Interviews

Greens leader Adam Bandt on his little-known love for German house music

You probably know Adam Bandt as the leader of The Australian Greens, but did you know he’s also a huge fan of house music?

Plenty of Aussie politicians have tried their hand at DJing. You’ve probably seen Albo having a red hot crack on the decks, or the newspaper doodles of John Howard DJing “like a mad c*nt”. But Greens leader Adam Bandt has a genuine passion for German house music, and we wanted to find out everything we could about his little-known hobby.

Adam Bandt

HAPPY: As a politician, your day must start pretty early, do you have any routines to hype yourself up each morning?

ADAM: I try to start most mornings with a run – it helps me keep my energy up for long days and was also really helpful for my mental health during the long pandemic lockdowns.

Running is basically the only time I get to listen to music alone, so I’ll either queue up some new releases or dip into one of a few playlists. On a sunny morning with a slight chill in the air, this playlist lifts the spirits and helps me keep the pace up

HAPPY: We heard you like to dabble with a bit of German House Music. Where did your love of house come from?

ADAM: Yes! There’s something I really love about the melodic, low- to no-vocal house from Germany. Labels like Kompakt, Pampa, Smallville and Dial really do it for me. A friend introduced me to it almost two decades ago, and idle hours in record shops and Beatport filled in the gaps. Festivals here and overseas in my pre-Parliament days were lots of fun too. These guys are on pretty high rotation for me at the moment.

HAPPY: And you used to DJ a bit?

ADAM: Haha, yeah. I don’t want to set anyone’s expectations too high! I used to do the occasional set at friends’ parties and in the lounge room. I’ve got a couple of Technics 1200 turntables gathering dust in the front room as it’s been a bit quieter for me on the parties front since becoming the Greens Leader and having kids.

My beat matching skills were pretty average, so I reckon this time I’d invest in some kind of controller and let the machines do the work. I’d absolutely do it again, I’d love to get back into it.

HAPPY: What else have you been listening to lately?

ADAM: The rest of the time, my young kids pretty much get to decide what we listen to. I know far more Katy Perry songs than is healthy. Fortunately, the kids have just developed a taste for Khruangbin, which I’m strongly encouraging, including by taking them to see them in December. I’ll report back on what going to Sidney Myer Music Bowl with a 6 and 7 year old is like.

HAPPY: What’s the ideal length of a club banger, and when does the drop come in? Or do you prefer your tunes drop free?

ADAM: Ah, the big question! Melbourne DJ Mike Callander recently played this amazing track Mouth to Mouth by Audion, an old one I’d never heard before, it goes for almost 13 minutes, and it feels like the big drop is always just about to come but never quite does. It’s immensely satisfying.

HAPPY: If the Greens were to curate a music festival, who’s headlining?

ADAM: Haha well, if I had anything to do with it, I’d be pushing for a huge local lineup. So many of my friends and volunteers have lost gigs to COVID, had touring plans interrupted, lost momentum and of course lost income.

So I’d be looking for a big line up (with generous remuneration!) for local acts like King Stingray, Camp Cope, Emma Donovan and the Putbacks, Cable Ties, Paul Dempsey, The Merindas, Gretta Ray, Cash Savage & the Last Drinks, JAZZ Party… That’d be a good festival.

Adam Bandt

HAPPY: The 2022 election was huge for the Greens. What aspects of the results are you most excited about?

ADAM: There’s just so much to be inspired by seeing people reject the status quo politics. We ran on an unequivocal message of climate action and action on inequality, and we were rewarded with a huge share of the vote around the country.

I’m excited to see us hopefully urgently getting out of coal and gas in the next few years. I’m also excited to see what will happen to people who have been doing it tough under the Coalition for too long, including renters, artists, casual workers and people on Centrelink. We’ve got fully-costed plans to tax the billionaires and big corporations and use that money to rebuild essential services, as well as fund the renewable energy transition. So you could say I’m pretty excited to get back to parliament and get to work.

HAPPY: And finally I wanted to ask, what trends do you see in music over the next 3 years?

ADAM: I’m keen to see the music people make coming out of pandemic lockdowns and entering this next, uncharted territory. I know we’re all sick of the unprecedented times, we’re all wishing for precedented times again, but whatever artists make out of this moment and the coming years will help us understand who we are and hopefully draw a line to where we need to go.

The next three years will be crucial for humanity to act on the climate crisis, and artists will be key to building the community movements that force governments to take action. I’ll be fighting in parliament, but I need all of you out there to fight in your music, in your events, in your writing, in your communities. You’ll make change inevitable, and I can’t wait to see it.

Have a geez at Adam’s party playlist below.

Photos provided

Interview by Lochie Schuster