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Upfront: Kiti

Scene Queen

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Kiti has been a mainstay of the Melbourne music scene for the last 15 years. Her journey started at the of 13, entering the club world and quickly venturing into the prime era of early warehouse parties and raves. Listening to radio and frequenting record stores like Central Station gave Kiti access to new styles of music, eventually leading her to play her first DJ set at Horse Bazaar in 2002. Kiti has always operated on her own terms, opting to remain tactile during digital upgrades and remaining true to her taste despite ever-changing genre trends. Moving through the motions of clubs come and gone, she has transitioned with ease. From starting club nights Roxy and Loud at iconic Melbourne venue Honkytonks to frequenting lineups of popular contemporary nights such as Club Derange, Pleasure Planet, and Cool Room, Kiti continues to curate club culture with class.

When was your first gig and what style of music did you play?

It was in 2002 at Horse Bazaar. I played electro, electroclash, disco, and house. I took the needle off the record that was playing, thrice. I was very nervous and also a little drunk. I learned early on that they are not a great combo. It wasn’t all bad, people danced and I’ve continued [to DJ] from that day to now. I also had the “job” of playing one song before the lunch time recess bell in primary school in grade 5 and 6. I had a young mother and she shared her love of the disco and its music with me; all kinds of music really. I was very fortunate!

Was it difficult to get your hands on new music back then?

I discovered techno through listening to the radio and the natural progression of genres and dance music. And heavily frequenting record stores, Central Station in particular. You definitely had to wait for records, they had to be ordered. You had initially heard and recorded via tape from a radio show.

How did technology impact and influence your DJ career? How did things get easier and what became more difficult to do once things went digital?

I was one of the last to go digital simply because there were no turntables available any longer, so I was forced to. I didn’t like the change at first. I play both mediums these days, both CDs and vinyl. Still not a fan of USBs purely because I like tactile things and like to create piles as I play as I never pre-plan my sets. I like the freedom and letting the crowd be my guide.

You have been around for some truly iconic Melbourne clubs and scenes. What are some of your favourite scenes and clubs that aren’t around anymore?

Well, numero uno is Honkytonks. That place was home. The beginning of rave culture and warehouse parties, I was lucky enough to be there. I started clubbing at 13. How the hell did I get in anywhere?

Where are some of your favourite places to play at these days?

So many. The Bunker parties, Trough X, Pleasure Planet, Paradise, House of Mince, Machine, Death Disco, Cool Room and Club Derange.

Which is the most memorable party that you have thrown yourself?

A Dimension party at Revolver—Chiara Kickdrum’s first live gig with Jnett and Elisabeth Dixon live.

What do you feel has kept you secure in the Melbourne music scene? What is your point of difference as an artist?

It’s because I am what I do and I do what I am. I love my job. Bowie put it well in his tune ‘DJ’.

How do you maintain an active nightlife and DJ career and still maintain a regular social schedule? Any tips and tricks for people trying to have it all?

It can be hard sometimes but you just have to sleep, eat properly, exercise—all that stuff. And keep the drink card enthusiasm to once a week and not four!

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Kiti plays at ‘Stranger in Paradise’ at The Gaso on May 6. Get your tickets from Paradise here.

  • Photography: Alix Ouellet

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