Jess Hatzis and Melinda Hall are leading a double life.
By day they are businesswomen, running their own copywriting agencies in Melbourne. At night, they transform into Kolors, a tech-house and mash-up duo gaining national and international respect in a scene that’s dominated by males and sexualised female ‘pop star DJs’. These are busy girls, and they don’t plan to slow down anytime soon.
“It would be silly to slow down now, we’ve been given such an amazing opportunity. Some people work so hard for the opportunities that we’ve been given, so we want to make the most of it while we can,” Jess confirms.
The story of Kolors only began a couple of years ago, after the former school friends found that their paths were continuously crossing.
“I had started playing out of general interest a few years ago and Grant Smillie [TV Rock], who runs the 360 Agency, really wanted to have a female duo to see how it would go. Mel’s always worked in the music industry, so I kind of floated the idea by her and gave her a bit of a [DJing] crash course.
“We played our first gig a few weeks later at the ‘American Pie’ movie premiere, which was pretty crazy. It kind of just snowballed from there. We started working our way up in the club scene and were in the right place at the right time. You see people who have been working their asses off for years and who are amazing DJs and producers, but it’s so about timing and happening to be playing at the right clubs with the right people there.”
If the story were left here, you would be forgiven for rolling your eyes at the archetypal cliché of it all. Young, attractive girls getting a leg up in an already over-saturated industry without having to provide any proof of talent, or level of musicality comparable to your local kindergarten recorder ensemble.
It’s just not the case with these two ladies, however, whose hard work and no bullshit attitudes towards their place in the music industry has set them apart from the current trend of sticking glamour models behind the decks in the name of making a quick buck.
“DJing did start as a side project because we both love music so much, but we’ve got it to a point where it’s a 50/ 50 split with our day jobs. It’s been a massive year; we’ve spent a lot of time touring. We’d finish in the office on Friday, then get on a plane and fly to Asia, play a gig, fly home and end up at the office again five hours later on the Monday. It’s been intense.”
Inspiration for the duo is found locally.
“We have a lot of love for the girls who are doing really well. Anna Lunoe has been an idol for us since we both began; we love how she has never succumbed to sexualising herself. She’s just really good at what she does and owns it. It’s the same with Alison Wonderland, who’s a friend of ours. She’s been doing so well and just pouring her heart and soul into it. It’s so nice to see local girls getting the credit that they deserve.”
Whatever the future holds, Jess knows it’s going to be jam-packed.
“We’ve had a small break over the last few weeks, but we’ve been in the studio and will continue to be over the summer. We’re really honing into the deeper, techy sound that we love and will finally start producing our own stuff. Festival season is coming up, which will keep us busy and on the road.
“We’re really lucky that we have a relationship where we are like sisters or best friends. We typically drink a lot of coffee and wine and eat a lot of cheese and act like idiots around each other. The only argument we’ve had is why Mel doesn’t like Twisties and I’m obsessed with them. You learn to love each other’s weird little habits. Otherwise you would kill each other.”
Kolors play Capulet October 26.