Queer Nation at Home nightclub is tipped to be one Sydney’s hottest party tickets this Sunday as it launches the latest instalment in Mardi Gras’ annual party CD series, Party Anthems Volume 8.

This season, Mardi Gras dishes up its 2002 sound via uplifting house anthems from Jake Kilby and the hard, deep and sexy grooves of 2002’s Dome headliner Mandy Rollins. The DJs took some time out this week to explain the drive behind Volume 8.
I’ve really focused on the sexual, darker, dirtier side of music that represents the Dome, explains Rollins. But I’ve also done sets in the Hordern so there’s that side of me in the mix as well. On this CD I’m trying to represent the energy of both those venues. On a 70-minute CD, that was quite a difficult job.

Rollins’s 13-track CD weaves through deep funk and harder percussive tracks, including Superchumbo’s The Revolution, Tonto’s Drum from Eagles Prey and the [Love] Tattoo masterpiece Drop Some Drums.

Kilby takes us on a more upbeat tangent on Volume 8, his 11-track CD representing the sound of the RHI for the 2002 party. Uplifting music has become one of the trademarks that I’m recognised for and doing the RHI meant I really focused on getting a really upbeat, and I guess anthemic, sound for the CD, Kilby says. Crowd reaction always plays the biggest part in deciding how I lay out a set. I want to focus on just getting the place pumping because creating energy on the dancefloor is the most important part of what I do.

There were some tracks that were immediately earmarked as essential inclusions for the 2002 CDs by the DJs when they were faced with the project.

Rollins: What tracks first came to mind? [Love] Tattoo’s two tracks on the album -“ straight away. Drop Some Drums pretty much sums up what I’m about musically and that was probably my first choice and History Of Disco was my second choice because seeing Stephen [Allkins] playing down at the Phoenix and his sets in the Dome has been really influential, she says. Putting his tracks on the CD was a way of saying thank you for these tracks, thank you for what you you’ve done musically. It’s sort of a dedication to him.

Kilby: Movin’ Up by Mike Cruz is one of my all-time favourite songs -“ it’s just huge and the fact that I got the track approved for this CD was brilliant. I was also really pleased to get [the D-Bop mix of] Light Years by Kylie because it so rare -“ and you’ve got to love Kylie, everyone does, he laughs. Flawless by The Ones is one of those tracks that I get asked for all the time and I chose it because it’s lower in BPM range, but it’s a really solid house track and it shimmers. I thought that was a perfect start for the CD and I just built up from there.

Mardi Gras’ Party Anthems series stick to a tradition of drawing on only local DJ talent (a tradition broken only once by the guest appearance of Chicago house guru Frankie Knuckles on last year’s Mardi Gras CD). Kilby and Rollins both have their sentimental favourites in the series, although it was a hard call.

Kilby: I do have to say that Luke Leal has been a good friend of mine for years and I’ve always loved his music so I adore his Mardi Gras CD, he says. Then again, I really think DJ Sveta’s (Party Anthems 2000) and Annabelle Gaspar’s (2001) CDs were fantastic as well.

Rollins: Annabelle Gaspar’s CD last year was absolutely amazing and that was one of the first thoughts that came into my head when I was doing this CD. How do I top that?

I had to quickly squash those thoughts out of my head because we’re totally different types of DJs, we play our own styles. Still, that’s the one CD that absolutely blows me away.

Mardi Gras Party Anthems Volume 8 hits the stores on Monday. The launch party at Queer Nation on Sunday night features sets by Kilby and Rollins, as well as sets by 10 other leading Sydney DJs. MTV will film the launch, which will be hosted by drag superstars Verushka Darling and Claire de Lune. There will also be Volume 8 giveaways on the night.

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