Trashbags - Sex, Drugs, Cocks N Dolls
We named them monthly club night of the year in 2007 and they haven’t let us down in 2008 either. It’s official – the Trashbags posse are just about the best thing to happen to the Sydney scene in years. With their second birthday just around the corner we sent 3D’s Angus Thompson to get trashed with the crew. Thankfully he went for the ‘drink now, write later’ option.
“Don’t try to compete with us,” Trashbags co-owner and founder Nikola Alavanja jokingly advises to all potential club promoters out there. But while this is a rare boast in a humbled conversation with Nikola and Trashbags DJs Alan Bogdanovski – AKA Afters – and Daniel Gorgioski – AKA Cheap Frillz – the advice, whether delivered in jest or not, is sound.
It’s a scorching spring Friday afternoon and there are three young men in the midst of a fervent conversation at the pub. Two nursing iced water, and one cooling himself with a beer, they brainstorm their musical passions, their most recently blogged discoveries, blurred memories from alcohol-fuelled nights and future goals.
For a Surry Hills beer garden, this would seem not out of the ordinary. But the Trashbags boys have taken their pub-talk one step further, to a reality.
It’s not an easy task for a group of 20-somethings with little-to-no events experience to establish a club night in the heart of Sydney’s club district, let alone keep it alive for nearly two years and counting, but Nikola summarises the feat with modesty.
“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do and, you know, these boys always wanted to DJ, I always wanted to throw parties.”
Now approaching its second anniversary, Trashbags crash-landed into the Sydney club scene in December 2006, setting up shop at Kings Cross’s Plantation nightclub. The chosen name for the night, while simply catchy at the time, proved increasingly apt as the weeks went by, the boys solidifying a reputation for partying harder than anybody else week-in-week-out. Even on their day off from partying, Trashbags remain unsurprisingly loyal to their namesake, designating the pub as an appropriate interview setting.
With appearances at this year’s We Love Sounds and Playground Weekender festivals, and their own mini festival in the making, what has grown into a veritable enterprise simply started as Nikola’s scheme to avoid the daily grind.
“My goal in starting Trashbags was not to work, obviously…and yeah, just party.”
Ironically, Nikola found a career path in assembling Sydney’s chaotic nightlife.
“Partying is my work, you know. It’s what I love doing,” he says. “It’s my hobby and my whole life. It’s the only thing I knew how to do. All the years of abusing it and stuff like that kind-of paid off in the end.
“It’s just like every other business, you know. You’ve got to have a business name and an ABN. We’re a legit company. We are. People say you guys do nothing. We do. We just choose when to work. If I want to work at four in the morning I’ll work at four in the morning.”
In July last year, Trashbags commenced touring international acts, starting with Kitsuné-signed LA producers Guns N Bombs. In the following months Germany’s DIM, Italy’s Bloody Beetroots, and a plethora of coveted French artists including Danger, datA, Toxic Avenger, La Petit Pilous and, most recently, Teenage Bad Girl, were added to the roster.
Driven by an ethic phrased eloquently to “we want someone, we don’t care”, the team paid for internationals to play at their shows; shunning the numerous business risks involved, they whimsically grabbed at their new favourite artists.
“We sought out artists that people didn’t even know and we were like, ‘You know what – we like their music, we don’t care. We’re going to bring them out for ourselves.’”
While Alan downplays the team’s incredible foresight to nothing more than having their collective ear to the street, Sydney-siders are noticing the Trashbags’ penchant for showcasing the cream of the global underground.
“We’ve got this interesting guy called Huoratron,” says Nikola.
“He’s got like circuit-bending Gameboys. He pretty much plays live off that,” Daniel jumps in.
“He’s like the real underground,” Nikola chips in.
“Yeah, not many people would know who he is,” Daniel adds.
“Every single month we bring someone out from overseas. Without fail. Last week we had Strip Steve from Boys Noize. Grum’s in November, then Huoratron in December,” says Nikola.
But Trashbags isn’t just drawing local attention. Interest is stirring within France and there have been numerous hints towards Trashbags events traveling abroad. Casually, Nikola says that staging a European tour is not out of the question.
“A lot of the people that we’ve brought out are really interested in bringing Trashbags down to France,” he says. “A couple of the managers of some of the people that we’ve brought out are also throwing parties down there and they’ve asked us to come down but we just haven’t had the time to do it.
“We could probably do a good European tour and run Trashbags parties in Europe. It’s a dream – I really want to do it. It’s something that I really want to achieve. And I think we will. We just have to find time. We’re pretty well known in France, just through the blog and through bringing out a lot of the French artists.”
The Trashbags blog, Trashbags Kids, now features contributors from the US and France, a global network fortified by the team’s persistence in touring international artists. But the product is less a touring agency than a collection of intimate friendships. Nikola discloses the success has been in creating a community of club-goers.
“I wanted it to be a party where people would go and know everyone and become like a real family and that’s what it is today,” he says. “If you come to our parties, you’ll realise that if you get into it it’s like a little family.
“A lot of the artists that we bring out, we end up all partying back at our house. La Petit Pilous stayed at our house… Me and him were drunk for like two days. A lot of the artists that we tour, we don’t actually become their touring agents, we become their mates.”
“Plus, now we’ve got places to crash when we go overseas,” adds Alan.
Fittingly, their memories of a largely successful club night collectively boil down to “a whole lot of ‘I dunno’s,” as Alan puts it. Only Nikola manages to specify incidents that hallmark the Trashbags reputation, including “getting laid in the corner” and “getting naked in the club.”
WHO: The Trashbags Posse
WHAT: Kill The Radio at Plantation
WHEN: Saturday 18 October