Beat Freak

16 May 2012 | 8:30 am | Bryget Chrisfield

“Oh hell yeah, I think I invented doing that,” says T-Rek about attending Revolver in Melbourne's infamous Friday night-to-Monday morning sessions.

More T-Rek More T-Rek

I do a lot of different styles of music and people always say to me [that I should operate under different aliases] and it's like, 'Well, it's all me. Why should I make up different monikers to make it more palatable to people,' you know? Why can't I make a rock song and then make a dance song?” Producer/DJ/multi-instrumentalist T-Rek (Tarek Smallman on his Revolver membership) certainly doesn't restrict himself to composing music for easy genrefication. If you caught The T-Rek Band limbering up the Boiler Room massive at Big Day Out earlier this year, you may be surprised to learn of his new Dance Music album; “One half of the record is more straight-ahead rock music.”

Not only does Smallman split his musical personality under this T-Rek guise, he also plays in multiple bands. “I've got a group of friends and we all play in about four bands.” As well as The T-Rek Band, Smallman is also in We Are Gamma and drummer/percussionist Mitch McGregor shares the stage with him in both these bands. “Devarj [Thomas] is the bass player for We Are Gamma and then he's actually my guitar tech for The T-Rek Band, but then he also jumps up and does guest vocals and plays bits of percussion and stuff [laughs].” Smallman admits, “It's all quite incestuous… Most of these guys have done various studio or live things with me for years now. So I trust them implicitly, which is good 'cause it means I get to get caught up in doing what I'm doing and I don't have to worry about whether they're getting it right.”

Sometimes Smallman needs to rev them up onstage, however. “There's a thing I tend to do in The T-Rek Band, which I've done for years. At certain gigs that we do – big gigs like a Big Day Out – I'll start screaming at the other members onstage and they usually can't hear me. I've got a habit of screaming, 'More hair!' at them, which is code for, 'We're all a bit too uptight and we need to loosen up', but the guys always mistake it for me being angry, or [think] something's wrong, and they always have these petrified looks on their faces.”

Sounds like the expression that would be worn by a Creep On The Dancefloor's chosen prey. If you haven't heard this album track, give it a Google. “People either seem to get it and think it's pretty funny, but I'm amazed how many people seem to take it seriously… I don't think people take it so seriously now that the video's come out, 'cause the song's actually been circulating for a good year or so in my DJ sets and in my live show and stuff. But I see girls singing it in clubs more than anyone so as long as girls kind of get the joke of it. And I usually dedicate it to girls when I play it live and try to ward off any evil men who are doing those sort of things.”

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Smallman's natural habitat is manning the ones and twos at Revolver, so creeps, you've been warned. He and the Chapel Street haunt go way back. “I kinda used to run the rehearsal studios at Revolver in the early-to-mid '90s, so I was working in the building and we were all involved in the building of it and [were] there for the opening night,” he recalls. “And so I watched this procession of people doing electronic music and DJs coming through, and I think at the same time I was getting interested in synthesisers and drum machines, and so it all came together in that way. I was watching all these guys doing things and thinking, 'I think I could do that. If I could play a drum kit, I reckon I could play a couple of turntables'.”

So does this mean he's completed the famous non-stop Friday night to Monday morning party marathon? “Oh hell yeah, I think I invented doing that,” he chuckles. “I've been there after close and watched these guys come in with long sticks with razor blades on the end of them and they just go around scraping chewing gum off the floor.”