OUT MY BITCH Exclusive Interview with T-Rek

If I was to begin this article singing “Get the f*** out my bitch” there is no doubt the majority of you would be able to hum the gutsy guitar riff that follows. The man behind that classic track is Tarek Smallman, aka T-rek. Released by Ministry of sound in 2010 this is the one song which opened my eyes to the mans work both on and off the decks. As well as DJ’ing, T-Rek is part of a two-piece rock band called Low Fly Incline, which he sings and plays guitar in. Based in Melbourne T-Rek has been regularly recording and releasing records since 2002. This month PEARL chatted to him about the origins of his musical journey up until today.

PEARL:  How did your musical journey first begin?  Was it the guitar first or the DJ’ing?  Who showed you the ropes?

T-REK:  It actually started with a drum kit.  Then along the way I got interested in Samplers and Synthesizers, which naturally lead me to making more electronic based music.   After a few years of experimenting with electronic music, I became involved in DJ’ing.   I’d always played a little guitar on the side, but only got serious about that in the last few years.

PEARL:  Tell us about your career in the early days?  You were in a band?

T-REK:  I started a band called bZARK  with two friends when I was 17.  It had a large and lasting impact on me as the other two members were Victorian College Arts students in their early to mid twenties, so I was put on a very steep musical learning curve.   I also worked sporadically as a drum teacher, drum technician, and studio session drummer, but was never really able to make a decent living from music until I factored in the DJ & production thing.

PEARL:  2010 was the year you released ‘Out My Bitch’ a cracker of a track that many people know you for – what was the inspiration for it?  Do you still get a kick out of playing it? 

T-REK:  Thanks!  I’d written the first part of the song up until when it drops, and thought it was ok, but still needed something else.  I picked up a guitar that was sitting nearby and started playing the most boneheaded bluesy guitar riff I could think of over the top of it.   It made me laugh, so I recorded it and put it in the song.   I wrote it to play out during my DJ sets at the time, and was surprised when it took off in popularity as much as it did.   Yeah I still get a kick out of playing it. I don’t play it all that much, but sometimes it just seems fitting, and people still seem to enjoy it, so I play it occasionally.

PEARL:  Is it the live music mixed with electronic beats that you would say is your trademark sound?  What do you think differentiates your sound from others?

T-REK:  I guess so to some degree.   It’s definitely been a point of difference with my production over the past ten years.   I just try to inject as much sex and sly humour into my tracks as possible.   Generally when I hear club music that I don’t like, it’s because it’s either too obvious, or lacks these elements.

PEARL:  What is your most memorable gig?  Any favourite places to play? 

T-REK:  Big Day Out shows were always a trip as it’s not often you get to play with that size or level of production.   Also getting to hang around after and watch some of your favourite international bands makes for a fun and drunken day.   My favourite performances are still at smaller clubs though.   Revolver is my favourite as I get to do both things there, i.e. play live onstage in the front room, and DJ in the back room.   After 17 years of performing there I still have some of my most musically inspired and enjoyable moments in that place.

PEARL:  What have you been up to this year, have you been working on any new music? 

T-REK:  I have just released an album with the two-piece rock band that I sing and play guitar with (Low Fly Incline), and have a mountain of new T-Rek club music, which is all in various stages of completion.  Just finding it hard to make time to get in the studio, as I have so many gigs across several musical projects to get through every week.

PEARL:  What inspires you when writing music?

T-REK:  It depends what area of writing music I’m focussing on.   If I’m writing the actual music, I might be trying to make something inspired by another piece of music that I have heard, knowing full well that during the process of doing this, the initial idea/inspiration will get completely lost and turnout nothing like the music that gave me the idea in the first place.   Other times I have ideas for pieces of music that just don’t seem to exist and I feel like maybe they should, or could exist.   If I’m writing lyrics for things, I can be inspired directly by almost anything that’s going on in my life at the time, or even something I perceive as happening in someone else’s life. 

PEARL:  What’s on for 2015? 

T-REK:  Doing a lot more T-Rek live band shows.   We’ve stripped away the guitar and vocal element from the live show over the past 18 months, and it has now become much more of a percussive based techno/disco thing.   I always perform live with my drummer/percussionist Mad Mitch.

PEARL:  Favourite tracks at the moment? 

T-REK:  Anything Nick Cave has done since 2007. Most of what &ME and Adam Port are turning out. Any DJ mix by Optimo. The majority of current Sunday night programming by Spacey Space at Revolver. A couple of unfinished things that Nick Coleman played me last week…

PEARL:  Best things about the industry you work in?  You’ve supported some pretty big names in the business, is there any one that stands out and why?

T-REK:  It’s an old cliché I know, but the whole thing of getting to do something you love for work never gets old.   There are a lot of external factors and things that come into play which are constantly challenging and unpleasant within the job, but overall I wouldn’t change much… actually I would probably just give myself more of the same to do….

You can catch T-Rek every Sunday at Revolver, for music and gig info check out the links below.
Twitter: www.twitter.com/T_Rek_
Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/t-rek
Website: www.freakshowdiscoproductions.com

                                                                                                                               JESS ROWDIE BIDDIE T

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