Getting industrial with Synesthetic
Synesthetic creates environments that “blur the lines between” the senses. The name itself is derived from synesthesia, the condition where senses blur, conjoin and interact among themselves.
Featuring a lineup of multi-talented visual and musical artists, Synesthetic put their own spin on club nights with uniquely themed events, from jungle scapes to exploring space and the movement of futurism.
We caught up with the collective about their inspirations, philosophies and new choice of venue ahead of their next event, Industria, coming up on Friday, October 5 at Groundfloor.
South of the City: How did Synesthetic first come about?
Ollie: I envisioned the idea of spawning something like Synesthetic half way through last year. Melbourne’s underground club scene was thriving and it still is today. However, despite everything going on, I strongly felt that myself and the rest of the collective had a place within the scene to express who we are and bring something unique and adventurous to the table.
It was during a night out with all of us that I brought up the idea to everyone. Despite initially being nervous that they wouldn’t be as on board, the excitement that they all had was warming and it gave me the inspiration to begin planning and formulating ideas for how we could stand out.
We each bring something different to the planning and execution side of things, and we all have talents in certain areas that allow for each party to feel cohesive and strong through a multitude of senses. This is what we envisioned with the name Synesthetic; to be 'synesthetic' defines someone whose senses interact and work with one another to ultimately evoke the feeling that no single perception is isolated.
Ultimately, this is what we want to achieve with our parties, to allow for each attendee to feel comfort and pleasure in more than simply just sight or hearing, but in all of their senses throughout the evening.
SOC: Who are the people behind the event?
Ollie: Spencer Dawson is one half of Synesthetic-resident-DJ-duo; Jurassic, who brings vibes to the dance floor with creative and eclectic selections. Spencer also lends his skills as an artist in assisting with poster design, installations, and formulating themes for each evening. His installation works make each night as immersive and true to our themes as possible.
Sean Jennings is the other half of Jurassic. The duo specialise in a range of genres, but tend to stay true to a techno/electro-infused sound, but can change the flavour depending on the theme of the evening. Sean handles the Soundcloud page and uses his keen ear for good music to invite guests to take part in our monthly radio series.
Inès Ting is one of our artists, and the founder of artistic label XENIX. She assists with poster design, creation of themes for parties, installations, and provides pieces for exhibition. Her eerie style is instantly recognisable, and her caricatures have become intertwined with our identity.
Wade Malligan is best known for his photography, both digital & analogue, having chronicled many of Synesthetic’s parties. He has also exhibited some of his artworks at our parties, along with a mix for the monthly Synesthetic Radio. Expect to see him delve into his collection of hypnotic techno records for his debut set in the near future.
Alec Wilson is in charge of visual media for Synesthetic, having gained professional experience and exposure through his own venture, Alec Wilson Media. This includes promotional videos, video documentation of parties, and the creation of visuals which are displayed at our events.
I’m also one of Synesthetic’s resident DJ’s - Olivér. I have a broad taste in music and a keen ear so I can play the music I enjoy, and this passion creates an energy which dance-floors can’t help but reciprocate. I also handle the majority of the admin work needed to plan events and create networks within the scene.
SOC: Your events have previously been held at venues in the CBD, what made you choose Groundfloor on this occasion?
Ines: Groundfloor will be an exciting change in scenery from where we were previously hosting events, at Lounge on Swanston Street in the CBD. The change of venue provides a new space to work with and for the crowd to emerge in.
Tying into our theme of ‘Industria’, Groundfloor’s back alley entrance, underground space and warehouse feel is perfectly suited. An intimate atmosphere with Funktion-One speakers and multiple possibilities for art installations allows all the music and art to be of quality experience.
SOC: Where do you find the inspiration for the themes for each event?
Spencer: At first, our art themes were directly correlated to the venue with the first real theme being jungle. Jungle fit perfectly with Bamboo Bean cafe as it had bamboo fences and palm trees scattered throughout the beer garden. Only the addition of some animal props and vines did it really pop out with the “Jungle” theme.
The transition into Lounge created a lot of potential for themes, as the space was loaded with hooks and places to hang installations from. Inspiration for themes mostly came from the 20th Century art movements, most recognisably being De Stijl (international style), and Futurism. Basing the themes on these movements made it quite easy to find ideas for installations as the evidence of the art movement was immense, ranging from fashion to fine arts.
To boil it all down, our themes are based from a whole range of factors including venue, art movements and history. History is our most recent contributing factor as our next production is 'Industria', based off the Industrial revolution and its influences to the world.
SOC: Is there a gap in Melbourne's culture that Synesthetic fills?
Wade: Melbourne already has such an open and diverse nightlife and community. This creates a rich and expressive group of young people that have made heaps of amazing club nights at various venues across the city. We embrace both music and art, from various genres and artistic mediums, plus are always looking for new people to get involved in those platforms to keep our ideas fresh and inspiring for others. So in that sense I think we are addressing those kind of opportunities to fill a space in Melbourne’s culture.
SOC: What are the core philosophies of Synesthetic? What’s it all about?
Ollie: As a collective, we're very motivated to ensure our events promote the idea of expression and individuality, while also ensuring that respectfulness goes hand in hand with this. Basically, we want to remove a lot of toxic culture the comes with a lot of Melbourne clubs, away from our events. We make this clear when posting events online, as well as ensuring this attitude is shared with those working at the venues we host events at. Untoward behaviour of any kind has no place at our events and we want to keep it that way.
Along with this, we are also motivated to create diverse lineups of DJs and artists at our events, as we feel this is an area of opportunity for a range of club nights in Melbourne.
All in all, we want to create memorable events for attendees and we feel like this achievable if we do our best to remove as much potential negativity from them as possible.
SOC: What’s planned for the future?
Ollie: We're super excited for how things are shaping up for October 5th. It will be our largest venture yet and we cannot wait. We have some things in the works following this one too, including something more similar to our first two events, which will happen in early November. We are also looking to try different things next year and try and do some events at different venues and potentially with some other collectives as well.