Wax, glorious wax. Anyone paying attention to the discourse surrounding music sales in recent years would’ve caught wind of the so-called vinyl resurgence. Not only has vinyl reclaimed its place as the preferred listening format, it’s quickly overtaken CDs as the go-to release method for young artists.
This Saturday, Adelaide’s vinyl-only indie imprint Untzz Twelve Inch takes over The Spice Cellar. Providing the entertainment for the evening will be two of the label’s founders, producers and DJs HVCK and Mic Mills.
“I think there has been a massive turn in recent years back towards buying and playing vinyl,” Mills says. “Personally I can’t stand browsing through digital music stores as there seems to be no quality control. When you press a record and it’s costing thousands of dollars it’s a massive risk, so a lot more thought goes into what you are releasing and there are a couple of layers of quality control.”
Mills’ recent single releases showcase his penchant for sample-heavy, soul-inflected house music, which harkens back to a sepia-tinged earlier era. Vinyl, therefore, seems the natural destination for these tracks. Not surprisingly, he prefers to spin records when DJing as well.
“I’m not a collector in the sense that I have to have everything, but I do end up buying quite a lot of records,” he says. “[When DJing] I definitely prefer to play wax, but end up playing a mixture as none of the unreleased stuff I play has been pressed and there are lots of tracks I like and want to play that I don’t own on wax.”
Mills and HVCK will run the gig as a back-to-back live and DJ set. Opting to perform in close coordination suggests that the pair has an in-depth understanding of one another’s taste and live approach. Even so, Mills says they won’t be figuring out a detailed strategy beforehand.
“DJ sets are barely pre-planned at all. Maybe one of us will say, ‘Keen to play wacky afro shit,’ or something, and we will both ride off that for a while, but that’s about all.
“The live show will have pre-planned elements scattered amongst heaps of improvised stuff. Completely pre-planning it would guarantee a safe show but we are more interested in the little moments of magic that happen when you just jam and go by feel.”
Untzz Twelve Inch was founded two years ago, essentially to serve the needs of Mills and HVCK as well as co-founders Babicka, Freddie Norwood and Dass. There were no initial plans for expansion, but the label has since stamped its name on releases from fellow Adelaide acts Francis Inferno Orchestra, LK and Furious Frank. This impressive roster of house producers draws attention to the City of Churches’ burgeoning underground club scene.
“The Adelaide scene is all about two clubs – Sugar on the east end and Cuckoo on the west end,” Mills explains. “There are some really great people here dedicated to bringing down the best acts, despite the fact that the population is so much smaller than Sydney or Melbourne. I’ve seen literally hundreds of interstate and international DJs at Sugar and Cuckoo, which are both quite intimate settings, meaning the experience is always really personal. That’s been really inspiring for me.”
Mills speaks proudly about the swell of activity in his hometown, but he’s not drawn towards any superfluous city-versus-city statements of superiority.
“I’ve had a great time both times I’ve been to Sydney. No major contrasts really. The parties I’ve played at in Sydney and the people I’ve met have actually reminded me quite a lot of Adelaide.”