Published: 26 Jan 2016

Escape via the sunroom of one of Sydney's finest.

The latest transmission makes its way to us from an Australian tastemaker of the highest order. With his long standing affiliations with Astral People and Darlinghurst’s notorious Record Store helping to shape his extensive record collection, Ben Fester is one of the local selectors most often trusted with main support duties for international heavy hitters like Floating Points, Omar S and Marcellus Pittman. Equally committed to delivering memorable parties of his own, he’s also one of the promoters fighting the good fight in the face of Sydney’s insane lockout laws, with the Heavenly parties he co-runs regularly playing host to forward thinkers like Move D, Pender Street Steppers, Terekke and the Rhythm Section collective. Recorded live in his tiny sunroom, this mix sees Fester in full effect, laying down a classy array of twisted house, disco and funk.

What have you been up to?

Been keeping busy! Working a lot at the moment on top of quite a few weekend and weeknight activities. Doing a few Heavenly parties as of late, on top playing some really great parties, doing radio on FBi Click and making a bit of music of my own.

How long have you been working down at Record Store and how would you describe the general vibe of the shop when you’re manning the fort? What kinds of weird and wonderful gems are diggers most likely to encounter?

I’ve been working down at the shop for almost three years now and it’s a pretty great place to be able to call “work”. I’ve always been fond of record stores and the whole process involved as opposed to buying music on the Internet. It was cool after shopping there for a few years to be asked to man the counter. There is a bit of everything in the store from brand new 12’s and album reissues to some odd ball second hand stuff spanning across almost every genre. It’s a great little community in there. One of those places you can go and not be looking for anything in particular and leave with something you never knew you wanted.

The Heavenly parties you coordinate with local jocks Adrian E and T Mingus seem to be going along swimmingly.. With a constant flow of interstate and international talent joining you guys on the regular, what have been some of your highlights from the parties of late and what do you guys have coming up?

It’s getting hard to throw parties in good clubs in Sydney at the moment. The whole lockout thing has been a bit of a challenge but everyone is fighting the good fight and working together. It didn’t make sense to us to have a guest play in Sydney at a club to that opens at 11, after 1 30 no one else can enter and then at 3 the party is over, so we have started throwing parties in other spaces to accommodate a better vibe for everyone involved. We have had a few warehouse parties of late together with the Ghostly guys that have been very memorable. The Rhythm Section ones have been particularly crazy. There’s a lot more work that goes into these parties as opposed to rocking up to a fully set up club but its all worth it in the end. Next up we’re lucky enough to have Hashman Deejay and PLO Man which is something I’m very much looking forward to. Few more exciting things in the works too but we’ll save that for later.

What can you tell us about this mix? Who are some of the artists featuring in there?

I recorded this in my sunroom at home. A dicey little tinned roof room, the exact width of an IKEA Expedit, that is just off my bedroom. It’s just a bunch of records that I have been enjoying and playing a bit I guess. Things that make me smile. Starts with a tape loop made by a good friend of mine, Will Bennett, and then there’s a bit of most other things after that. Not gunna say much else cos that would ruin all the fun.

What are some of the parties you’re most looking forward to in the next little while, and what else is on the horizon?

Definitely so keen for the PLO Man & Hashman party and heading down to Melbourne at the end of February which is always a time. Think I’ll be going down to Inner Varnika again this year for a dance as the last time was special, they’re doing good things, full support. Few things other things on the horizon and some boxes to tick, thinking about maybe even putting some music out into the world later this year.