Fiction Lab Australia LABCAST 03 - Clare Blake

by Isabel Thomson-Officer

Clare Blake has been playing the club and festival circuit in Melbourne and across Victoria for over a decade. Originally starting out playing psy-trance at small bush doofs throughout Victoria, Clare’s sound has evolved through prog and has settled with a passion for melodic techno and deep house beats. An impeccable selector, Clare has had the pleasure of playing stellar set at legendary music festivals such as Rainbow Serpent Festival.

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Currently a resident with Melbourne promoters Doesn’t Matter, she plays regularly at Melbourne clubs My Aeon, and New Guernica. The mix she’s put together is nothing short of impeccable track selection and we will be keeping a close eye out to see where her talents as a selector take her next as she makes the move across the Pacific to Canada early in 2018.  
FictionLab caught up with Clare to chat about what tracks she’s really into at the moment, her favorite Australian producers and what she’s looking forward to about exploring the underground scene in North America.

How would you describe the underground house and techno scene in Australia?
The scene has really taken off in Australia, especially in my hometown, Melbourne. We are getting more and more internationals here all the time, especially in summer when there are lots of outdoor gigs. On the local front, more and more Melbourne DJs are getting into production which is really great to see and hopefully will help us develop the scene even more.

How would you describe your sound? How has it evolved over the years?
I love a good bass line and I'm big on melody. In the past I’ve avoided playing vocal stuff but I’m coming around to it a little bit. As for my sound, it’s evolved a lot over the years. Not many people realize, but I used to play psy-trance when I first started out. Then I moved onto some prog-tech type stuff before discovering deep house and techno, which is what I mainly play today. 

Who are some of the Aussie up and coming DJ's and producers America and Australia should be paying attention to?
Definitely Retza. He is killing it at the moment with his recent releases on All Day I Dream and Kindisch. Uone has also released some really great tracks this year on his new record label, Beat & Path. There’s also a few lesser known, up-and-coming producers to watch out for: Caly Jandro, Lask, Little Furries, Matais. 

You've played some really iconic dance festivals like Rainbow Serpent and Burning Man. Do you have a standout memory from one of your sets?
Yeah! My first set at Rainbow Serpent Festival in 2015. I played to a packed dancefloor of fresh faces (at the start of the festival) so the crowd was really energetic. I was supposed to play for an hour and a half but the DJ after me didn’t show (unlucky for him!) so I got to play for an extra hour. I was really nervous so I had my set roughly planned out, but the last hour I just had to play stuff I was digging at the time. Funnily enough people told me afterwards they liked the last half better ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

You're a long time 'doofer'. Can you a) tell these Americans what on earth a 'doof' is, and b) how do you think the festival and 'doof 'scene has evolved in Australia?
Traditionally, a ‘doof’ was a party held in bushlands or at a relatively remote location. In the early days they were mostly psy-trance parties but recently, house and techno have started to take-over the outdoor festival line-ups. New festivals like Pitch are now bringing in lineups that even a few years ago we wouldn’t have imagined possible in Australia.

What tracks are you really into at the moment?
At the moment I’m loving: 
Super Flu “K5000”
Adana Twins “Uncompromising”
Jiggler  “Hidden Place” 
Red Axes “Sun My Sweet Sun” (Konstantin Sibold Afro Tech Mix) 
Fideles “The Border”

You're about to make the move to Canada later this year/early next. Are you familiar with what's going on in the underground scene over there? Any festivals on your bucket list to check out in North America?
The majority of my music inspiration comes from Europe, but I’m keen to hear what the US and Canada have to offer. I’d love to visit Toronto as I’ve heard good things about the scene there. I’m keen to check out AIM, Montréal Electronic Music Festival while I’m there and also head to New York as well.

Tell us about this exclusive mix you've put together (i.e. artists/tracks featured, the vibe, what inspired it etc.)
Most of my sets online are from festivals so they’re pretty high-energy. I wanted to go for something a little different for this mix -  it’s a lot more downtempo and melodic than what I’m used to playing so I had a lot of fun putting it together. It’s a mix of old and new tracks, with some new Tim Engelhardt, Midas 104, Rodriguez Jr. and Atish to name a few. Enjoy!
Track List:
Alexithymia (YokoO's Revisit) - YokoO, Retza
Educacion Positiva (El Mundo rmx) - Machino
Diagram - NTFO
Mohican - Modd
Purple Hills (YokoO Remix) - C.Vogt
Twiddles - atish
Dusk Till Dawn (Hraach Remix) - Lucefora
Antrazid - Sam Goku
Fluke - Rampa
Jello - Bebetta, CIOZ
Inner Child - Midas 104
5 Hours - CIOZ
Monticello - Rodriguez Jr.
Maks - Tim Engelhardt
Needin' Someone (Sascha Braemer Remix) - Phil Fuldner
The Resurrection of Ourselves (El Mundo Remix) - Rauschhaus