Q&A with…tim hardaker

From its humble beginnings in a Sydney bedroom back in 2000, inthemix has since grown to become Australia’s leading dance music website. To help celebrate their 10th birthday, beats & pieces quizzed former Editor and now General Manager, Tim Hardaker, about his who, what and where highlights and insights.

Favourite…local festival and why?

Underworld headlining the Boiler Room at the Big Day Out in 2003, that is still etched in mind as a pretty defining moment. And then, a couple of years later seeing Soulwax live for the first time (finally!) at the Big Day Out in 2006 – that’s still pretty fresh in my memory. Splendour In The Grass and Falls Festival have been fun too.

…overseas festival and why?

Fuji Rock in Japan, 2007. The location of the festival is absolutely breathtaking, and the line-up was incredible – everyone from New Order to Laurent Garnier. The fact it all happened in a country that has such an interesting – and from an outsider’s point of view, bizarre – culture was just the icing on the cake.

…album?

Of the past few years Moderat ‘Moderat’, Phoenix ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ and Gui Boratto ‘Chromophobia’. Of my introduction-to-dance-music era, Underworld ‘Everything Everything’ (live album) and Plump DJs ‘A Plump Night Out’. All time most favourite though, Radiohead ‘OK Computer’.

…album cover?

Hmmm, maybe I’ve become a by-product of the iPod generation, because I’m struggling to think of something that really stands out! It’s completely unrelated to dance music, but Tool ‘Lateralus’ has always been a favourite. It had all these amazing translucent layers and was done by the artist Alex Grey.

…DJ compilation?

Dave Clarke ‘World Service’ was pretty epic, I got it after seeing him for the first time back in 2001. And you can’t go past the Fabric and FabricLive series, there’s so many of them that have been great. My two favourites would be DJ Hype and Radioactive Man.

…track?

Such an impossible question to answer. Seriously, not even going to try and answer it!

…live act?

I think it’d have to be Soulwax. But there’s a lot that I’ve enjoyed. Seeing Daft Punk in Melbourne and Sydney a few years ago was pretty special, and Booka Shade always put on a great show.

…local DJ?

Bass Kleph. I loved him back when I was a bigtime breaks fanboy, and it’s been a real pleasure to watch the way he’s grown in that time. He’s also a great example of a producer who shifted his style, from breakbeat to 4/4, but still retains that unique quality that made him stand out right from the beginning.

…international DJ?

Personally, I don’t really find any one DJ has the ability to keep me interested beyond a few years. The DJs I like have changed in line with my musical tastes. 10 years ago it was Plump DJs and the Stanton Warriors, nowadays I’m not so blinkered, I wouldn’t go around saying I “only listen to X genre”. A couple that spring to mind: Modeselektor are great because they’re so diverse, and Dixon is amazing because his track selection is absolutely incredible.

Most annoying trend?

The fact that trends exist at all is pretty annoying… but having been in ‘the game’ now for a few years I guess the thing I find most perturbing is watching how cyclical everything is. At first I found it kind of depressing, but after a while you adjust to it and just have to learn to laugh. I’m serious about my job and what I do at inthemix, but I learnt a long time ago not to take music – broadly speaking – too seriously. It’s too emotionally draining!

Best job perk?

It would have to be overseas travel! But on a less superficial level, getting to work doing something that you love and that you’re passionate about is an amazing perk. Nothing will ever beat the feeling of being satisfied with your job.

Friendliest artist?

There’s a lot of people that I’ve become friendly with over my time at inthemix so it’s impossible to say just one. In general most people you come across in the industry are quite nice, but there are definitely egos from time to time. That’s where the ability to laugh at the absurdity of it all comes in handy.

Most memorable…interview?

A couple of years ago I was in New York, spending some time there before heading to the Winter Music Conference in Miami. I managed to get in touch with the local publicist for Armin van Buuren and arranged to interview him in his hotel before he played a gig that night. I’m not really a fan of his work, but I know that a lot of the inthemix audience are mad about him, so I made it a priority to get the interview done. It was snowing and his flight in had been delayed by about 5 hours, but I stuck it out and finally got 20 minutes with him in the very swish bar of a fancy boutique hotel somewhere in downtown NYC… it was all quite surreal. He told me during the interview that he would be touring Australia later that year doing his own ‘white party’ events. Immediately after the interview I raced back to where I was staying and had a news story up on the site within the hour. We were the first place to report on it, and everyone was quite excited about, so I felt pretty chuffed about that.

…forum moment?

There was a big rave called Ultraworld at Kryal Castle in Ballarat a few years back. There were some overdoses there, and in the wash-up the mainstream media – the Herald Sun, primarily – reported on it heavily. The paper’s “youth affairs reporter” decided to use comments made on the inthemix forums as a primary source for her sensationalist stories, and understandably our community got quite up in arms about it. They tracked down photos of the offending journalist and ‘photochopped’ her into some pretty amusing places, positions and scenarios… all of them, ultimately, quite offensive, but funny nonetheless.

Funniest…office moment?

Back when the office was on Oxford Street we were all crammed into a pretty small space. It wasn’t the nicest building and I can remember once a mouse ran out from the kitchen and started scurrying across the floor. While the rest of us were screaming and jumping up on chairs Kate, ITM’s long-time sales account manager, got a cardboard box and threw it over the mouse to contain it. She was planning to release it back into the wild, except she had snapped its neck with the edge of the box. She became known as ‘Killer Kate’ for a few weeks after that.

…club experience?

Watching people do the Bang Gang dance a few years back and realising they were 100% serious about it. Actually, any dance trend that people take deathly serious – shuffling, etc – makes me giggle a bit.

Proudest achievement?

Being part of the online juggernaut that is inthemix! When I started with the site in 2003 we would get around 60,000 visitors each month, we’re now getting up to 450,000 per month and it continues to grow.

b&p.

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