Hot Dub Time Machine returns to London

DJ Tom Loud gives us the lowdown on his time-travelling dance party

  • © Chris Murray

  • © Alicia Pearce

  • © Tim da-Rin photography

  • © Erick Watson

  • © Steve Ullathorne

© Chris Murray

After spending his youth raving in London’s underground nightspots, Australian Tom Loud now finds himself as a clubbing Timelord thanks to his own audiovisual extravaganza of a party. Mixing classic tunes from across the years with movie and video snippets on huge screens, Hot Dub Time Machine is a journey through history that doesn’t require a flux capacitor. We chatted to Loud to find out more.

‘Okay, we're gonna get sweaty tonight’

What’s the concept behind Hot Dub Time Machine?
‘You travel back to the birth of rock ’n’ roll, which I decided was 1954, when “Rock Around the Clock” was released. Then we travel through pop music history in chronological order, with roughly a song a year. So, you get to hear all that awesome rock of the ’60s, ’70s disco, ’80s cheese and then we get to the ’90s and things go a little crazy with moshing, raving and hip hop, until we end up back in 2014.’

Does the set vary in each show?
‘About 50 percent of songs stay the same. I don’t think you can tell the history of pop music without including The Beatles or Beyoncé, and there are some songs that are just too fun and I’ll always play, like Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”. 
But beyond that it constantly evolves and changes.’

Hot Dub has been performed to tens of thousands of people around the world. Why do you think audiences have taken to it so well?
 There’s nothing better than dancing to really good music, but going to a nightclub can be a pretty intimidating experience. You might feel you have to be cool or that you have to dress in a certain way. I find that thing really boring. People love dancing to great music in a packaging that enables them to forget that maybe they didn’t think it was cool. Hot Dub allows people to indulge the cheesy side of their music taste without any guilt.’

Your website mentions that one of the elements of Hot Dub is ‘chatting up the person next to you’. Do you often see people smooching at your shows?
‘Well, I like to create a space where people can meet other people! But seriously, I think people come to Hot Dub because it’s not a sleazy environment, it’s just fun. It’s about dancing. But you always see some interesting stuff from the DJ booth.’

‘I don’t want any song in there that is not completely iconic’

The audiovisual aspect of the show is clearly a big part of the experience. How does it work?
‘Every time I load a song up there’s a video attached to it. So, as I’m mixing the audio, I can scratch [a video] back and forward or mix two videos together. I’ll often play the music video of a song, but I’ll add something over the top of it. For me, it's all about making it feel like a time machine and making it feel like a bit more work has gone into this party than what you might normally expect [at a club night]. I really indulge people.’

Which songs make people lose it at the shows?
‘There are three songs in a row at the start of the ’60s that make people think, “Okay, we’re gonna get sweaty tonight.” By the end of those it gets a little warm in the room. Then the ’90s is where things tend to go a little bit crazy, when Rage Against the Machine’s] ‘Killing in the Name of’ comes on, then [Nirvana's] ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, then ‘Jump Around’ by House of Pain – that’s the moment that has literally never been anything short of bedlam, regardless of where in the world it's bening played.’

Is there an element of wanting to educate the audience about musical history?
‘I don’t want any song in there that is not completely iconic. I think what’s great is connecting with the most amount of people for the most amount of time. There are certain songs that do that and it doesn’t mean that those songs are cheesy or overplayed, it means that they’re fucking amazing songs.’

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