Sydney DJ Stephen Allkins, the man behind dance outfit Love Tattoo, did his first shift on a set of decks at Palms on Oxford Street back in 1978.
He’s been hooked on DJing ever since, and 28 years later his enthusiasm is showing no sign of letting up.
Allkins, 45, has just released his second full-length album under the Love Tattoo moniker, Body Work.
The first album featured the international dance hits Bass Has Got Me Movin’ and Drop Some Drums.
However, Allkins said he didn’t feel any pressure to follow up the success of those tracks this time around.
With Drop Some Drums I wanted to show people what real tribal was. But where do you go with tribal after that? This album was made to be sexier and a bit slower. I didn’t want to do Drop Some Drums 2 and Bass Has Got Me Movin’ 2, he said.
I’ve gone in a different direction. After DJing for 28 years I know all the styles. Every track has a different feel.
Body Work covers musical genres from the three decades of Allkins’s career, including disco, rock, electro and jungle house.
I love rock with big guitars as much as I love soulful black women singing, or percussion. But I see them all on a level playing field. I’m just a music lover in general. I love everything, he said.
Since that first gig at Palms (which he said hasn’t changed a bit since 78), he’s played just about every gay venue in Sydney. His favourite, however, is Phoenix, which he loves for its intimacy and the clients.
But the gig he’s most remembered for was his Sunday night residency at Sublime in the 90s when it was situated on Pitt Street in the city. It was famous for its tribal house music and its diverse queer crowd.
You don’t know how many people have told me Sundays at Sublime was the best thing ever, Allkins said.
Whether you were a DCM person or a Phoenix person, it was just an amazing night. You got the muscle people and the kooky types and some straight people. I love that melting pot of everybody mixing into a club and becoming one.
That’s what I’m getting back into, and that’s really where I come from. More funky, left of centre, arts-based stuff.
Body Work is available in CD stores now. Stephen Allkins is playing at Superstition this Friday 12 May and Misfits on 10 June.