Dr Packer, aka Greg Packer, is well known amongst the music scene for his remixes & edits of classic tunes from 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s Soul, Disco, Funk, Hip Hop & Reggae. Dr Packer has quickly become a mainstay in the sets of some of the biggest names in the disco world, with this support helping him to be voted #1 in the Traxsource Top 20 NuDisco Artists for two consecutive years running.
Dr Packer is one of the four main headliners playing at Sunset Safari at Albert Park Greenfields on New Year’s Day, alongside DJ Spen and local Melbourne heavyweight, Boogs. Leading up to his New Years Day set, he takes a moment to have a chat with Ozclubbers' founder @Adam Madd.
AM: Hi Greg, thanks for taking the time to chat with us here at Ozclubbers! First up, something that I’ve personally been curious about. How did the “Dr” part of your name come about?
DP: My real name is Greg Packer which makes my initials 'GP', also an old friend years ago used to call me 'the disco doctor' cos he also knew about my obsession with collecting disco & soul records.
AM: You’ve got a well-known name amongst the Jungle and D&B scene in WA as Greg Packer, but what inspired you to start playing soul, disco, funk, and reggae as Dr Packer?
DP: A lot of people didn't realise but I was already doing it on the side, just not producing it under the name 'Dr Packer'. I had a residency at a night here called 'The Funk Club' and did events under the name 'Boogaloo', this was me playing strictly all disco vinyl sets. I kept it on the down low as the diehard DnB fans would have started to think I was jumping ship, it was only when I decided to start producing it that I felt I needed to change my name, I wanted to keep my surname and just change the first part and start fresh under a new name.
AM: How dramatically the Perth scene changed since you first started playing in 1990? Would you say it’s for good or bad, and why?
DP: I think there are pros and cons, for e.g. back in 1990 people would be clubbing without mobile phones or any type of social media distractions therefore all attention was on the DJ, but then the technology these days is amazing playing off USB sticks and the music production sound quality is a lot better than back in 1990. Plus, in those days you'd rarely get the big festivals like we get now. There are probably loads of good and bad points if you really think about it, but I think for me I prefer now.
AM: Your disco remixes have been referred to as beefier, fatter version of the original. While it’s probably hard to select just a couple from the vast remix repertoire you have, can you list a couple of remixes you’ve done that stand out to you as favourites, and tell us briefly what inspired you to remix them?
DP: The ones that really stand out for me is my version of Donna Summer 'I feel love', which I did back in 2015. It was the one mix that was nailed straight away, and I still play it most sets now. It was a request from my mother, so I had to do it, but I am so glad I did as it ended up being one of my fave edits really beefed up and sounds amazing on a good system. Also, my version of 'Grandmaster Melle Mel - white lines' seems to be very popular and I get lots of love and requests for it. Just one day I thought about doing something other than straight up disco, and a lot of those early hip hop tunes were heavily disco influenced to begin with. I wasn't sure if it would get accepted on the dancefloor to begin with but now it’s often one of the biggest moments in my sets.
AM: You’ve been compared to the likes of Hot Toddy, Late Nite Tuff Guy, Joey Negro, Greg Wilson, Norman Jay, and Fingerman. What does it feel like to be in the same spectrum as these musical masterminds?
DP: Amazing !!!!! I mean I looked up to these guys when I first started out doing this and now, I'm often on the bill with them. I still feel like a teenage groupie around them, but I try to hold it together and remind myself I’m a 46 year old man !!!! haha
AM: You’ve just recently reached the no.1 spot on Traxsource’s top100 NuDisco artists, for the second year running! (Congratulations!) How did you feel when you heard of that achievement?
DP: Total shock !!! Last year they requested a high res pic of me the day before so it kind of gave the game away that I won it, and this year I didn't get that email, so I convinced myself I didn't get it, so when I saw that I had again I got a massive buzz.
AM: Where did your musical journey actually start? What inspired you to start DJing?
DP: I saw the band 'Technotronic' play at a concert in 1989 and they had a half time break, and they said there DJ will play for half n hr, so I watched him from a balcony above as he was cutting, scratching and mixing old hip hop, funk & house tunes. He was amazing, and that moment I had that thought in my head 'I need to do this', so by October '89 I'd saved enough money to get my first pair of decks, which means by Oct 2019 it will be 30 years for me as a DJ. Sounds like an excuse for a party !!!!
AM: What was your first record?
DP: Grandmaster Flash - The Message. It was in the charts at the time (1982) and my older brother bought it for me as a birthday present, the vinyl collection (or should I say addiction) grew from that moment.
AM: Can you list your top 5 records at the moment and maybe something about each that attracts you to them?
Qwestlife - Hit It Off (Glitter Box)
Sometimes I think cover versions can ruin a track, but in this case I like it as much if not a tad more than the original, fantastic update !!!
Spencer Morales ft Tasha LaRae - I Need Your Lovin (Opolopo Remix) (Quantize Recordings)
Pretty Much for the same reasons as the above tune, a cover version done extremely well and Opolopo nailed the new baseline
Patrice Rushen - Never Gonna Give You Up 'Joey Negro Mix' (Z Records)
I’ve been playing this for a little while now and I can’t leave it alone, love the new chords Joey added and a great production update to an already classic tune
Lenny Fontana & Shirley Lites - Fire 'Dr Packer Remix' (Midnight Riot)
I felt so privileged to be asked to remix a tune by 2 people that I admire very much 'Lenny Fontana' and 'Shirley Lites' who delivered a real authentic sounding disco number that sounded like it could have been released in 1979, I put my usual Dr Packer stamp on it
Slam Dunk'd , Chromeo - No Price 'Art Of Tones Remix' (Glitterbox)
I only just found out this was an 'Arthur Baker' production which surprised me, but a great nice chuck of modern disco smoothed out a tad by 'Art Of Tones' love it !!!!
AM: What is in the production pipeline for Dr Packer? What can we expect to hear from you in 2019 and onwards?
DP: As we speak I am working on forthcoming material for 'Glitterbox, Big Love Records, Masterworks' and hoping to get a rework album released for next year done officially, which is a lot of hard work but I’m up for the challenge. The tracks are ready to go, its more about the licensing side of things as I no longer wish to be looking over my shoulder.
AM: Can you recommend a couple of artists that our readers should be keeping an eye on?
DP: Nobody brand new has jumped out at me this year, but one artist 'Michael Gray' who is one half of 'Full Intention' has been sending me some stuff this year that has really impressed me, and I have supported everything he has sent thru. I look forward to the next inbox each time. Also the great Joey Negro has been killing me this year to the point where I have to force myself to not play too many of his tunes in my set. I could easily play a whole set of his stuff and I don't think I am alone in saying that.
AM: And finally, tell us something that we don’t know about Dr Packer?
DP: I used to be a brickies labourer. I was often referred to as 'The Dog' or 'The Beast' by my fellow tradesmen which was general building site banter. The supervisors and bosses would walk on site and say hello to all the tradesmen, and just walk past me (the labourer) as you wasn't even worthy of a 'Hello'. But now I’m often picked up from the airport in a limousine with a personal driver holding a sign saying 'Dr Packer', and then driven to a fancy hotel and sign autographs and take photos after my set. Complete madness !!!!
Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us, Greg!
Dr Packer appears on the headline bill alongside DJ Spen and Boogs at Sunset Safari NYD, as well as a solid array of local support acts!
Tickets are still available via link below:
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/269052340624628/