Based in Melbourne, Australia and originating from Dublin, Graham O’Hanlon AKA DJ Grahamos, has been making his mark on the local scene performing regularly at events across the country such as Melbourne’s ‘White Noise’ and Darwin’s ‘Dirty Habbit’s’ parties, and is regularly featured alongside Australia’s best known DJs.
He is regularly invited to play guest slots on Australia’s own KissFM and Ireland’s ‘Carbon Tracks’ online radio and has cultivated a unique and mature musical style drawn from his years of collecting vinyl throughout the 90s. Back home in Ireland, Grahamos played at the Terrace Sessions in Waterford and was featured on Ireland’s legendary PowerFM, while promoting his own successful D&G Nights in Dublin. In 2011 he achieved a respectful second place in Pioneer’s Australian DJ Search cementing his reputation as a local favourite and respected DJ.
Hi Graham, thanks for taking the time out to chat to us at Decoded Magazine today. How’s your day been?
Great so far. Melbourne Cup day today the race that stops the nation or a day off for everyone. So drinks, BBQ and a sneaky bet maybe.
So tell us about yourself. What prompted you to start DJing?
I think when I was 13-14 my friend and I used to come by all these Drum & Bass mixes from the UK. Carl Cox Fantazia mixes, Mickey Finn, Fabio, Grooverider etc. This was my first taste of electronic music. I stopped watching Top of the Pops soon after hearing these tapes. That progressed into the Renaissance sound of Sasha & John Digweed and when I first start buying vinyl and mix compilations.
I didn’t have the cash for decks back then so I would play the vinyl on a standard player and at parties if friends had decks. I walked away from it and sold loads of my vinyl to travel and eventually move to Australia. Part of me regrets not giving it a real go at that time. Years later in 2007 I thought you know it’s never to late. So I went and got some CDJs and started again. I was still clued into the scene and listening to mixes through all them years but wanted to play myself.
Can you remember your first gig? What happened?
Me and a guy from school organised a couple of our own nights at home in Dublin. We would plan them when I was visiting Ireland and it would be mainly just for friends. Music would be a bit more toned down melodic and vocals. No hardcore Ecstasy moments. As it turned out the first one and the others went really well and I think they were great social events because I’d get to see all our friends on the same night that I wouldn’t get to see individually due to only being back for 4 weeks. MUSIC. Bringing people together!
Where did you go clubbing in Dublin, and who were the local guys that inspired you?
Everywhere. First and best times were in Columbia Mills(Waterfront) with Francois on a Friday and Mark Kavanagh and guests on a Saturday. They would go off every week and I’ll use the old cliché that everyone knew each other, but you did, and the atmosphere was life changing I suppose. There was also Sides, Shaft, Asylum, Tin Pan Alley, System, Temple Theatre and of course the Redbox. Guys like Liam Dollard, Dave McDonnell, Jonny Moy, Billy Scurry and Christian Boshell were week in week out producing the goods.
You now live in Melbourne and have carved out a pretty good career. Tell us about what prompted to move abroad and how difficult it was integrating into a new city and a new scene?
I always wanted to travel and the bug came pretty early. I wanted more out of life I think, seeing and experiencing other countries and cultures really appealed to me. So off we went and after a wicked couple of years travelling we decided to ground ourselves in Melbourne. Life was a bit hard at the start finding your bearings it really took over a year to really settle in fully. But we dug in are now blessed to live in the best city in the world. The scene here is quite different to home or Europe. We have some amazing DJs, producers and clubs but the crowds at home are definitely more up for it. So that was a bit of getting used too.
Can you tell us a little more about Melbourne? Where are your favourite places to hang out, grab a bite and party?
We live on the Mornington Peninsula, which is up there with the best spots in Australia. Even Carl Cox & Eric Powell moved here they loved it that much! ha ha.
Pristine beaches on the bay and ocean are a stone throw away (an Olympian stone throw). There are so many cafes, restaurants and vineyards to choose from including Crittenden which hosts Carl Cox and Eric Powell’s Mobile disco every February. Polperro is a favourite for a glass of wine on the deck overlooking the vineyard. A lot of them have their own restaurants as well.
Coffee culture is off the charts out here and Commonfolk roasters is a wicked warehouse cafe I would call second home. If I’m going the city it’s about an hour away so I save myself for special nights if I’m going in.
How do you find DJing to a live audience differs from Radio? Do you adjust your selections?
Obviously playing to a live audience a lot more has to be taken into account with the timeslot, the mood, reading the crowd and if you’re warming up for someone. With radio I think you have none of the above and little pressure, and you can play what you want without losing a dance floor. If people leave the dance floor there’s problems but if someone changes the station you’ll never know.
We ran a story a while back regarding the comments by UK urban DJ MistaJam about warm up DJs. Laurent Garnier among others have since come forward to offer opinions. How do you feel about warm ups? Are they curated with the attention they should be, or have we created a generation of DJs that don’t see the big picture and instead worry only about themselves and their fame?
Personally, I think its an honour and a challenge to warm up. Being given the opportunity to create a vibe at the start of a night is something to be proud of. Headlining will come to those who wait. I can only say positive things about the warm up DJ’s here for big international acts and I try to get there early to catch them.
If we created a generation of DJs that don’t see the big picture and instead worry only about themselves and their fame its up to the promoters/clubs to weed them out and give opportunities to guys or girls that are genuinely passionate about the music and not the fame.
We live in a different world to late 80s early 90s. Social media drives this obsession for fame. In a way were all guilty of it, some more than others, and I suppose this can take over some people and turn them into well, wankers. Maybe Craig Richards and Danny Howells should open a school and give lessons on how to warm up properly!
Tell us about your set up at home. Are there any cool bits of kit, or any you have your eye on?
I have 2 Pioneer CDJNXS 2000s with a DJM900NXS. I also have a Traktor x1 MK2 which is used with Traktor. I also use Rekordbox with a linked router as an alternative to using Traktor and I can easily switch between the two. I have this great free program on my Mac called Rekordbuddy which basically stores any cue points I have made on Traktor and transfers them to my Rekordbox so now you can view these cue points on the CDJ. I would love to get my hands on some Technics and start collecting vinyl again.
Talk us through your mix. Were the choices of track deliberate, or was this the result of a really good practice session?
Not at all I made this like any other mix. I’ll pick maybe 15-20 and just go from there. I usually always start with a good intro to set the tone something melodic that builds and flows to that first beat then just getting that groove building all the time. It’s amazing how much energy you can get out of 120BPM. It’s always one take unless the kids need me in the middle of a mix to sort out a doll malfunction or a lego car that needs urgent servicing!
Can you tell us about some of your clubbing adventures? Any cool tour stories?
We went to Twilo NYC in 1999. What a mad club. Can’t really remember all of that night but it was a mad place. 10 years of Acid House at Amnesia Ibiza headlined by Paul Oakenfold with some extremely dodgeball mixing but classics for nearly 8 hours. Odessa to Anyoona by Jam and Spoon followed by Hardfloor’s Acperience nearly broke me!
I think everybody and every DJ at Gatecrasher Summer Soundsystem in 2002 came over to watch Danny Tenaglia play for 10 hours. Everybody was on their death beds at the end and he stuck on Touch Me by Rui Da Silva followed by Adamski – Killer. Nearly 2000 people immediately rose from the dead back on there feet rocking.
At Sasha on Bondi beach 2001 we were all poor backpackers and couldn’t afford the ridiculous prices so along with a few hundred others stormed the boundary fences and had one of the best New Years ever. So many good times!
Ok, fantasy gig. Where would it be, who’s on the line up and why?
I’d have to say at Rippon Vineyard in Wanaka New Zealand. I’ve lived there for 2 years and its my favourite place in the world. It has this natural amphitheatre leading down to the lake surrounded by alpine snow peaks. Every season change is stunning. I’d have to start Jazzy Jeff on the wheels of steel with Greg Wilson, LNTG and Todd Terje during the the afternoon for that disco, indie vibe then some David morales B2B with Todd Terry for the some true house. Progressing into the evening for the serious shizzle with the best of Irish, Mano Le Tough, Chymera and The Drifter. Followed with Sasha & Digweed doing a part renaissance set. And Ben Klock B2B with Josh Wink to round it off. And the next day 10 hours of Coxy B2B with Danny Tenaglia for the craic! Too much?
Errrrrr…. hahaha. Works for us! Tough one now, whats your all time top 5 records. And what sets them apart?
Hate this. Records hit us at different times in our life so I’m going to go with 5 that remind me of certain times that stood out for me.
Spooky – Little Bullet (Live Version) – Charlie May is a god and this just sends the muscles into spasms every time I hear this. The girl’s vocal in the second half just takes it to a new level.
Orbital – Halcyon – Probably in everybody’s favourite list but deservedly so and if you have ever experienced it live you will no why.
Awex – It’s Our Future – When I used to go to the Waterfront in Dublin this was the anthem. Pure madness and destruction everyweek. Love it.
Incognito featuring Jocelyn Brown – Always There (Morales remix) – Along with Chaka Khan, Jocelyn Brown’s voice is incredible and when I heard this for the first time, it tripped a switch.
Hardfloor – Acperience – The Tsar bomb was the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated. Until Acperience came along and pissed all over it! Timeless classic.
Finally, where can we catch you playing this year?
My management team are working tirelessly round the clock for gigs hehe! Some Sunday sessions planned over the summer, and hopefully some festivals.
01// Stephan Bodzin – Powers Of Ten
02// Nil All – The Drifter
03// Fort Romeau – Insides (Roman Flugel Remix)
04// The Box – Sketches of Pain (Jon Charnis Remix)
05// E.L.F. – M (Copper Beard Rework)
06// Jacob Phono – Continuum
07// Oliver Huntemann – Filmriss
08// Marvin & Guy – Egoísta
09// Emerson Todd – Careless (Lancaster Remix)
10// Sasse & Maurice Aymard – Backwards (String Mix)
11// Bicep – Back 2 U (Instrumental)
12// Bicep – Back 2 U (Original mix)