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Pot Luck Of The Irish
Two Irish men walk into an Australian bar and start playing dance music together. A decade on, having established themselves abroad, Dave Goode and Johnny Sonic of The Potbelleez are coming home.
Craig Fitzpatrick, 09 Nov 2011
Unfamiliar with The Potbelleez? The first thing you should know is that they’re very big Down Under. A full-throttle, four-piece electrohouse act that have taken Australia by storm, they were founded by two Irish blokes abroad around the turn of the century.
They may have played on the steps of the Sydney Opera House and toured with Usher, but Dubliners Dave Goode and Johnny Sonic can stroll around their hometown under cover of anonymity. It suits their aesthetic.
“People will know the songs before they know the name of the band or what we look like, which is the way we’ve always really worked,” says Johnny Sonic. “We’re not coming out as a pop act, we’re a serious dance act with music that we believe in.”
And yet, you get the feeling they don’t want to lurk in the shadows for too much longer. Having conquered Oceania, they’re now looking to Europe.
“The plan is to get the album out and make a bit of noise. Start touring Europe and have more of a presence. Ireland’s our little baby and we want to service it properly. I think this is the first time that we’re in a position where we can present ourselves to the Irish.”
It must be strange returning as thousands head the other way through sheer necessity. When they emigrated, the country was booming.
“In times of hardship and recession,” proffers Sonic, “people dance harder and party harder than they did when they had money. It’s a good time for us to be back, to give people a bit of light, a few good times.”
Why did the two DJs leave in the first place?
“What I felt in 2001,” begins Dave Goode, “was that the Irish scene was all very closed-in and tied up for a DJ trying to break through. Everybody had ‘their gigs’ and they weren’t letting them up for nobody. Dance music in Australia was kicking off and the fact people would reward you for results, rather than kick you down for doing well, really made me think, ‘Wow, this place will be really good to me.’”
Goode hooked up with fellow DJ and flashpacker Sonic in a Bondi Junction pub and the duo set about establishing their name. Vocalists Ilan Kidron and Blu completed the line-up.