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Pullen Upwards

Scott Pullen is the man booking the DJs for the Bank Hotel’s new gay night, which opens this week, and he’s a DJ with a history longer than most.

“Back in those days I was DJing at Kinselas’ Middlebar and Kylie was in the thick of her relationship with Michael Hutchence,” says Pullen, describing just one of his close encounters with celebrity. “She was in the process of growing up and Michael introduced her to this whole other side. They used to come down all the time and just hang out and sit with me.”

Pullen is a DJ whose typical calendar oscillates from playing at a gay event to doing an A-list party – this was the case the week of our interview when he was in Melbourne for both the Melbourne Cup and the gay party Crash Palace. He insists that the key to a celebrity’s heart is to just treat them like you would anyone else. “I’ve done parties for Jamie Packer and worked with INXS and The Models, and you know, they really love it when they meet people who treat them normally.”

Take the case when Keanu Reeves wrapped up filming of one of The Matrix films at Fox Studios and wanted to throw a party up in north Queensland – who you gonna call? Pullen was flown up and was looked after “very well” by the Hollywood star (wink, wink, party favours) and in turn looked after the A-list crowd sonically.

What do you play at a party like that? He just played house, deeper progressive house and all the underground party beats he’d play at a Sydney dance party to the A-list party-goers, who included Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston. And who knows how often these people get to hear music like that? Later in the night, he was approached by a very satisfied Keanu Reeves, who brought his sleeve of personal CDs to the DJ booth and requested a few personal faves. Pullen says what ensued was “surreal” – he found himself bashing out skate punk metal to a crowd that surely must have resembled Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

When it comes to music his philosophy is that “there are only two types of music – good and bad, and not enough DJs take risks these days.” His open attitude to music was spawned back in ‘86-87 when he was among the very small handful of DJs still around who played at the early Hordern parties preceding the advent of house music, acid house or rave. “House music hadn’t even kicked in yet and probably didn’t kick in til ’89, so DJs were playing a mix,” he says, describing the scene. “I was playing ‘80s electronica like Depeche Mode and New Order mixed in with bands like Talking Heads and James Brown and hip hop.” But why? “If you were playing a three hour set you had to do that because there wasn’t much dance music to choose from!” he laughs. “I guess I have experienced a lot more styles of clubs and events than a lot of DJs, many just box themselves into a particular genre like vocal house or electro. There’s so much good music across so many different genres out there,” he insists. While you might hear him playing Latin tribal house at an outdoor party in Sydney, he ventures into deep progressive electro minimal tech at the Phoenix’s Action parties, where he often plays the closing set.

On the gay scene (and he is actually straight, by the way), Pullen has held numerous residencies which includes playing the terrace of Queer Nation, he played at a Mardi Gras 2007, ran his own nights Milk ‘n 2 Sugars, Smooch and iCandy, plays Action and promotes his own night Hazard at the Oxford on the first Saturday of every month – the December 1st party features himself, Sveta, Sista P and Mark Murphy on the wheels (or, increasingly, the CD players). And this week Pullen has booked the DJs for the new night Boy’s Night Out at the Bank Hotel for which he books the DJs, which is a lifeline to the Newtown gay community who are struggling with the closing of the Newtown Hotel.

He laughs when I call him a ‘true metrosexual DJ’ but there is an element of truth in that statement, and he admits he prefers to play in a gay or lesbian club than a straight club because he feels more comfortable there and finds it easier to relate to people’s headspaces. Unfortunately, it does mean he occasionally comes up against punters or begruntled gay DJs who would rather a straight DJ not be on their turf – even if he has experiences of gay Sydney nightlife from before they were born. But on the positive side, he says that he gets a lot of “good feeling” from knowing that he is being booked on the gay scene because of his “musical merit” and not necessarily his sexuality.

Yet it’s the new night at the Bank Hotel that will be this week’s hot talking point. With the controversial sudden closure of the much-loved Newtown Hotel and the renovations of the Imperial which could see it closed for many months, the timing is just right for a new night to bring the inner west queer community (and its lovers) back together.

“I think it’s really sad that the Newtown has closed down and I knew people who worked there, but it has happened unfortunately and so with nowhere in the inner west for guys to go we have marketed it towards the gay male community – given that Wednesday is lesbian night. It kicks off at 7pm with one DJ per night and it will go until it runs itself into the ground!” he laughs. “We’ll find out, but when you start a new night it’s organic, so if it gets bigger then we might need to put more DJs downstairs. We might, for instance, go from vocal house earlier in the night and then move into deep progressive techy electro vibes later in the night..” He adds with a laugh: “But it is a school night!”

Boy’s Night Out at Bank Hotel opens this Thursday with DJ Jason Barry and entry is free. Forthcoming DJs will include Chip, Terry Vietheer and Alex Taylor (who will play on December 13). Entry is free.

Scott Pullen also joins the line up at Summer Gay Day on December 1.

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Christian Taylor

Christian Taylor said on the 20th Nov, 2007

wow. hanging with kylie during the hutchence years - that's cool! looking forward to checking out the new night at the bank (along with every other gay male in sydney!)

genkij

genkij said on the 21st Nov, 2007

hey is fun & FUNKIE !!

Spiderkitten

Spiderkitten said on the 26th Feb, 2008

scotty i met you a few times back in the mn2s/qn days. you rocked! so many happy memories because of your sets. thanx xx