If you walk into Sugar on one its most decadent fixtures, you’ll find an army of robe-wearing dancers, kitsch 90’s props, and all around shitty (but glam) decorations. Will Young and Thomas Martin are the brains behind one of Adelaide’s fruitiest club-nights, Los Hedonistas, and are joined by rotating selectors – Pappi Del Pancake, Claude Von Reefer, Ricki Bizniss, Pierre Pressure, and Nan and Bet – to present some of most fluid and eclectic mixes in Adelaide’s dance underground.
Most of the regular selectors have releases on one of the cities strongest independents, Untzz Records. Many have also featured live on Boiler Room. As a group, they’ve put Adelaide on the map, and secured themselves at the forefront of the city’s house and techno scene through bleating cuts.
I met up with the brawn of the operation, Tom and Will, for a coffee. “I think the track of Los Hedonistas would be Outkast’s SpottieOttieDopaliscious or Standing in the Rain by Don Ray,” says Will. He cleaned a pair of cheetah sunglasses while Tom showed me his most recent tattoo – a fuchsia flamingo holding a martini.
“We just play the campest records we could possibly own,” says Tom.
“We get pretty camp,” reinforces Will.
Los Hedonistas’ official Facebook impressum is: “An irregular themed dance party for irregular people to dress and dance irregularly.” Punters should expect to be glittered-up, shimmy into questionable robes, and dance to sprawling genre-hopping selections, because, as the boys say: when you’ve already confronted looking like a dickhead, you can properly enjoy the music.
“The dressing up and the glitter is kind-of deliberate,” says Tom. “Nobody can take themselves too seriously when they look completely ridiculous.”
Los Hedonistas definitely doesn’t take itself seriously. With fluid or no set times, Pappi Del Pancake could mix jazz-fusion into afro, afro into techno, and techno into day-spa. “There was one night where for forty-five minutes Harry and Tommy were just playing the heaviest acid tunes back to back,” Will says. “But the club was packed and people were loving it.”
Los Hedonistas is managed by its regular rotating selectors and has been visited by international dons: Soul Clap, Mr Ties, Hunee. Tom tells me Marvin and Velentino from Public Possession were so happy to wear robes they argued over who got what. “As soon as Telephones turned up he was like: “Do you have a robe for me?”” adds Will.
Although the boys host serious techno projects, Los Hedonistas attempts to steer clear of the hardness that’s evolving around Adelaide’s underground. “I love a serious underground dance party where every track is techno and strictly for the heads,” says Tom. “But dance music can also be about having a really fun time and dancing like an idiot.”
“And it’s a different style of DJing”, Will purports. “I don’t think there’s ever just a time where one person is DJing besides a warm-up. If there’s a dance floor, there are multiple people putting on records and having fun behind the decks.”
Not everyone has taken kindly to the party, as some are offended against its liberal pillars of dress. “The glitter thing puts a lot of people off, ”says Tom. “People think they’re “raw” and “gangster”, where we just wear glitter and dress in robes.”
This acts as a filter. “We’ve never had any form of aggression,” says Tom. “People come up to us after and say, “Thanks for having us, we had a great time, we haven’t danced like that in years.” The dancing demographic sprawls from walk-ins to regulars, and even to regulars who make custom-made get-ups. “There’s this one guy who… makes his own custom robes covered in gold sequins. It’s fucking wild.” Will says.
The spot, Sugar nightclub, also fits. “Sugar has this stigma about it being a gay, hedonistic location,” says Will.
Tom agrees: “It’s a disco club. Sleazy and raw.” There’s proof of this in all its tropes: disco ball, multiple billiard tables, and art-nuveau décor.
But Will assures me they do take some things seriously. He says they’re releasing an album from Melbourne imprint, Rhythm Works, and that the vibe is eclectic – following a light to dark, genre-hopping hubris.
“Yeah,” Will says. “We wrote an album.”
Tom says, “We’ve got a seven-track LP coming out on—“
“It’s seven ya dickhead.”
As we argue whether an intro that lasts a minute-and-a-half should be considered a track, I’ve come to trust their judgement. Throwing parties under the banner of In The Deep End and Stake Night earned them recognition in Adelaide’s dance scene, and these current eclectic mixes and projects are proof Will and Tom are able to get past the significance and leave their egos at the door.
“I like that quote: leave your ego at the door,” says Tom.
“Just come in and let your inhibitions go,” affirms Will. “And have a fucking good time.”