First up thank you DJ Mr. Lob for agreeing to do this interview.
Now to the questions…
1. Tell us a little about yourself, what path along your journey did you take that has led you to become Mr Lob? What’s your history as a DJ & Record Collector.
Hi Marky, thanks for this opportunity to reflect on what it took to get me here.
I’ve been Mr Lob for over 22 years now and the original idea came from a Tshirt Label I had started in Chiang Mai, Thailand with 2 local friends who had a market stall in the night market. We called the Label Mr Lob, as that’s what they called me as some Thai people have problems saying R, which becomes an L.
When I returned to Australia I decided to keep the label going and as part of doing the launch parties, I would bring in Dj friends to play and I thought I’d give it a go as I had also bought a crate of Hip Hop 12s and LPs from a friend who had been a mobile dj in the 80s and early 90s.
I had also collected records as a kid and teenager (particularly 45s as they were affordable) but just for personal use and I would always take over the music at parties from when I was a kid, from home parties to school discos where I would make compilation cassettes and later cds.
Once I started djing I was hooked and luckily enough some people gave me the opportunity to play at their house parties, then bars and pubs.
In 2000 I started to Dj commercially with some friends at a night we called ‘Fistful of Funk’ and haven’t stopped playing and collecting since.
From about 2002 – 2004 I ran a party and website called ‘Weedhopper’ where we would run 2 rooms, one for Breaks and one for Hip Hop, Funk and Soul and this was around the time the new funk scene exploded and I was buying local 45s and whatever else I could find.
Alongside the Fistful of Funk and Weedhopper parties that I did with Heptune, I had become involved with The Gentlemen’s Record Club where I djed at parties like Strange Behaviour that featured The GRC live with a whole bunch of MCs and my favourite dj Wax Vandal on the decks. I would play after the live performances to get the dance floor up and going alongside Heptune and Wax Vandal. This led to other nights we ran like ‘Plates From The Crates’ and guest appearances at nights like Funkport, Dropping Fat and Kungfusion.
From here I ran my own nights such as Living For The City, The Get Down, Car Boot Funk, Just A Little Groove, The New Jazz Cool and Soul Searching amongst others. During these years I have also played lots of guest spots and residencies such as a 9 year residency every Saturday night at Murmur, a 7 year residency at GoGo Bar in Melbourne and a 9 year residency at The Penny Black.
During this time I have expanded my record collection hugely and stepped into other genres a lot more, such as Jazz, Downtempo Jazzy Hip Hop, Reggae, Latin, Afro and Hip Hop, always with a focus on 45s.
In about 2007 I met Dj Obliveus through my night ‘The Get Down’ and together we formed ‘Black Caesar Events’ and our focus has been pushing 45s only parties and nights as well as booking some of the finest bands that have come out of Melbourne. Our relationship continues to this day with Obliveus booking me for his own nights and parties such as the local version of the ’45 Sessions’ and him and I holding down a 10 year annual residency together for the Sydney Road Festival as well as holding down our own all night party at Rainbow Serpent Festival playing only 45s!
Since 2010 I have also toured Thailand 7 times playing everything from big festivals to Bangkok clubs and small open to the street bars.
Over the last 5 years I have returned to predominantly playing only 45s at gigs and leaving Serato for that 1% of gigs I was doing that had no turntables or needed music I wouldn’t buy on vinyl.
2. What inspired you to take The Forty Five Kings onto Facebook and with the launch of the new website, how do you feel that will work with the Facebook group?
I guess the idea came about just over 12 months ago when as a collector and dj focusing on 45s and making mixes for my Mixcloud page, I had the opportunity to reach a much wider audience and was making so many connections and doing lots of guest mixes for radio shows and other Mixcloud shows. I had also been playing in Sydney a few times a year and Perth and had made more and more connections.
This eventually led to me becoming a member of the Waxnerds (for about a year) and connecting with even more people in the international 45s scene.
I thought why not bring my love of 45s and all these connections I’d made with djs, radio show and Mixcloud hosts, collectors, labels and people like Russell Cole at Sydney Def Jam and share the love of the format. I took the idea to Fatwax45 and he was all for it and so we started The Forty Five Kings. We had no idea who would join and what it would become or where it would go, but we’ve much admired and enjoyed it’s success.
I also wanted to hear what people were doing, see their collections and read about their digs and travels, about their inspirations and I wanted to use my reach to support others and link people together, so that we can form networks, links and shared opportunities.
The website is really a place to celebrate our achievements over the past year, put everything we’ve done in one place, share our connections and sponsors who have helped pay for the website and to try to reach a wider audience with our interviews, mixes, feature stories and live stream videos.
The Facebook group feeds the website by members contributing to what we do and we hope to take some of the best threads into a new area of the website.
We would also like to develop our Merchandise offerings further to reach people outside the facebook group and help us continue to grow what we do and pay for the costs involved in running the website and our events.
The ultimate goal would be to start our own Record Label by licencing album tracks and first time on 45 releases as well as highlighting some of the producers in the group and groups we would love to see on 45.
3. What is it about the 45 (7”) record that made you want to single it out? (see what I did there).
Truthfully for me, it has become a bit of an obsession! I like their shortness, portability, sound and the work rate you have as a dj that mixes them. They keep me busy and focused on trying to keep my flow smooth, transitions clean and sound right. I also like that they have been released as singles, so the artist/label believe that this was their best song, best effort, the one that the public would gravitate to and that would make a hit for them.
I’m not biased or a purist and just love the format and while I would prefer an OG that is not always possible, available or being from Australia affordable. I will play a reissue, dub plate, og, bootleg or sample based production as long as it is on 45. For me it is about the format and the music I can access on it at a price I can afford.
I admire those who spend big money, only play rare OGs and are the drivers behind tracks being unearthed and reissued and I want to hear what they’ve got, not how much they’ve spent. For me the goal is building my sets to reflect what I love to play and how I weave the sounds and as a professional Dj I played lots of gigs across multiple genres and it’s just not affordable or practical for me to play one genre and only rare OGs, but again if I have them I play them.
I also have long term memories from my beautiful mum playing them, buying them as a kid and being blown away when my brother brought home the 45 with The Message by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five on it in 1982. To this day hearing that song blows my mind and takes me back. It was a powerful moment and inspiration.
4. Watching The Forty Five Kings group grow to over 600 members, releasing over 40 Mixtapes to Mixcloud, over 100 hours of Live Stream Events on Twitch, all in just 12 months, what are your feelings about the growth of the Forty Five Kings and where do you see it going?
For sure, it has become bigger and I’m much busier with it than I ever thought I would be. It never has been about group size though but about involvement, connections and supporting each other. As it has grown sometimes I think there has been less involvement and it is only natural people will step in and out of the group and interacting. We now keep a tight lid on who can join and it’s important for us that people understand what we’re about and that they are willing to become involved. We also ask that people apply to join after reading some of the group guidelines.
The group is an extremely friendly place and I hope welcoming to those who participate.
I have made some great friends in the group and seeing people like 25ThC from 45 Day and Original Fortyfivers not only join but become a moderator and create amazing opportunites for people to Live Stream has been truly rewarding.
The idea really is to create a space for people to share and express their love of the 45 format. We’re not genre junkies and having hosted events like the 45 Kids, 45 Queens, 24 Hour Worldwide Live Stream, Australia – Glasgow Live Stream and the weekly ‘Coffee & Donuts’ has demonstrated that the 45 format has so much to offer. This is without even talking about the 45 mixes we have released to Mixcloud.
I would like to see more members involved and supporting the mixes and live streams but this is really outside our control. We have to keep moving forward and provide the best content and events we can, to entice people to support us.
I’d like the website to become the main focus and to have people check in regularly to see what we’ve been up to, subscribe to our Newsletter, stream music and videos from the site and perhaps going forward purchase Merchandise and Records from us!
5.What have been some of the things you are most proud of in The Forty Five Kings, what have been the best moments or memories for you?
I love every mix, live stream and pretty much most of the threads in the group.
I’m proud of how much we’ve done in just 13 months and how it has all come together into our website. A huge shoutout to Dave Cowan (Dj D-Cow) for his support in building and maintaining the website with me and to every single Sponsor who donated a Prize for our Raffle, which led to a huge outpouring of support from a core of active members who bought Raffle Tickets. Those funds paid for the website and Pro Accounts on Mixcloud and Hearthis for our mixes and podcasts.
I’m overwhelmed by the support for what we do in some quarters and how we’ve sold every piece of Merchandise we’ve created, a huge shoutout to Fatwax45 for organising this and to We Are Walt for designing our Logo and Merchandise. Just outstanding stuff!
There’s just so much to be thankful for, we’ve been supported by some of our heroes like Marc Hype from Dusty Donuts and his whole crew are members. Labels like 45 Live have been amazingly supportive and gracious, amongst so many other Labels and businesses like Dr Diggns, Sydney Def Jam, Dj Bacon, Little Beat More, Beatroot Collective, Chrome, DNA Records, Del Gazeebo, Dj D, Origu & Our Label Records, Soul 45 and Serpent City Records amongst so many others. Just check out the Sponsors page on our website to see the list and show them some love!
My proudest moment is seeing the excitement on my 7 year old son’s face as he played the opening set for the ’45 Kids’ event and he pretty much took over and played the whole hour by himself!
6. You work very closely with Fatwax45, from the UK-did you ever envisage working with people from around the world & how do you manage that successfully with you in Australia and him in the UK?
I kind of knew who I wanted to invite to the facebook group when it started but the first person I took my idea to was Fatwax45 and he jumped right in and has been there ever since. I talk over all ideas with him and we make decisions together and I keep him up to date with all happenings, but really he has his finger on the pulse anyway.
He is easy to work with as he is a true lover of the format like me and has been collecting and playing much longer than I have. We split activities to make it easier and talk a lot via messenger calls and text. We speak most days in one way or another and I admire him for his support, focus and views. We are aligned on many things but I’m yet to convince him that he needs to play Reggae but I’m not giving up just yet!
7. The last 12 months since launching TFFK’s, the world has gone a bit sideways, to say the least! Having the fires then the worldwide pandemic COVID19, how has this affected what you do? How have you adapted?
Truthfully mate it has been tough but I have a great life and a supportive family. I’ve lost all income for 6 months and I fear a business and reputation I have spent 20 years building.
On the other hand it has caused my family and I to refocus on what is important to us and that included a move to our country house which we absolutely adore.
It has given me time to home school my son and to really work on making The Forty Five Kings the best I can and to continue to make those links with and between people so that when we come out of this, we can all get back to playing. Hopefully I can perhaps get on a plane and go to the UK and Europe and shake the hand of all of these new friends and go digging and even play some gigs together as The Forty Five Kings.
Festival bookers please apply here!
8. You personally have done over 500 mixes on Mixcloud, do you still have a passion for doing those mixes or do you seem them as a necessary evil for promotional work?
I love doing them but yes it has become a habit and something that is part of what I do now. I have an insatiable appetite for music and sharing it and it is an outlet for all the music I have. I have done so many guest mixes also and I continue to get requests for them. I normally where possible say yes. It is a necessary evil and sometimes I think people may be sick of hearing me but then again I have so many followers and regular listeners on Mixcloud that I just keep doing it.
I’ve also made great friends on Mixcloud and that has led to opportunities to do mixtapes with some of my favourite selectors on the platform as well as represent labels such as Millennium Jazz with mixtapes and do projects like ‘The Genre Creeps’ with Dj Jimmy Mac and extended mix series with guests like my ‘What Is Jazz’ series.
9. You’ve also done guest mixes for others worldwide, which has been your favourite and why?
It is always an honour to be asked to do a guest mix, it means that people like what I do and how I select and put music together.
I guess the biggest moment for me was becoming the very first guest on the 45 Live Radio Show hosted by Greg Belson in the USA. They have an amazing crew made up of so many Dj Legends that I admire and to be amongst those Djs was humbling.
I also did a mix for Oonaps Drops on Brooklyn Radio and that is a hugely popular station and show, so again it was very humbling.
I’m not a great technical dj or turntablist and don’t do tricks and some of the standard things like juggles, so sometimes I feel out of my depth and that I’ve embarrassed myself, but I just keep going and trying to do the best mixes I can. I don’t practice my sets per se, just select 45s and hit record.
I’ve also done mixes for Our Label Records, ScottieboyUK, Dr Diggns, The Groove Therapy Radio Show, Chrome’s Funk & Soul Show, 45 Day, 77 Sevens, The Low End Theory Radio Show and had a few radio show appearances over the years on shows that I greatly admire like The Soul Purpose Radio Show and Groove Therapy, and each time I see it as an opportunity to share what I do and encourage people to come out and see me play and support what I do.
Also being invited to appear on ‘Wax On Wednesdays’ with one of my Dj heroes Marc Hype was mind blowing. I mean I’m just a bar Dj from Melbourne and a bit of a hack.
The opportunities that have come my way are very humbling and I have appreciated the recognition for what I do and the support I show for others through my activities. I truly believe you get back what you put in and that you must deal honestly and openly with people and that if people support what you do, return it tenfold.
10. Would you like share links to your radio shows or other sites of interest?
Sure, find me on Mixcloud here:
Thanks for your time!
The Forty Five Kings