How do you measure CC:DISCO’s contribution to the music scene of Melbourne? She has made immense contributions as a curator, selector and personality. Before setting off to pastures anew in Lisbon, we sat down for a bowl of ramen with CC and exchanged words over edamame about her time in Melbourne, movie recommendations (on her part, Kevin & Perry Go Large, Requiem for a Dream, Spice World and Police Academy 5) and the challenges that await her in Europe.
The path from being a country girl raised in Cobram to an internationally touring DJ isn’t a particularly obvious one and naturally, it has been no cakewalk. Her tortuous journey to becoming a selector with international appeal has left her boasting a motley resume that reads like that of a French backpacker. Along the way CC has: picked fruit, milked cows, worked at the local bottle-o, sold ice creams at Bathurst racetrack and taken diet pills packed with speed as part of a clinical study - the practice of taking speed during the day for a paltry pineapple does not come with a recommendation, it is something she describes as, ‘not a vibe’. On top of this, she’s had stints in Sydney, Toronto and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, the latter where she also worked in radio and unsurprisingly, ‘learnt to party’. However, it wasn’t her hedonistic education in the fun times while in Mexico which pushed her towards taking the plunge into DJ’ing full time, it was a run-in with Ulcerative Colitis in 2012 which sidelined her for 6 months giving her an extensive period of reflection leading her to reevaluate her priorities in life and, ultimately, shift her career trajectory toward music. Upon her returning to work at her then full-time office posting, CC, armed with the epiphany that she wanted to pursue music as a career decided that at the end of her current contract she would take the plunge into the life of a full-time DJ, leaving behind all the creature comforts which come with a steady, well-paying job and exchanging them for the entirely foreseeable hardships which come with working within your passion.
The forecasted difficulties, no matter how predictable, are still challenging. It is, as to you’d expect, a story littered with ‘nearly quit stories’ (she counts four occasions where she nearly gave it all away in her maiden year as a full-time selector) and she recalls a time where she had to hound promoters with mixes in an effort to secure shows. As with all success stories though, after the first year, it got easier. With a burgeoning reputation on community radio with her Friday night slot, ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ and regular gigs at staple Melbourne locations in Section 8 and Boney CC began to bootstrap a snowballing momentum.
The path of radio programming is one well trodden for CC. A career spanning ten plus years and one which she began at the tender age of fifteen at ONEFM in Shepperton, CC has lived a life defined as a curator, with radio programming at the epicentre. Her Friday night, eight-to-ten slot on PBS has undoubtedly been an important feature to her life in Melbourne, she in fact claims the weekly ritual of a bowl of pho from Basil Leaf in Fitzroy and two-hours on PBS airwaves is the one thing that has kept her rooted in Melbourne for the last few years.
As a curator she’s grown a dedicated listenership, one she’s fostered with attentive care, a keen ear and the necessary digging obsession required of a top tier curator. For many, she’s made the ‘the underground scene’, a subculture which at times can seem dauntingly pretentious, approachable. Her selections alone made Smoke and Mirrors a Melbourne radio standard on Friday nights, but her irreverent personality, her laidback, blithe attitude to everything which comes before her truly made Smoke and Mirrors an important feature of Melbourne’s musical fabric. It has been welcoming and inviting - refreshingly, it doesn’t try to be anything it’s not. Not only has she made introductions for people to her local dance scene, she has, for a large part, found herself to be one of its principal voices.
While leaving Australia she certainly won’t be leaving radio, CC has taken up a fortnightly post on Rinse FM, a show which she says will continue to herald Australian music, only this time to a broader global audience.
The craft of curation is a serious business for CC and it extends far further than radio programming. She has skippered stages at Strawberry Fields and more recently at the inaugural edition of Duke Street Block Party. The latter was a syndication of her own night, Club Coco. Club Coco has been for me where I have felt most vividly felt the connotations made in the past between a club night and the ritual of going to church. It’s a remark I’ve often brushed aside with a smirk, a thing said by old-timer ravers to let the kids know we’ll never experience it the way they did, when it was young, free and raw. In Club Coco events I’ve always seen a tremendously accepting, open and carefree crowds it is, in my experience, always a dance floor of familiar faces, sweat stricken and dancing for rejuvenation with reckless abandon - an atmosphere young, free and raw. The Club Coco environments are a just as much a result of her demeanour as it is the music itself.
The Club Coco setting certainly appears conducive to jaunty expression - each side of the booth is flanked by a large, plush leopard toy, the edges of the decks are lined with flowers and behind it, a jovial, self professed ‘nerd’ is playing some disco, or possibly an 80’s Australiana hit, or perhaps if the time is just right, a considered, well placed cheesy number. It’s no secret that if deftly placed, the incorporation of a cheesy track can account for all sorts of elated carnage on the dance floor and CC is more adroit in this practice than most (she ‘may have’ just created a dub version of ‘Waiting for Tonight’ by J Lo for these precious moments). Perhaps more importantly still, CC is just as much a figure in the crowd as she is a DJ behind the decks. She is, both in her role as a curator and a punter in the crowd, an ardent, passionate supporter of music but first and foremost, she is a dancer. Blessed with amiable country Straya’n riposte, you’ll just as likely find her front row as you will, shooting the shit with fellow people in the crowd (her social media presence is good evidence of this, being equal measures of crowd shout outs and slagging off mates and her own content). The surest indicator for a selector to gauge how they’re performing is to look into the crowd, to see how people are interacting with the songs you’re playing, at Club Coco, there are seldom empty podiums. She is perhaps the closest you’ll find to a DJ in a dressing gown and slippers, she is carefree and comfortable and her earnest, casual personality certainly lends itself to the atmosphere her sets produce.
Several years ago CC set a maxim, ‘Less chin stroking, more dancing’. In the last few years alone she’s had several highlights: leading her Dad onto the stage at Meredith after rocking the socks off an ecstatic Sup crowd, closing the inaugural edition of Pitch and curating her own stage at Strawberry, just a hop, skip and a jump from her childhood home. She can confidently say, for her part, the objective of ‘less chin stroking, more dancing’ (In Portuguese, ‘menos queixo acariciando, mais dançando’) has been fully realised.