slam ross 1000

What It Takes To Be SLAMROSS1000

"People think that I'm just munching pingers and making music all the time, but I'm also fucking around here!"
Arielle Richards
Melbourne, AU

Melbourne-based local icon SLAMROSS1000 has a plethora of credits. Founder of Dance Party Records, DJ, artist, designer, director of her eponymous label which is wholly manufactured in what she calls our “Big Gay City”… the list in fact does go on.

This weekend, the Karla Laidlaw store in North Melbourne will host a one-day-only SLAMROSS1000 pop up. In anticipation, VICE met SLAM at her studio in Brunswick, to see the scenes behind the scenes, and find out how the hell she does it all.


Who are you? 

My name is SLAMROSS1000. And I make music, fashion and art. And I'm also actually a social worker.

What is the origin story of SLAMROSS1000?

SLAMROSS1000 started as my DJ name and then I started making t-shirts and doing my own events. And now it's this enigma, I guess, of art and community and creativity. I always wanted to make t-shirts, I grew up skating. I was terrible at skating, but I loved all the skate brands and all the art. I always wanted to have my own skate brand. And now I do have my own brand. And I get to make t-shirts. 


slamross1000 "access" collection, 2014 [supplied]

How would you describe the music you make?

At the moment, I would describe the music I make as hard groove. I would describe myself as groove-pilled. I was really into gabber and blown out 909 kick drums which sort of fill the whole low end of the track. And it sounds sick. I still listen to that music. I love it so much. But I've started experimenting with some groovy baselines and sort of gone in a new direction there. 

People think that I'm just munching pingers and making music all the time, but I'm also fucking around here! I don’t think I’ve even had a pinger in a year. I just don't have time to come down anymore. You don't bounce back the same at 29. But I was hardly hungover this morning. I don't know how that happened. I took a loaf of bread to bed with me. So when I woke up and I was like, Oh, am I hungry – bite of bread, some water.



What inspires you?

When I was in art school, I was really into the club kids from New York, like James St. James, and then also Leigh Bowery, who grew up in Sunshine and moved to the UK… Just the over the top, camp, performative, genderqueer partying, completely insane. And I was living that at Hugs and Kisses and really just found myself there. Partying and fashion and queerness… it just goes together so perfectly.

Rave culture, dance music, queer culture, youth culture. Fashion designers like Walter Van Beirendonck, Bernhard Willhelm, Australian folks like Pelvis, Garbage TV, stuff like that. Le Fag, Female Wizard. Jules Bramley, my bestie – it's a very inspirational environment to live in.

Which leads me to Melbourne. What is the truth about Melbourne?

It is a community. It is what you make it.

I love Melbourne. It's like the Big Gay City that everyone from Australia moves to to be gay and creative. So it’s perfect. 

I grew up in Perth and moved here 10 years ago. When I was 19, it felt huge. It felt like this huge big city. Perth city is like brick and tiny and just the Business Centre. There's no culture at all, the culture in Perth is all at the beach. So to come to Melbourne, and the culture’s in the city, it's in the food, it's in the art and the music. And then there's an underground… I felt like… I'd come to… 

I don't know how to finish that sentence, but I just love it.


What is driving you at the moment?

The drive has just always been there. Sometimes I think it's ego or insecurity, or money, but then I come back to a collage I'm doing and it's like, discarded books stuck together about queer and trans people. It's not really that egotistical or capital driven, like Yeah, I'm gonna sell this shit to my community that are all broke, haha. So I don't know, the drive is just there. Honestly, it's exhausting sometimes.

Tell me about your collage work?

I have a background in fine art. It's so basic as an art school graduate, but the Dada movement, which was like Marcel Duchamp, who did the toilet bowl, he's quite famous for that. But I really liked some of the other artists from the Dada movement, like Hanna Hoff, she was making collages about the war. And there were other people making collages about capitalism. And it's from like 100 years ago now, they were creating this stuff and exploring absurdity and the rubbish that still exists today, all the systems that still exist today. So I was really inspired by their work and that made me want to do collages.


I come to my studio whenever I have free time. I collect books of random shit that make me feel good. And so then I'll flick through them, be like, oh, that’s cool, cut it out, then maybe add it to my collection.

When I was younger, I'd go to op shops with my friends and we'd search for clothes, but then when I started hormones, the clothes weren’t fitting me anymore, so I went to another section of the shop, and it was the books… and that's sort of where it all started. You never know what you'll find.


Tell me about art school.

Oh, my God. So art school was around that time that I was partying a lot at Hugs and Kisses and experimenting and finding my transgender identity. I just experimented a lot with collage and screen printing and expressing my gender in print. And I guess it's quite similar to what I do now. My most recent collection “Access” started as an exploration on how queer people access spaces. And it sort of ended as this adventure of Liza Minnelli code switching, a different version of her is in each piece. It’s just complete absurdity. She is a very funny, camp and absurd character. And I think she knows she's funny. And she just came up in one of the books I found from the op shop, and I scanned her in.

How do you go with file organisation?

I’m a Capricorn. I go very well, thank you.

Walk me through a day in your life.

Get up early, have coffee with my partner, watch the news, if it's not too depressing, go to my day job, which is supporting the trans and queer community, so I love it. And then maybe I'll go to the gym or swim laps and go to the sauna. Look after myself, and then maybe have a mentee b in there somewhere. And then I'll come home and I'll make music or I'll draw or I'll be on the computer on Photoshop until I go to bed for my nine to 10 hours sleep.

What’s your signature fragrance?

I’m wearing Aesop. Or ee-sop. Rozu.


What’s your advice for baby ravers?

Oh god, you can’t ask me that. Smarter not harder.

Experience SLAMROSS1000 irl at the pop-up this Saturday, May 11.

Karla Laidlaw, 498-500 Queensberry St. North Melbourne,

Arielle Richards is the multimedia reporter at VICE Australia, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.