5 Minutes With… WEAPONS

Words by Jack Smylie

The latest young creative character we’ve spent 5 minutes with is Auckland DJ and producer Elliot Rawson, aka WEAPONS. If you frequent any of the city’s happening spots – from heaving clubs to alley way dives – chances are the music you were listening to was coming at you by way of WEAPONS’ eclectic turntable taste and carefully curated selection of dirty rock ‘n roll, even dirtier electronica and positively filthy (but fabulous) funk. Having opened for a slew of internationals and locals alike, WEAPONS has got his style down pat and when he’s not behind the decks, he’s producing his own music – both live and electronic – as well as playing in his band Heidi Pasadena (catch them at Cassette this Friday!). Aside from music, Elliot leads a fairly design-based lifestyle day-to-day. Seems like he’s our kinda guy.

Hey Elliot, so tell us a bit about WEAPONS – how did this project come about?
The concept behind WEAPONS has been floating around in my head for a few years now – I decided it would be the name I gave to anything I came up with whether it was a live band, DJing, playing electronic music or remixing other artists – it all fits under the moniker of ‘WEAPONS’ – no┬áseparation, no ambiguity.

But you’ve always been involved in bands/musical projects right?
Correct, I was the original drummer in Popstrangers and that was a great experience; getting to play both Rhythm & Vines and Big Day Out festivals, and road tripping down to Wellington are all fond memories!

How long have you been spinning records?
I left Popstrangers in early 2010 to focus on my final year of uni – soon after I started DJing at local bars for a bit of pocket money and something to do.

You also produce and remix your own tunes. When you’re writing and producing, what sort of bands are you listening to for inspiration?
Inspiration always pours into your writing not matter how hard you try to be original, and I have no problem with showing my influences – but I find that if you have inspiration from enough varied sources your music inevitably becomes its own entity. Ultimately, the artists I think are original must’ve done the same thing with their influences, right? Currently, I’m listening to a lot of Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra’s duets, Primal Scream circa Evil Heat and Xtrmntr, and the ‘Krautrock’ of Neu! and Can.

Best show you’ve played?
A year ago my friend managed to book The Horrors to play a DJ set after the Auckland Laneway Festival, another friend and I DJ’d before them – it was absolutely packed and it was electric! Such a good vibe.

And been to?
I have seen the King Brothers from Japan twice – and both shows hold the top spot – raw, chaotic energy!

Dream gig?
What an impossible question! How about, if Bobby Gillespie joined Jesus And Mary Chain again for a one-off show – with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Kills, The Horrors and Queens Of The Stone Age opening – then Soulwax, Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk play the after party? Why not, you’ve gotta dream big right?

When you’re not djing/producing where can we find you?
Most likely working, listening to music and reading at home, or hanging out with friends and family..

It’s probably safe to say you’re one of the better dressed guys behind the decks in this city. How would you describe your personal style?
Simple, clean monochromatic or striped basics usually with boots and my old faithful biker jacket, or a shirt and blazer – maybe some accessories and always a splash of cologne..!

Can you share a mix with us?
Sure thing – this is a few month’s old but I still think it’s a great introduction to WEAPONS – hence the name.

(photograph: Laura Allard-Fleischl)

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