve our full respect.”
No doubt. So to celebrate the trademark’s 10th birthday, Brendan is all about a party. “We can’t just let ten years of PHD pass us by and not celebrate so I’ve been working hard on the party of a lifetime! I want a celebration party that will be remembered for years to come as well as setting a totally new benchmark for these kinds of events. I can’t reveal too much but I suggest people bring their cameras or wait for the DVD documentary to be released after the Melbourne gig! We are also proud to announce that for $5 extra, we will be giving the first 150 people an opportunity to upgrade their entry tickets to VIP, where our good friends from The Home Baking Company will be showcasing their selection of finger food.”
To be sure, Brendan has gone one better – commissioning another little surprise for fans. “The 10 Years of Pure Hard Dance double CD is what we’ve done.” The compilation will underpin the Australia-wide tour that will also take in Malaysia and potentially some other dates as well – and it’s available now. Brendan continues: “the first CD takes in the first ten years with every track being carefully selected to represent the entire period. From tracks that date right back to the beginning, to newer tracks people are hearing right now, each one is relevant and each will arouse memories of fans’ experience at our events in the past.”
The first CD features artists such as Technoboy, Scot Project, DJ Isaac, Cosmic Gate and many more which Brendan hopes will have punters listening to it for a while. The second CD represents tracks licensed and released on the PHD Digital imprint. Artists featured on this CD include Karpe-DM, DJ eM, DJ Husband, Bexta and Soul-T himself. “This CD makes a statement that Melbourne has the talent to take to the rest of the world,” says Brendan. “All of this, 38 tracks and an awesome 12 page full color lift out booklet will make this a double CD compilation that people will definitely want in their collection.”
That said, it hasn’t been easy to incorporate things across two CDs into a single, congruent whole. The scene has changed considerably, people have grown older and new fashion trends now reign across the airwaves. And Brendan agrees: “it would be lie for anyone to say the scene hasn’t changed. If the scene didn’t change then it would never progress and for something to never progress would be sad, boring and totally unnatural. The same applies to music. Sure people have fond memories of a particular sound or even an era that was years ago, it doesn’t mean that that was in fact the best time for music and the best days of the scene.”
“Different people perceive and expect different things from their clubbing experience. Fashion changes, music changes, people change. Even though the scene has become less of a priority for some people these days, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it doesn’t exist. There are still producers that are writing great music and promoters that are working very hard at putting on shows people will enjoy and talk about in years to come. I hope others would consider me as one of these people!”
So after it’s all said and done, is the lad happy about things right now? “I am stoked yes,” he professes proudly. “Ten years is a long time by any measure and particularly in the music scene where attention spans are low, music and people are always evolving and brand shelf life is usually limited. I am proud to say that most people have had some contact with PHD in their lives and I believe that this is a result of the admiration and respect I have shown the people that I have come into contact with.”
“We always book DJs to play that are always of the highest caliber possible; we always want to bring it to the punters and that helps people to believe in the love that the PHD family represents. Our many ‘sons and daughters’ are growing up; others have become our good friends and continue to follow us through our journey.”
Finally, he busts a few words on the local gig to celebrate all things PHD. And it would be remiss of us to dismiss his desire to marvel in the glory just a little more. “I’m looking forward to playing on the night; I am a flexible and versatile DJ and play according to my set time, venue and audience. I play old school trance, hard Trance or hardstyle anthems as well as the harder sounds coming out of Holland and Italy right now. In some sets, I will incorporate everything. The people in front of me are my priority during my set. I never plan things and I try very hard to please everyone. Most times I pull it off,” he adds in jest.
So expect the following on the night: “from the DJs and promoters, to the lighting guys and door staff, we are all really looking forward to PHD’s 10th Birthday party at The Hi-Fi. I am sparing no expense to make this a night to remember for all involved. I have people working with me that share my passion in relation to events. There will be caterers in the exclusive VIP area, stage and film production crews to DJs and promoters working in front and behind the scenes. You can also get your limited PHD merchandise online at pureharddance.com, at facebook.com/brendansoult or at any of the PHD 10 events. You can also get the CD at all good record stores and online. This night will raise the bar in big room events and will be talked about for many years to come!”