Reigning from the suburbs of Melbourne, local tycoon Duane Bartolo is steadfastly becoming one of the state’s leading minimal DJs/Producers. With an infectiously fresh sound, the young talent is constantly pushing his artistry to further dimensions.

Surprisingly, while Duane has certainly cemented himself as a minimal master, his passion for music originated far from anything electronic. “I played piano and trumpet in primary school and percussion in high school” he says. “To be completely honest, my initial love was really for metal bands. Amity Affliction, Asking Alexandria, Ghost Inside and Rise Against to name a few. Even when I started going out I would only go to alternative clubs like Next and Bang.

One night I kicked on and ended up at Wah Wah Lounge. I was blown away and was almost instantly converted” Duane discloses. “I then started to go to Lady Luck, Korova and Poison Apple Saturdays. That’s where I first started paying attention to minimal. Watching the likes of Orkestrated, Keesh, Joel Fletcher and Will Sparks really triggered a love for the scene and what those artists were doing at the time. I’ll never forget one of my friends, Scott Fitz, was playing closing set at Lady Luck. A lot of people from my area used to go and the whole of downstairs was chanting his name. It gave me goose bumps and made me want to start producing.

Similar to many Melbourne producers, Duane’s learning journey began with self-education and following the lead of those already a part of the scene. “I taught myself how to DJ but I couldn’t take all the credit for producing” he humbly reveals. “I had a very basic lesson with another DJ named Karva. He taught me the very basics of Ableton. A year or so later I had a lesson with Zac Waters. We don’t make the same genre of music but he was able to teach me many skills that I could bring to my genre. After that it was all about practicing and practicing in my room trying to create unique originals and remixes.

Renowned in the nightclub scene for his three decks styled mixing, the local hero has grown into his own unique underground sound. “When I’m producing my music, I want it to feel like I’m in a dark corner of a club in the early hours of the morning, being overcome by strange sounds, heavy kick and bass” he says. Catching the attention of That Sound Agency in 2015, it’s clear that the hard work has paid off. “Getting the call from That Sound was honestly mind blowing. At the time I was the only minimal DJ on their roster and I was the first minimal DJ that they had been interested in signing. It really shocked me. It motivated me to keep producing and make them proud.”

“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the people that got around me.”

 

Last year also saw Duane’s fat beats and drunken synths topping the Beatport Minimal Charts. The track ‘Here To Move’ made #2, ‘Good For You’ reached #3 and ‘Head Fuck’ topped at #8. “Cracking the Top 10 in the Beatport Minimal Charts was an overwhelming feeling,” says Duane. “Towards the end of last year I was ranked #4 in the worldwide Minimal Artist Charts, I honestly couldn’t believe it. My mate Rory sent me a screen shot of the rankings and I thought he had photo-shopped my name up there. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the people that got around me.”

“Cancelling a festival or closing a club down will not stop the problem… they should introduce drug testing stations at festivals and other large venues, somewhere that people can test their recreational drugs.”

Boasting multiple residences across Victoria and tracks released via Flat Belly Recordings, Look Alive Recordings and Hungry Koala Records, Duane has definitely made his mark on the fast-growing scene. Unfortunately, dance related events are often entwined with various drug-related problems. “Personally I think it would be impossible to stop people taking drugs,” he asserts. “Cancelling a festival or closing a club down will not stop the problem. People will always find a way. However, I think they should introduce drug testing stations at festivals and other large venues, somewhere that people can test their recreational drugs.”

Clearly a firm believer in keeping the dream alive, Duane is in no rush to slow down and is set to take his tunes to Tasmania and Adelaide later this year. “I love seeing the differences of the nightlife in other states,” he says. “At the end of last year I played at Tension 8 in Sydney, alongside Kalus, Zac Depetro and Short Round. They don’t have any clubs dedicated to Minimal or Psy-Trance so we all felt very appreciated. Everyone we spoke to said how much they enjoyed the change and it was great to see a glimpse into the future of a genre that we all love to play.”

To find out about Duane’s upcoming gigs or for more information, head to his SoundCloud or Facebook page.