Kali is Sydney club life’s saving grace. The DJ has spent decades in the booth, and her unrelenting energy and elevated taste converge for local institution Picnic, which is now coming into its 10th year. Picnic has established itself as an event that pleasure seekers and dance-music enthusiasts can trust. It involves an event series, a touring company, a venue curator, a booking agency and, of course, the FBi Radio show, hosted by Kali herself.
Presenting the likes of DJ Harvey, Young Marco, Soichi Terada, DJ Sprinkles and Underground Resistance, Picnic's memorable parties always prove themselves to be more than an international name on a flyer. Kali’s unwavering loyalty to the Australian scene is best highlighted by the One Night Stand series. At these events a local selector guides the dance floor from open to close alongside unforgettable eight-hour marathons from the likes of Tornado Wallace, HMC, Simon Caldwell, Ben Fester and Kali herself.
While Picnic is ultimately about booking the right DJ for the right party, Kali’s is also responsible for another series: HER. A platform for awe-inspiring established and emerging female artists to do their thing, HER alumni include Lena Willikens and Jayda G and always include like-minded local supports.
Kali’s curatorial finesse has been sought by The Dolphin, Icebergs, Da Orazio and Da Maria Bali and Harpoon Harry, where she serves as music director.
Here’s a run-down of where you can catch her work at play around Sydney this month.
Outer Time Inner Space – Freda’s 6th Birthday Celebration
Pretty much one of the only places I get to outside work is Chippendale’s number-one party bar: Freda's! Six years in this city is a huge achievement and this place leads the way by putting on line-ups like this. Canada’s lo-fi house poster girl D.Tiffany, Melbourne’s Pjenné and OTIS’s Hugh will be side by side with my good friend Jon (Watts).
Picnic presents Peggy Gou + A Love From Outer Space
More often than not I’m not on the supports for our Picnic shows. This month is a bit different and I’m stoked to warm the floor for one of the hottest DJs on the planet right now, Peggy Gou. Seoul-born and raised, Gou hit the scene in London but is now based in Berlin. It’s her debut show in Sydney, too. In the side room at OAF we’ll be joined by the oasis of slowness, A Love From Outer Space, Andrew Weatherall’s epic side project with another talented Englishman, Sean Johnston. Understandably tickets are flying here.
As the venue booker for Harpoon Harry in Surry Hills, I get to book some extraordinary talent, like Munich-born DJ, singer and producer Virginia. The multi-talented DJ/singer has been a Panorama Bar resident DJ since she relocated to Berlin in 2012. Her hybrid sets bring a flavour that very few, if any, can replicate. Her unique sound, both recorded and live, keeps her in high demand with singles and albums on Ostgut Ton showcasing a broader musical narrative. Every Friday and Saturday we have the best DJs from Sydney, Melbourne and sometimes overseas playing for free at Harry’s.
Picnic One Night Stand with Andrew Weatherall
Picnic’s been invited to host a One Night Stand party in the studio of the Sydney Opera House. Long-standing Picnic artist London’s Andrew Weatherall will command the dance floor for the whole night. Although we have held parties in the Sydney Town Hall and other Sydney Festival venues, this one feels the most sacred of them all.
You can also hear me talk at a panel on Gender Inequality and Bias at Electronic Music Conference this year. Tickets are available here; it should be an illuminating conversation.
Kali’s Broadsheet playlist:
With such a huge month coming up I’ve chosen a short playlist of some of my favourite chilled tracks, or if not super chilled at least super deep. Maybe something nice to wind down to after a night of dancing, you can also hear these kinds of beauties woven into my FBi show.
Caravan – Casuarina
Caravan are two Sydney friends of mine, Paul Jextra and Mason Mulholland, and this EP on Ken Oath Records (run by two thirds of Rimbombo – DJ Earl Grey and James Greville) is super classy and I love it. The whole EP is a mid-tempo analogue dream.
Udmo – Slow Day (Albrecht La’Brooy’s Friday Arvo Knock Off)
Udmo is a Melbourne-based artist who recently released on Analogue Attic, another Melbourne-based label. This track is a remix by label heads Albrecht La’Brooy, and boy oh boy is this some almighty lushness. I’m particularly fond of meditative 10-minute journeys, and this is my latest obsession.
Melchior Sultana – Time Can Tell
I love everything about this artist. Beginning with his name and of course ending with the incredible deep house that he produces. House music that hits you in the heart with this depth and soul; I could have choose a good 10 tracks here.
Homero G. – Days of the D.C.C.
Loads of space, but somehow driving and of course super deep. Fair to say the music can do the talking here.
Grant – The Depth
Grant makes super-nice deep house. And this release of his No Lights EP on UK label Lobster Theremin (a renowned source of incredible off-kilter electronic music) is home to another beauty, Feelings. I could have easily chosen that, but I feel this one is bit more of the underdog of the release. All Grant’s releases are actually pure class, check him out.
Shades of Black – Make U Mine
Really, really beautiful ’90s deep house ‘outta the UK. Released on little-known label Intrigue, this soulful cut floats my boat.
Marvis Dee –Sleep Walking
This is a great example of loving one producer’s work across many aliases, and also the output of a label. Marvis Dee is an alias of Dutchman Jeremiah R, a more electro-focused platform, whose music I also die for. The sweet, soulful, warm analogue sounds of this project are where it’s at for me. And next up is one of his electro releases doing it for me too.
Jeremiah R – Journey Through Space and Time
I love electro, always have always will. It’s having a nice little resurgence ATM and as they often are, the Dutch are leading the pack.
Powder – Heart
Powder, the Japanese producer, is a woman after my own heart. She is honestly one of my favourite DJs and producers and I firmly believe she can do no wrong. So for that reason she gets the most energetic track here. But every release and DJ mix is perfect – so stalk the hell out of her.
Radiance – You’re My Number 1
Simply one of my favourite songs.