“DJ’ing is the way I disconnect… for me, putting on headphones and stepping up to the decks is all it takes”.
As we close in on our Melbourne house and techno showcase at New Guernica on the 20th of October, we caught up with seasoned player Mensch (a.k.a. David Engel) to talk about his most memorable gig, favourite festival experience, albums and movie soundtracks... and how to achieve ‘flow’.
So, how did it all begin for Mensch?
On a whim, I downloaded Traktor for my iPad and just started messing about and mixing my music. Got hooked and here we are!
What, or who, would you say inspires you the most when it comes to DJ’ing?
From a personal perspective, DJ'ing is the way I disconnect. Once I get into a mix, the world just fades away (on a tangent, I'm reading an amazing book - "Stealing Fire" - that calls this trance-like state 'Flow'. Some people get it through meditation, others through drugs... for me, putting on headphones and stepping up to the decks is all it takes).
In terms of DJ's / producers that get me going, I really admire those who have their own ‘signature' sound - that that when you hear a track, you know it's them immediately. I'd put the likes of Superflu, Stephan Bodzin, Maceo Plex and Perfect Stranger into that category.
Favourite gig that you’ve played, ever?
Probably my first ever! With my crew “Tuckshop", we threw a party at Loop just after they installed their Void system (and before they got all their sound restrictions). The crowd, the sound, and the novelty of smashing a dance floor made it a really special experience.
For an honourable mention, I played a sunrise set on Monday morning at a Rainbow Serpent theme camp. There was only a small crowd, but they all stayed with me for the full 2 hours, and everything just ‘clicked'. To get scientific about it: we achieved 'group flow’.
What albums were you listening to growing up?
I'm a 90's kid from Chicago, so I was into hip-hop and grunge. Favourite early albums, in no particular order: Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind'; Sound Garden's ‘Badmotorfinger'; the 'Menace II Society' soundtrack; De La Soul's 'Three Feet High and Rising’.
I was listeningto Ton Loc, Young Mc, Das FX... you get the idea.
What is your number one “go to” track when DJ’ing that you can guarantee is a floorfiller?
Oooph that's like asking who's your favourite child! The obvious choice is Superflu's 'Reeves'. But one of my favourite secret weapons is Capulet's re-edit of 'What's a Girl To Do'. Must be handled with extreme care!
Superflu & andhim - “Reeves”
Favourite movie soundtrack?
'Dazed and Confused' and 'Menace II Society’.
The Australian dance music scene is moving more and more to outdoor (bush) festivals - tell us about your best festival experience?
It's a draw: I've just gotten back from Burningman, where Perfect Stranger put on a psy-trance masterclass that nearly broke me (and I don't even rate psy-trance)!
Before that, it was seeing Superflu into Peter Dundov Sunday avo at Rainbow Serpent... I get butterflies just remembering it.
What can we expect from a Mensch set?
Deep, resonating basslines, minimal melodies, and lots of cheeseball smiles.