Local Artist Profile: Steve ‘Tonky’ Tonkin

THIS week we speak with the man in town, Bendigo DJ Steve Tonkin.

How did you discover DJing?

I’ve always had a strong interest in music and started leaning towards the more electronic side as a teenager. In 2017, I met my friend Jayden in math class and we started sharing an iPod together. He noticed that I really liked dance music and he invited me to DJ on his decks. From there I started following Jayden’s gigs to learn the ropes and eventually had a few gigs of my own around Bendigo.

What do you think is more important in DJing – technical ability or track selection?

Track selection will always be important; if you’re playing something and the crowd isn’t vibrating, then you’re not going to have a good show. But having the technical ability to turn a song everyone knows into something very special is a talent that only the best of the best DJs have.

Can you describe your style?

My style of DJing has evolved over the years and kind of reflects the type of music I play. As an open-format DJ for much of my 15-year DJ career, I’ve learned many tricks and quick cuts to keep the crowd interested and dancing. I used to use a Native Instruments “Maschine” with my DJ sets, with which I could play melodies and live samples while DJing, giving that live element to my sets. My style now is more disco/house/tech inspired, so I really like scratching and live sampling. It’s not very common in this kind of DJ sets, so I feel like it sets me apart and makes my sets unique.

Which electronic artists inspire you?

I’ve always had a thing for Daft Punk; they are just kings of the electronic genre.

Another favorite of mine is Claude VonStroke. Making and performing music that isn’t mainstream but memorable has always clicked with me.

What is a particular highlight you have from your career so far?

Ten years ago I won a DJ contest called The Search. The prize was a trip to Ibiza to discover all the clubs and meet and greet many DJs. Seeing this only inspired me to continue my DJ journey. The amazement of seeing these massive clubs with lineups of incredibly talented DJs and producers was breathtaking. I met DJs like Fedde Le Grand, Mark Knight, Judge Jules, Kissy Sell Out and Laidback Luke.

Have you discovered any awesome new producers lately?

There are so many amazing Australian producers out there right now and it makes me really proud that the world is looking to Australia for dance music because we have such a strong product. The likes of Dom Dolla, Torren Foot, Needs No Sleep and BoogieKnights are all killing it right now.

Do you have any concerts on the horizon?

I have Groovin The Moo coming at the end of April which is exciting, a bunch of extra gigs at Poof Doof in Melbourne and maybe a sneaky launch party for my new single, alongside Galleon and Josh Creek, called On your waycoming out very soon on Crookwell Records.

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