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Behind the Beats: Meet the maestro behind QT Sydney’s Mardis Gras Spotify Playlist

Feb 24, 2024  ·  4 min read

As the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardis Gras swishes into the town, the Emerald City comes alive with celebration and rainbow revelry. Behind every great party, pre-dinner drinks and suite slumber soirees is a soundtrack to sashay the night away. 

We sat down with Andrew Lewis, QT Music Collaborator and maestro behind QT Sydney’s Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardis Gras Spotify playlist, on what makes it the unofficial album for Mardis Gras 2024. 

Andrew, tell us a bit about your role and how you work with QT.
I’m the owner of Digitalwax, a background music provider that works with all QT Hotels. You’ll hear my hand selected music in lobbies and across restaurants and bars. I work with the teams to create bespoke playlists for every hotel, and have been working with QT Sydney since it opened in 2012. Chef and Creative Culinary Director Sean Connolly and I have also collaborated to create playlists for Gowings and Parlour for guests to enjoy.  

In Gowings you’ll hear a really eclectic playlist that’s heavy on the punk and rock ‘n’ roll. Think New York bar with a dash of the UK, a nod to Sean’s English heritage. Paul McCartney, The Dandy Warhols and Blondie are all there. 

Parlour is inspired by French Caribbean beats, and French retro tunes from the 60’s. There’s plenty of funk and boogie to keep you partying well into the night. One of my favourite albums that feature on the playlist a few times is Disque la Rayé, 60’s French West Indies Boo-Boo-Galoo.  

DISQUE LA RAYE – 60’s French West Indies Boo​-​Boo​-​Galoo

You recently released a Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardis Gras Spotify playlist. Where did you begin in curating the playlist and what inspired you?
Back in the late 90’s I was fortunate enough to spend time in New Orleans and experience Mardi Gras there. I wanted to keep the vibe and energy as electric as possible, so I started with disco from the 70’s and handpicked the party jams through each decade. 

Lucky you – Mardi Gras in New Orleans! What are your top three hits on the playlist and why?
It’s hard to narrow down to just three as there is almost 500 tracks in the playlist, but here goes:  

  1. “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer is one of the best dance songs ever and the classic Giorgio Moroder production influenced generations of dance artists. 
  2. “Blind” by Hercules and Love Affair is a modern day disco cut with powerful lyrics about growing up gay, facing rejection from family members, and escaping to find freedom and solace. 
  3. “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus is my guilty pleasure and my go-to at the karaoke bar. 

British pop icon Sophie Ellis-Bextor is headlining at the Bondi Beach Party – why do you think she is so iconic?
She has a great music career creating iconic dance hits for the past 20 years. Recently, I think we all know (it’s hard to miss), she became a viral sensation with “Murder on the Dancefloor” being used in the movie ‘Saltburn’, pushing her back into mainstream popularity.  

And your fave Sophie Ellis-Bextor song?
Definitely “Groovejet”. It always makes it onto the Pool Bar playlists I curate. Absolute banger. 

We 100% agree. How do you keep your finger on the pulse with new music?
I use every medium possible. Bandcamp, Beatport, YouTube, Spotify, too many to list. I also have a friend that owns Catalog Music in Brisbane, which is one of the best record stores in Queensland, and is constantly bringing in new vinyl. As great as digital content can be, I always go back to my vinyl roots. 

Lastly, we hear a new QT Autumn playlist will be released soon, any hints to what will be on there?
I can’t spoil it but there are some absolute heaters just released recently. 2024 is going to be a great year for good music. 

You can check out Andrew’s Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardis Gras Spotify playlist here, or book your stay at QT Sydney to hear first-hand. 

Ready for some pre-Mardis Gras libations? Step into Gowings Bar where you can enjoy $10 mini SKYY Vodka martinis. 

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