It started with a party in Sydney called Friday Lite, where they played trap, rap, grime and other niche genres that so often go without their fair share of the limelight in clubs. Cass Navaro (Cache One) and Sally Lam (Sal) realised it was high time to rescue the nightlife in Melbourne from the house and techno hierarchy too and dreamt up the idea for their new art and music, ‘club experience’, Low Ton.
Forged to stimulate you ‘visually and physically’ – as well as sonically – through a mix of design, visual art, DJ sets and live performance, Low Ton 001 features a handful of well-known locals that are guaranteed to get things on the dancefloor ‘turning up’. Including: Nigerian-rap-superstar Sophiegrophy; trap and rap DJs with their ‘fingers on the pulse’, JRMN & Hvncoq; electronic-house duo Friendships; and low-key, eclectic-vibed solo performer Jalé.
‘In terms of the music, we felt there was a gap in Melbourne’s nightlife, and that a lot of our friends, family and people we admire don’t always fit into the house-and-techno demographic. So we wanted to create a party that champions other genres too.’ Explains Sal.
Catching up with the pair for Acclaim, we discussed what the deal is with the lack of genre-diversity in Melbourne, and what else they have in store for the Low Ton parties to come.
Hey Cass and Sal! Tell us what Low Ton party is all about – why did you decide to start it?
So Low Ton stemmed from a party that Cass used to run in Sydney. At the time it was rare to hear new rap music or experimental house music in clubs, so I was inspired to try and create a space which would blend a bunch of fringe-genres like Jersey, Grime, Nola-Bounce and others like that, inside a place that up-and-coming rappers, DJs and producers could do their thing – regardless of their nicheness.
Cool, so who are the performers for the first one and what inspired you to choose them?
Sophiegrophy is easily one of our favourite rappers in the country, and so was our obvious first choice to play LT. She’s just got so much vibe about her and really expresses herself in every sense of the word, and is always guaranteed to have a new look each time you see her. Part of the reason we decided to book a DJ set from Friendships was simply just to see what they would play. They have been a staple act in Melbourne for the last couple of years and we’ve been big fans of their incredible audio/visual performances, and they have excellent taste – so we’re extremely excited to have them curate our dancefloor. Jale is such an embodiment of what we wanted LT to sound like; we’ve been a fan of her incredible and eclectic selections for years
and it only felt right that she play the first party too. Lastly, JRMN & Hvncoq are two of our closest friends – so they will be regulars at our parties. They know how to turn up, have their fingers on the pulse of new rap and are two of the most fun people to turn a club inside out with.
How often will the parties occur?
If we can fill the niche we’re hoping to we’ll do them as often as we can!
And the visual elements?
The artwork for the first one is by a very talented 3D artist named Serwah Attafuah who is based in Sydney. We also have Maia Pookie on the team, a designer based in Melbourne, to decorate the club space to make it feel unique. We want you to feel like you are somewhere special – because you are! Going forward the visual aspect will always be really important to us and we’ll be collaborating with as many different artists as we can!
Sounds incredible! So, is the party for everyone, or is there a particular audience you had in mind when you planned it?
The short answer is yes – it is for everyone. We just want like-minded, nice people to feel at home with us regardless of who they are. Obviously no jerks, that’s basically our one rule. Musically the focus will be not just rap and grime but other niche styles of electronic club music; Baille, Jersey, Footwork, Juke, Ballroom and more.
Cool, I agree there is definitely more room for other types of music in the Melbourne scene! Do you have any exciting grand plans for Low Ton that we should look forward to down the track?
Eventually we’d like to get into working with international artists and touring/collaborating with like-minded creatives, as well as nurturing our artistic community locally, here in Australia, too! So stay tuned and watch this space!
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- Photography by: Nate Yasa