Interview with Abel El Toro

Abel El Toro plays 2020 Vision, NYD at The Billinudgel Hotel

2020 Vision New Years Day

Billinudgel Hotel  |  1 Jan 1pm–11pm

Abel El Toro has been synonymous with the electronic music scene from day one. The Sydney-born DJ, of Spanish origin, first came to our attention in the 90s when no party was complete without his name. Recently he has been playing a string of gigs in Byron Bay, the Gold Coast and Brisbane alongside local and international acts. Peeps still talk about Toro’s last performance at Splendour in the Grass, and Falls Festival, where he fired up the crowd and left them wanting more. He has played alongside The Chemical Brothers and Primal Scream. As a music producer remixer, his credits include Sophie Monk (Sydney), Olli Wisdom (Space Tribe), Funk D’Void (UK) and Paul Mac (Sydney). He is one of the DJs headlining the 2020 Vision event at Billinudgel Pub on New Years Day.

How did you get into DJing?

Early 80s breakdance culture is where I discovered electronic music. I was more a dancer in the early days, then migrated over to early house music, and acid house in 1988. Which is when I bought my first pair of Technics turntables and practised the art of DJing on vinyl in my folk’s garage. Then a mate, Ming D was putting on a rave in Pitt Street Sydney, circa 1990, and he gave me my first guest spot.

Who are your early influences?

80s hip hop like Public Enemy, Eric B Rakim, Queen Latifah, early Electro producers like Arthur Baker, and the movie Beat Street. Also Early 90s GOA scene with Juno Reactor, KLF, Sven Vath.

What single night out has been the most memorable for you? As a DJ? As an attendee?

Playing alongside The Chemical Brothers back in 2000 in Sydney at the Hordern Pavilion, and then seeing them live 19 years later at Riverstage in Brisbane!

What are you into at the moment? Where have you been playing?

Currently I’ve been listening to lots of different music styles, music that peaks in the middle of the night, and also stuff that chills in the day – laidback jams and balearic grooves.

Just returned from playing at the Return to Rio festival in Sydney. Got to DJ poolside with a bunch of legends, and danced all night to The Martinez Brothers. Their music was dope. Also recently played at Splendour in the Grass. The Tipi Forest was a vibe.

What advice would you give to aspiring DJs?

Tap your feat and follow the beat, stay in tune and play it cool.

If you could eternally be stuck in one year’s music scene, which year would it be?

1988 acid house, Sydney, Australia. Magic music. Magic scene.

What is your opinion regarding the difference between old school DJing where everything was restricted to vinyl, and modern DJing where most tracks are MP3 files?

Both have their pros and cons. Vinyl is like driving a manual, and mp3 is like driving an automatic, but what ever format you play on, they all have the same end result… to make people dance.

What is one track that never gets old for you, no matter how many times you hear it?

Stakker Humanoid by Humanoid.

What makes the local dance scene in the Byron Shire different to other places?

The cool thing about the local scene in Byron is how receptive the crowd is to new music they haven’t heard before. We are lucky to live in a beautiful part of the world. Byron is a holiday destination so everyone’s on a good high to begin with.

What’s new and coming up for you?

In 2020 I will be celebrating 30 years DJing with some cool new music releases and DJ shows.

Abel El Toro plays 2020 Vision, NYD at The Billinudgel Hotel 

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