Scott Pullen has impeccable musical timing. Yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Each tune he selects is perfect for the moment he’s sharing with the people in front of him, whether they’re celebrating New Year, a business win, birthday or Hollywood film wrap party.
It’s a kind of sixth sense strengthened by Scott’s musical talents and his remarkable performance history that spans decades and continents.
He’s played deep house at Sydney’s biggest club The Ivy plus the InterContinental in glamorous Double Day, dirty tribal at New York’s Cielo and London’s Trade, up front vocal house at Palazzo Versace, and nu disco for the jet set in Bali, Ibiza, Mykonos and Rio de Janiero.
Scott discovered he had the gift for choosing amazing music a few years ago (OK, back in the mid-1980s) when Bootsy Collins and James Brown first got down with New Order and Depeche Mode on the same dancefloors… and house and techno began bubbling up from Chicago and Detroit respectively.
It might have begun one night in Newcastle, when Scott stepped out from behind the bar he was working at to fill in for the DJ. Or it could have been at an after party he organised for a favourite band when it toured the industrial city.
What matters is that he made a connection with his first audience by serving up a blend of tunes they loved and new tunes they’d fall in love with… all mixed passionately and generously.
Generosity? From a DJ? “The thing I love most about DJing is giving the audience a good time,” explains Scott. “I’m thoroughly in the zone when I’m DJing because I love music and I’m experiencing pure joy – and I think that energy is infectious for my audience. We share the experience.” So yes, it’s about sharing. Sometimes Scott might lead the dancers somewhere new where they really want to go – they just didn’t know it yet until they heard the music – and sometimes he’ll make familiar tunes shine like new.
Within a year of becoming a DJ, Scott Pullen’s personality and skills behind the decks earned him a reputation that extended well outside his hometown. His first Sydney residency was at the city’s mid-80s hotspot The Tivoli. He held it for three years until the acid house revolution kicked off his touring career in 1987, when he found himself helping create Sydney house music history at the legendary RAT parties in the Hordern Pavilion one weekend then jetting the next to play at incredible parties in the burgeoning scenes of Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland.
Australia’s dance music scene is now internationally recognised for its diverse and huge audiences, though some people are surprised to hear it was common for 10,000-20,000 people to attend big house music parties in Sydney and Melbourne in the mid-to-late 1980s. “I love performing for intimate crowds where you can see and connect with every person; though I also love the massive shared excitement you get playing a big space,” says Scott. “My early experiences playing for those big dancefloors at the legendary Hordern and Docklands parties definitely helped shape me as a DJ, and set me up for spinning at the Sydney Olympics closing party in 2000 and the World DJ Festival in Seoul twice in recent years.” In 1993 Scott’s popularity saw him listed in the first ever DJ Magazine Top 100 – a list that back then was voted for by industry peers.
Like many of the original house DJs, he loves grooves more than genre labels.
He’s not so interested in the latest discombobulation of words to describe this week’s breakthrough music style – he’ll devotedly select tunes for the people sharing the music with him right now. And happily switch up styles later tonight or tomorrow morning to get each crowd dancing.
Can a DJ be everything to all people? Just ask the City Sydney 2000 Olympic committee who asked Scott to entertain 100,000 people in The Domain for the official closing party, or Hollywood superstar Keanu Reeves, who had Scott entertain him and his posse one New Year on a private island, or Ron Carroll, one of the greatest house DJs from Chicago, who so loved Scott’s tribute set to Mr Frankie Knuckles (the Godfather of House) at a Soul of Sydney party that he filmed it and shared it online with his international fan base or the event managers who book The Groove Academy band he formed a decade ago to bring live musicians and singers into his sets at glamorous parties for Chanel, Veuve Clicquot, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Paspaley, Qantas, Network TEN, SBS, Foxtel, MTV & Telstra.
Or the 50+ well-regarded DJs managed by his Groove Academy agency…
Or the huge number of international and local artists who’ve enjoyed sharing gigs with Scott and asked to have him on the bill again: Carl Cox, Armand Van Helden, Fatboy Slim/Norman Cook, Steve Lawler, Masters at Work, Groove Armada, Freemasons, Francois Kevorkian…
You get it.
“There is so much amazing music still to share,” smiles Scott. “There is nothing like getting lost in a beautiful tune, sharing that moment with the people around you. So even though music is my ‘work’ it’s still my greatest passion…”