On first impression, Ash Mclerie resembles your typical Melbournian DJ. Namely, he’s quirky, nonchalant and hip. However, unlike many other DJ’s, his music career kicked off in a religious context: at church, being the child of a pastor; born and raised in a deeply religious family.
He is an energetic character flittering from one place to the other, his curly brown locks bounce up and down around his head each time he moves. He wears a cheeky grin and curls a strand of hair around his finger as he speaks. “What’s the time?” he asks. “Two thirty”, I reply. “Time to see the dentist!” he yells back. Funny? check. Cool? Check. Charismatic? Check check check.
He’s already played at festivals like Strawberry Fields and Rabbits Eat Lettuce, and has appeared at famed Melbourne venues such as Brown Alley, Revolver, Billboard, Tramp Bar and Railway Hotel Brunswick. He is fast making a name for himself as one of Melbourne’s up and coming DJ’s, and his passion for music flourished in an unlikely setting.
Ash discovered his love for music at the tender age of eight years old, mixing music at his local church.
“I was doing sound for the church, I was the guy at the sound desk. That’s when I got into music, but even before that I was fascinated by it. Church helped me to progress to what I do now and I branched off into electronic music.”
“My dad is a multi-instrumentalist, he’s been doing music since we were kids at church,” he says.
But his religion still plays a role in his life and he believes that his talent for music is God given.
“I feel as though God has given me musical talents.”
Ash says that he wants to use his music to help people, and is pursuing DJ’ing as a full-time career.
“My goal with music is to change people’s lives around the world, to make them feel a certain way: happy.”
“Music has opened me up to a lot of opportunities, it’s helped me get through hard times, and it’s shown me my potential and given me purpose. It’s shown me that anything is possible. I want to pass that on to others,” he says.
Ash’s good friend Ilan Riback describes Ash’s relationship with music as “inseparable from his character”.
“Ash lives and breathes music, it’s what we all know him for. Some people are known for their sense of fashion or love for animals, with Ash, it’s always been music.”
“A lot of our friendship is built around and based on music. We bond over music and spend most of our time at gigs, it’s actually a really important aspect of our friendship.”
While Ash currently works as an electrician, he eventually wants music to be his full-time career.
“When I’m at work I’m constantly thinking about music, but I’m never thinking about work when I’m doing music.”
As the conversation draws to a close, it is very evident that Ash has a special relationship with music, more so than enjoying a few tunes after work in order to unwind. For Ash, music is a lifestyle and has been the defining feature of his life.
Whether or not he will produce music for a living in the future, it’s safe to say that Ash will be making some noise around the Melbourne music scene, if only to one day become one of its most loved DJ’s.
Written by Deniz Karaman