BOOGIE MONSTER (ALEX DIMITRIADES)
Perhaps wary of being stigmatised as an actor hitching a ride on another type of entertainment bandwagon, it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that Alex Dimitriades was brave enough to start DJing under his own name.
He needn’t have worried. Fellow DJs instantly talked up not only his credentials on the Technics 1200s, but also the breadth of his musical knowledge and the depth of a collection that has its roots in soul but reaches far beyond. Now he’s just wrapped up another stint of DJing and “pushing the boundaries of human possibility and acceptance” at Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival, where he was happy to “roll with the program” of pushing a more mainstream sound than that found on the obscurities he’s always on the hunt for.
Having the classics as well as the chinstroker’s delights is a result of a lifetime of digging, with his work as a DJ dating back to around the time he was plucked from obscurity to star alongside Claudia Karvan in The Heartbreak Kid in 1993.
“Only people who have known me really well or for a very long time understand just how much music has always been a part of my life, from as far back as I can remember,” Alex says. “But naturally when you have major commercial media networks jamming your name in lights to promote their latest product, it’d be fair to say that association is most likely to take precedence over all else.”
You get the sense that life up in those lights doesn’t sit easy with him, though he’s been a natural presence in front of the camera from that debut right up to his recent star turn in The Slap. The acting career did, however, come with the added bonus of helping fund his musical passion, allowing the kid who’d immersed himself in hip hop and street culture from the 1980s to start a vinyl addiction that seemed impossible when his mother raised him and his two siblings on the “bare essentials”.
“So the two things worked together hand in hand for me, quite nicely,” he says of acting and DJing, “as this newfound success also saw me travelling quite a bit, which in turn would greatly influence my style.” And as he was exploring different roles on-screen, he was concurrently digging deeper and deeper into the dusty confines of music history – in record stores and on the radio airwaves, when Discogs and SoundCloud were years way from being blips on the radar.
Hip hop led him to jazz-fusion and rare groove, before the arrival of acid house and techno in Sydney took him down the rabbitholes that open in Chicago and Detroit. “Twenty years and countless overseas trips later, with those building blocks laying the foundations for a now feverish desire for impossible to find rare soul, funk and disco, I’ve amassed a wealth of information and a wax collection I never could have dreamed of,” he says.
“And it never seems to end either,” he adds, of a life-long quest which recently saw him attain an ultra-rare 70s soul record from California Playboys which he’s still paying off a seller in Sweden for. “Even when you think you know it all, new and more obscure information constantly presents itself in some way shape or form. It may sound pretty funny but these last few years especially, I’ve become a proper Jedi funk magnet!”
“I’ve been posting a few things on the Facebook event page for kids to get a feel, but social networks are also a spotter’s playground for dope so therefore rarity tends to be the major driving force behind those particular selections. I’m not crazy about having/playing the same records as everybody else out there so generally only give away info on things that are impossible to find. Those signature boogie monster joints!”