Ollie Brooke is the resident DJ at one of Port Macquarie’s most popular nightspots, The Beach House.
> You have lived in Ireland and the UK; how did you come to live in Port Macquarie?
The short version is that I met my wife while she was travelling through Ireland (where I’m originally from). We hooked up, spent some time in Brighton in the UK together before maxing out our credit cards on the way back through Eastern Europe.
Luckily, Erin grew up in Port Macquarie, so we managed to move in with her parents while we sorted ourselves out and tried to clear the credit card debt. We thought about leaving for a while, but in light of the fact that we both managed to get into careers we are passionate about, we didn’t really see much point in leaving.
> You’ve made a career as a DJ for 11 years now. How did that come about?
I have been DJing for 11 years, yes, but I have only been able to call it a career for about the last 3. What drove me to make it my career was passion and focus. I really wanted to be in a position where I didn’t have to stand behind a bar or work in an office, and so I just applied myself to making it happen.
I ran my own nights and worked very hard to make sure I was doing everything I could to make it so I could earn a living out of it. It basically took 8 years of failing to do that before I cracked it. Passion drove me into the career, but persistence and dedication is what made it a reality.
> Tell us about the life of a DJ. What’s your normal day like?
I spend a lot of time listening to and searching for new music, working on my website, producing my own tracks, promoting Tonic as well as thinking of new ideas for tracks, website features, Tonic promotions, world domination tactics and life in general.
I also walk the dog, cook, clean and mow the lawn (as little as I can get away with).
Some days I work in the office at The Beach House, which is where I do most of my work for Tonic, and then I have anything from 2 to 4 days a week to myself, which is when I work on my music production and website.
> You’ve played alongside some well known DJs. Are there any experiences that stand out?
I think, so far, the best experience was when The Aston Shuffle played at Tonic. The highlight of their gig up here was after they’d played an awesome set (as anyone who was there will tell you) they themselves said it was among their most enjoyable gigs, as they never get to play that type of funky set in Sydney or at many festivals.
It made me pretty proud of the ground work and made me think that, yeah, despite the fact that Port Macquarie is a small town the people here know their stuff and know good music when they hear it. That made me pretty proud, and I was on a high for a couple of weeks after that!
> What do you enjoy most about your work?
One of the best things about DJing is on the Sunday afternoon gigs at The Beach House in the summer when little kids start dancing to the music. That makes me smile, ‘cause it’s pure and they’re genuinely getting into it and they’re uninhibited enough to not care what other people think.
It’s also pretty cool when oldies come up to me and tell me how much they like the tunes. Those people have been around for a while and have heard lots of fads and different styles of music, and for someone with that level of experience to tell you in the middle of the day when they’re stone cold sober that they’re loving it, well I reckon that’s pretty great, really …
> You’ve recently released the track Fireflies?
Fireflies is a track that I originally produced and released as an instrumental under the name ‘Infusion’. I always knew it needed a vocal and I heard this chick Nica Brooke (who is no relation of mine, funnily enough) doing the vocals on another track.
I sent her an email, not expecting much, and it turned out she loved the track. Within 2 weeks she’d emailed the full vocal for the track, and I went about getting some remixes for it.
The track got released through a Perth label called Brainkat Records and went pretty well, with Jay-J (a major US based House DJ and producer) charting the track at number 6 as well as receiving airplay on BBC Radio 1.
> Who inspires your work?
I take inspiration for my work from a number of sources. My beautiful wife Erin is my main source of inspiration, and I’m not saying that because I have to!
Another major source of inspiration is Port Macquarie and the sunshine I am experiencing in this awesome place (the sun is a mythical entity in Ireland; few people actually have seen it, and even fewer have lived to tell the tale).
My wife and I are expecting our first child later this year, and I’m finding that to be a pretty intense source of inspiration too.
> Tell us a little bit about your website ‘Pure House Music’ …
PureHouseMusic.net is a site I developed to be a space where I could engage with like-minded people and promote my work.
It’s grown a lot over the last 3 years since I set it up to the point where it now has over 3,000 registered users all over the world. Basically the site is a large community of people who like/love House Music, be they DJs or normal humans.
> What projects are you currently working on?
Tonic continues to consume a lot of my thinking time, as well as contacting agents, booking DJs and promoting the night while at the same time working on the rather hectic summer schedule.
I am also working on developing some new gigs at The Pier on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons.
I’m also in the middle of producing about 5 new tracks as part of my first album.
My website is an ongoing project and is perpetually in development as I add new features and functions in a bid to make it ‘the world’s greatest House Music website’.
What will be most interesting is how I’ll manage to continue to do all of this once the baby arrives!
> Thank you Ollie.