We talk discerning dancefloors, Perth’s party scene and Hard Jazz with Ningaloo Records

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Home >Lifestyle >We talk discerning dancefloors, Perth’s party scene and Hard Jazz with Ningaloo Records

If you’re fond of great music and a good boogie around Perth and Fremantle, we get the feeling you may already be well-acquainted with Josh Grainger.

Better known around the traps as Ningaloo Records, the man’s penchant for bringing dancefloors to life is only matched by his massive record collection and infectious energy.

Grainger runs a few semi-regular parties around town, including Hard Jazz at Clancy’s in Fremantle, which just so happens to be celebrating its second birthday next weekend!

We caught up with him to get some d-floor tea on what’s happening in Perth and Freo’s party scene, who’s doing good things around town, and where to catch him next:

First up, congratulations on two years of Hard Jazz at Clancy’s! For those who don’t know, can you give us a little background on how it started, the ~vibe~ etc.?

Hello! Thank you kindly! Hard Jazz was a very naturally conceived concept dance party between Daniel Dalton and myself. At the time, we were DJing b2b easily 10 hours a month and there was always a very jazzy undertone between us (big horns, flutes, swing rhythm drum signatures)… At some point we experimented with playing straight up jazz records in busy clubs and found they were usually, very well received with dancers (huge shout to our Freo dance community for dancing with an open mind)! So I figured why not lean into it and make an entire night of it?

So every six weeks or so we clear out Clancy’s back porch, bring in the Voyager Sound System and play vinyl only, jazz and jazz adjacent records! (All things Jazz Dance;  jazz-funk, jazz fusion, Spiritual, contemporary, Afro, Latin, Broken Beat, Future Sambas and of course, jazz-flavoured house – say Jazz again :-S) And to celebrate this Friday the 24th, we invite Nathan Haines (NZ), a legend of 30 years in this field of music for a DJ/ live set – event here!

It’s one of a few parties around town you throw, where else can we catch you?

It’s true, I find alternating venues and themes better for everyone involved: Monthlies include Plantasia at Freo.Social (coming up on three years actually!); my all night long residency at Si Paradiso; Cosmic Crust at Palace Arcade; and some other less frequent things like Port City Dansu NYD at Gage Roads, Speakeasy After Hours at Wave Rock Weekender with Nathan Nisbet as well as involvement with Fremantle Biennale, Perth International Jazz Festival and Second Life Markets. Oh and of course my weekly radio show with Freocast!

Where can we find Perth’s most reliable dancefloors?

I don’t think Perth has many week in/week out dancefloors that I could recommend… Which I will touch on later in this interview! I recommend people take note of DJs and promotions they have enjoyed and look to them for reliability. There are so many passionate and talented people pushing different sounds every weekend in Perth and Fremantle, who I know would appreciate your support and attendance 😉

To name a few; M.O.V.E, Midnight Elevator, ClubbMedd, NestFM, GarbageTV, Step Count, Smoked Trout, Dancing in Space and Cubby House. In saying that, if you didn’t have internet you’d usually be pretty safe with a visit to Si Paradiso, The Bird, Rodney’s Bait n Tackle, Mojos or after 12, Barbes.

Where To Go Dancing In Perth If You Hate Clubs, Si Paradiso, Highgate

Your fave larger event (festivals etc.)?

Whilst nothing is better than daytime dancing, large events are not really my thing anymore – I prefer small to medium sized events, much better for connection and space familiarity. Let’s say I spent a few summers in Tisno in my twenties though 😉

Your fave local DJs?

Favourite to watch: Ben Taaffe
Favourite to play with: Daniel Dalton
Favourite to book: Miss Estonia!

Best spots for a pre- or post-boogie feed?

My kitchen for 2 x Mi Goreng packet with a fried egg and lots of Lao Gan Ma!

Where you go to buy records?

I go to Mills Records everyday on my lunch break! But get out to Shari Vari, Safari’s, Rhubarb Records Vic Park, Perth Vinyl Fairs and George Street Record Fair whenever I can. Still definitely buy the most on Discogs.com, once you know how to use the site and work shipping, it’s a powerful digging tool. But again, nothing beats face to face time at a record store!

Ningaloo Records

We keep getting told kids aren’t going out anymore, don’t like partying etc – what’s your take on the Perth/Fremantle ~scene~ at the moment?

I think dance music culture and the interest surrounding it, is stronger than ever! Social media, Shazam, algorithms and music production technology has made finding and making dance music easier than ever. Kids know what genres they like and who’s playing them, when and where.

Plus I think a lack of touring artists during Covid highlighted local/ bedroom artists, showing people you can still have a great night out without the big ticket acts and costs of a large scale venue or festival. It also accustomed people to smaller scale events where connection to the artist or stage is a lot closer and more meaningful I feel…

Look at stage designs for dance events (post Boiler Room blow up), where people have risers around and behind the DJ, feeling like they’re really part of the party! Rather than the disconnect offered with massive festival stages (especially for DJs who you can only see on a screen).

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Imagine partying in a beautiful one off DIY stage installation at an unconventional or special location, with artisan food and beverage options from kitchens/ breweries/ wineries you know… Then compare that with a fenced off square, $14 tin beers and that same tired food truck at every other event all summer.

I think it’s a great time for boutique promoters who care and a hard time for corporations who don’t.

Outside of Hard Jazz, where can we catch you over the next few weeks?

A fundraiser with friends at Ronnie Nights Friday 31 May, Plantasia on Sunday 9 June, Si Paradiso June 15, Magic Mellow Sunday in Adelaide June 23 and Freocast 1st Bday on June 28!

Otherwise check my Instagram for weekly updates – @ningaloorecords – and come say g’day this Sunday 19 May at Patio where I’ll be selling off a few records and spinning tunes!