Lockdown inspires Hamish to find the Flame inside him

After learning the craft of mixing music, Hamish now plays under the name DJ Flame.

The great slowdown in time during pandemic lockdowns were a chance for many of us to take up new or unusual hobbies, from perfecting that delicious cake, reading the classic book we’d always wanted to get around to, or finally creating the amazing vegetable garden we’d always dreamed about.

Gippsland local Hamish Telfer spent his time learning the craft of DJing.

Hamish has since turned his mild interest in mixing music into a successful side-gig, and now juggles his time between studies, employment as a graduate design engineer at Wellington Shire Council and taking to the stage at night and weekends as DJ Flame.

It’s all a far cry from his early days of DJing for a handful of friends from the confines of the family home in between lockdowns.

“My brothers and I would set up out front at night and our friends would come over to see what was happening” Hamish said.

“It was in between the lockdowns so we had as many people over that we were allowed to under the restrictions that were in place at the time, and we would show off what we were learning.

“That went on for the better part of these last two years, so I have to give a shout out to my parents and neighbours for all the loud noise during that time!”

Like so many of us, the 22 year-old considered himself time-poor before the pandemic, dividing his time between studying engineering at Monash University, working, playing sports and his role as on-campus resident advisor at Mannix College.

That all changed when the world began to shut down in early 2020 and Hamish suddenly found himself with too much time on his hands and very little to do.

“When we went into our first lockdown, the college closed and university went online so I moved back home,” he said.

“But with everything closed, there was no sport happening at the time so there was not a lot to do.”

It was then that Hamish, who had been interested in DJing since beginning his studies at Monash, bought his first DJ controller and started playing for friends at home.

When restrictions eased and he moved back onto campus, a friend organised for Hamish to play a house party to a larger crowd.

It was a hit, and from there Hamish began to play across a range of venues and crowds, from popular Melbourne nightspots Billboard and Lucky Coq, to a rewarding fundraising event at Seaspray Surf Life Saving Club in February.

Last month Hamish played between acts, including headliners Thelma Plum and Dallas Woods, as the gap DJ at the All Ages Tour in Sale, organised by Wellington Shire Youth Council.

“At the All Ages, I played the little period between sets. It’s where people need a break from the previous set, but then they need the energy to get excited again for the next set, so I played mainly classics just to get people back up on their feet.

“It was a good day to get out into the local community and play, especially between well-known acts like Dallas Woods and Thelma Plum, who both just had so much energy.”

While he recently bought a MIDI device to record his tracks, he’s sticking to live DJing for now.

“It’s better with a crowd there, I can play along with whatever the feeling is among the people,” Hamish said.

“I’ve found I really need the people cheering and the crowds dancing to get me motivated.”

And while he admits he’s still developing his own style and has a long way to go, Hamish has some advice to the youth of Wellington Shire thinking of pursuing their interest.

“It’s a good idea to take a look at what you’re interested in and make sure you can see where it leads – if you can see yourself doing something you love further down the track, just commit to it and put the time into it to get there.”