Adam Bandt on his unsung 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 big fan of house music?
Many Australian politicians have tried their hand at DJing. You’ve probably seen Albo having a blast on the decks, or the newspaper doodles of John Howard DJing “like a mad c*nt”. But Greens frontman Adam Bandt has a genuine passion for German house music, and we wanted to hear all about his little-known hobby.
HAPPY: As a politician your day has to start pretty early, do you have routines to hype yourself up every morning?
ADAM: I try to start most mornings with a run – it helps keep my energy up for long days and has also been very helpful for my mental health during the long pandemic lockdowns.
Running is basically the only time I can listen to music alone, so I’ll either queue up new releases or dive into one of the few playlists. On a sunny morning with a slight chill in the air, this playlist lifts my spirits and helps me keep up the pace.
HAPPY: We heard you like to try some German house music. Where does your love of home come from?
ADAM: Yes! There’s something I really like about melodic, bassy, voiceless house from Germany. Labels like Kompakt, Pampa, Smallville and Dial really do that for me. A friend introduced me to it nearly two decades ago, and idle hours at record stores and Beatport have filled in the gaps. Festivals here and abroad in my pre-Parliament days were also great fun. These guys are in pretty high rotation for me right now.
HAPPY: And you were a bit of a DJ?
ADAM: Haha, yeah. I don’t want to set anyone’s expectations too high! I used to do occasional sets at parties with friends and in the living room. I have a few Technics 1200 turntables gathering dust in the front room as it’s been a little quieter for me on the party front since I became leader of the Greens and have kids.
My beat matching skills were pretty average, so I think this time I’d invest in some sort of controller and let the machines do the work. I would do it again without hesitation, I would love to get back to it.
HAPPY: What else have you been listening to lately?
ADAM: The rest of the time, my young children pretty much decide what we listen to. I know way more Katy Perry songs than is healthy. Fortunately, the children have just taken a liking to Khruangbin, which I strongly encourage, especially by taking them to see them in December. I’ll come back to what it’s like to go to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl with a 6 and 7 year old.
HAPPY: What is the ideal length of a club banger, and when does the drip happen? Or do you prefer your tracks to be free?
ADAM: Oh the big question! Melbourne DJ Mike Callander recently played this amazing track Mouth to mouth by Audion, an oldie I’ve never heard before, it’s almost 13 minutes long, and it feels like the big drop is always on the way but never quite. It’s immensely satisfying.
HAPPY: If the Greens organized a music festival, who would be the headliner?
ADAM: Haha well, if I had anything to do with it, I’d be pushing for huge local programming. So many of my friends and volunteers have lost gigs due to COVID, had their touring plans cut short, lost momentum, and of course lost income.
So I would look for a big line-up (with generous compensation!) for local artists 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… It would be a good festival.
HAPPY: The 2022 election was huge for the Greens. What aspects of the results are you most excited about?
ADAM: There is so much to be inspired by seeing people reject status quo politics. We ran on an unequivocal message of climate action and action against inequality, and we were rewarded with a huge share of votes nationwide.
I am delighted to see us urgently phasing out coal and gas in the next few years. I am also excited to see what will happen to people who have been doing the hard stuff under the Coalition for too long, including tenants, artists, casual workers and people on Centrelink. We have fully costed plans to tax billionaires and big business and use that money to rebuild essential services, as well as fund the transition to renewable energy. So you could say I’m pretty excited to get back to Parliament and get to work.
HAPPY: And finally, I wanted to ask you, what trends do you see in music over the next 3 years?
ADAM: I can’t wait to see the music people are bringing out of pandemic lockdowns and into this next uncharted territory. I know we’re all sick of unprecedented times, we all wish for earlier times again, but whatever artists do in this moment and in the years to come will help us understand who we are and hopefully to draw a line where we need to go.
The next three years will be crucial for humanity to act on the climate crisis, and artists will be essential in building the community movements that compel governments to act. I will fight in parliament, but I need all of you to fight in your music, in your events, in your writing, in your communities. You will make change inevitable, and I can’t wait to see it.
Take a look at the Adam’s Day playlist below.
Interview with Lochie Schuster