Angus Gruzman, 'Gus', has an infectious ability to spread good times. He is the ultimate host and DJ. Gus has been keeping the party alive in Sydney for years—from his Bang Gang days, to music production, and all-round techno/electro/house/disco sets across the city. Add to this mix, former bar owner and restaurateur of The Flinders Hotel and the Duke Bistro, and you have a Renaissance man.
We caught up with Gus mid European trip (which he may or may not return from . . . ) to talk spiritual quests, travelling with Jagwar Mar, growing veggies, running in traffic, and the best restaurants in Sydney.
And, for your listening pleasure, Gus has made us his very own 'COMA' playlist, see below.
TUL: So you are a man of many incarnations; DJ, restaurateur, bar owner, model, and gardener. Since moving on from the Flinders and the Duke Bistro what have you been up to?
Gus: I have been spending my time wandering around Europe in search of the meaning of life. I'm not actually sure where that it is however—it may be on another continent. In between this expedition I have been touring with the world's most amazing band, Jagwar Ma. They have taught me a lot about the difference between turntables and guitars, as well as enlightening me on the constant use of puns to ease the time spent in planes, trains, and automobiles.
TUL: Do you know what is next? Is music the focus?
Gus: I guess returning to music seems natural to me at this point. But I guess you never really 'know' what is next. I might turn the corner and find myself selling secondhand sarongs on the beach in Croatia.
TUL: The Bang Gang re-united earlier in the year in tribute to the wonderfully talented and sorely missed Ajax. There had been talk about a Bang Gang tribute release, is anything happening there?
Gus: The re-unification of 'The Gang'—although under saddening circumstances—was a lovely thing for all of us, as we had all grown and moved on with other parts of our lives. But when thrown under the mirror ball and lasers, the love was stronger than any of us ever imagined, or realised. I think this will become a yearly happening. To commemorate and celebrate those moments, and the people we met along the way, and that guy that we all aspired to be as good as . . .
TUL: Do you ever wish you could go back to those crazy Bang Gang heydays?
Gus: I think I am a lot wiser now than I was back in those days. And that wisdom would probably save me from saying yes. But there are moments when you wonder what actually happened to really PARTYING. Maybe we were spoilt back then . . .
TUL: I happen to know you are a green thumb. What do you like to grow? Do you cook with your own produce?
Gus: I dipped my thumbs into carrots, tomatoes (with no success), strawberries (small successes), cucumbers (huge successes), radishes (you have got to be cursed to not have success there), eggplants, climbing beans, and then a variety of herbs: basil, sage, mint, rosemary, thyme, and marijuana. All the nice things, yeah. And I do 'cook' with all of my produce.
TUL: Any favourite dishes you like to whip up?
Gus: My good friend just gave me a tagine, so I have been getting into those more recently. But I have to say, my favourite thing to do has got to be a whole fish grilled directly on the BBQ, with some herbs laid down as a bed to give it a little bit of a smoked vibe. It's simple, easy, and only requires the brain of a pyromaniac monkey to achieve delicious results.
TUL: Where are your favourite places to eat in Sydney and why?
Because I don't often eat meat—especially as I don't cook much of it at home for myself— and when I do, I want the professionals doing it for me. Can't falter anything here. Service, wine list, vibe, and most importantly the food is 120% on point. Also the chefs listen to techno when no-one else is looking . . . I can dig that.
Simply, it is still one of the best and most inventive places we have [in Sydney]. Mind-blowing experience every time. Go for the $50 Friday lunch and get your cranium split for a bargain.
Ryo's Noodles [125 Falcon Street, Crows Nest Sydney 2060. Ph: (02) 9955 0225]
The best Tonkatsu in Sydney I think.
The most amazing sushi and sashimi selection I have ever had in Australia. Legit shit.
This has got to be my favourite, all-rounder Japanese in Sydney.
TUL: Favourite drinking holes?
Nelson Hotel Bondi Junction [232 Oxford Street Bondi Junction Sydney 2022. Ph: (02) 9389 6032]
No Bullshit, great Australian boozer.
Just 'cause the wine list is off the official chain. Plus I can take my Mum there and she can hear me speak.
Frankie's Pizza [50 Hunter Street, Sydney NSW 2000]
Pizza and booze 'til 4am? Don't see anything wrong with that.
The original madhouse and still the best.
TUL: You are a guy who likes to keep fit—can you explain the element of danger you like to add into the mix? For example, running in high-speed traffic?
Gus: Haha—it's true, I do love running amongst traffic. I'm not sure why—I think I like to imagine that my body is an automobile that I'm just taking around the block for a spin. I have also dabbled in swimming with sharks . . . not something that comes highly recommended.
TUL: And what activities should be undertaken while listening to your playlist?
Gus: This playlist is largely music that I use to turn off to. Stuff that would go well with a whiskey or a coma.
Image courtesy of Motorik