Draped in his trademark sparkling gold attire and wearing a solid gold chain ‘Marathon DJ Champion of the World’ Smokin’ Joe Mekhael steps out through his front door and breathes in the fresh evening air. DJ gear in hand, a bounce in his step and carrying his always-positive demeanor, the Guinness World Record holder begins his journey to Sydney’s infamous nightclub district for his scheduled set.
Joe is a DJ and musical performance artist by trade. He’s toured Ibiza, throughout the UK and played at many prominent nightclubs around Australia.
Joe has just returned home from a late-night set at The Marlin in Ulladulla when I catch up with him. But no matter how tired he is, he’s always brimming with positive energy.
We start with his World Record.
“It was the most incredibly difficult, most intense thing that I’ve ever done by far, and that’s saying a lot. I did it to prove to everybody and that anything is possible. Every time I reached the point of collapse, I told myself ‘stay strong’. Do the hard work now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
According to Guinness rulings, any person attempting this record is allowed five minutes of rest for every hour of performance. This meant Joe was earning himself two hours' sleep for every 24 hours he played live.
He recalls a frantic moment during the week long set that almost forced him to stop.
“We lost all power and the fire department evacuated everyone in the building except me because of a smoke machine issue.” But that didn’t matter, he continued. “I counted that brief downtime as an official break. You would’ve needed to kill me to stop me!”
Joe refused to allow a medical team to remain on-site or on-call as he thought they’d only have the potential to hinder or stop the performance.
“I could have had a medical crew there, but I thought to myself ‘the only thing they’re going to do is call it off. They’re not going to help me break the record.’”
Even so, there were times where fatigue started to make itself known.
“I started to get some brighter colours, distortions in my visions. That progressed to people’s faces warping on the dance floor. I had a lot of problems with depth perception.”
But Joe struggled on, and in the end it was worth it. After 168 consecutive hours DJing Joe successfully sealed his position in the Guinness World Records for the longest DJ set in history.
Sydney resident and DJ Matthew Whellan dropped by during Joe’s performance.
“It was incredible. The place was absolutely packed. Even though I was only able to catch a small part of his set around mid-way through the record, the energy was intense.”
Brisbane DJ Mathew Aitken (known as DJ Hertz) attempted the record by mixing for 152 consecutive hours in 2012. He has only positive things to say about Joe.
“I think Joe is a top dude. I wished him the best on his record attempt. It felt like there was a lot of hype around Joe and I badmouthing each other, but there was nothing like that. I had the chance to party with him afterwards and he’s a great guy. I know how tough the record is to break, so hats off to him.”
The hashtag #makeyourdreamsareality is added to every online message Joe posts, and this is exactly what he’s doing through his continued success.
Outside of his music career, Joe takes a keen interest in Australian politics. Most recently regarding the proposed lockout laws being introduced in the Kings Cross region of Sydney.
When the group Save Our Nightlife organized a rally in the Cross, Joe saw an opportunity and volunteered to speak at the event. The reaction, he says, was a positive. I pressured him for some more details.
“I'm not going to complain about the government. I'm getting rid of the government. These lockout laws are the latest steps by these white collar criminals to oppress us and take our liberties away by force.”
“Reacting with violence won't work and I've never been one to complain. I'm in the process of writing the manifesto for a new political party" (which he adds is a long process) "that enshrines individual liberty as a sacred thing and emphasizes self-sufficiency and minimal government.”
And Joe is true to his word.
“My new political party Freedom will be registered before the next NSW and Australian federal elections.”
Along with a new show Smoke Signals (a DJ focussed show debuting in May this year) Joe is also launching a new series that looks at “breaking down and analysing local news to show what’s really going on,” all soon to be released through his YouTube channel.
“The show will continue the whole positive energy vibe, trying to help people with techniques that I’ve found, time management and things like that — how to combat all the things that we face.”
“I want people to understand that life is a self-fulfilled prophecy. I want them to know that if they follow the same positive attitude, taking steps every day to achieve what they want, they can achieve anything. I’m just trying to make my life the example.”
Reaffirming his positive outlook, Joe promotes a healthy lifestyle through proper diet and, in particular, the importance of organic food.
“I’ve played over 1200 gigs, and I’ve seen how this industry in particular encourages people to drink, and to drink heavily, and I was a part of that for a very long time. But I’ve found that I can feel a lot better physically, spiritually and emotionally if I hold back and if I only put healthy food into my body. If I exercise every day; if I just cut out all the garbage, the better I feel. And I’m just trying to show people that if you drink filtered water you feel better; if you switch to organic food you’ll feel better; if you cut out drinking from plastic bottles you’ll feel better. People wonder why they feel like crap every day and they don’t realize all the poison they’re putting in to their body.”
Joe goes on to further elaborate his opinions regarding ‘the revolution’ and the importance of goals.
“These days, my goals are more geared towards making the world a better place and winning the revolution. No matter what you want to achieve in life, writing it down and then taking concrete steps every day that take you in that direction is guaranteed to bring you success.”
“When I first started DJing, I would wear fake gold chains as part of my outfit on stage and I would always say ‘one day I'm going to be so successful that this chain will be made of real gold’." Joe proudly begins to paw at the solid gold the chain he’s been wearing since I arrived.
His studio workstation, recently painted in shimmering gold, is littered with printouts and posters displaying motivational quotes, all with similarly positive messages.
The conversation comes back again to the revolution — something that Joe is clearly passionate about.
“I think that we’re basically under attack. And this is what people didn’t really understand in the broader movement against the lockout. People were asking things like ‘why was the government doing this?’ and ‘why would they want to take away our fun and destroy our weekends?’ What people fail to understand, and what I’m trying to get them to understand, is that we’re under attack. Whether it be with fluoride in the water, whether it be with chemical trails in the sky, whether it’s through the propaganda and garbage that’s on TV every second of every day or through closing the venues through lockout legislation, we are under attack from all angles. And what the government is trying to do is take away our freedom. Take away our health. Take away our rights, until they can get us to a point where they can implement their plans for a total police state. And that’s what part of the lockout laws are — part of a broader police state.”
“We’ve got the situation where two young boys in Kings Cross were knocked out and the lockout laws don’t even touch on that sort of problem. But they’re not meant to. They’re designed to take away people’s rights to gather together and express themselves.”
“I feel that since I know these things about the government, it’s my responsibility to tell people the truth.”
“I put the challenge forward for people to have the courage to look past the curtains to see what’s really going on. The time for action is running out. Things are accelerating at a quicker pace and unless we all collectively make an effort to research and collaborate, and take a stand publically, then we’re going to be in trouble”
As the conversation comes to a close, I ask Joe for some final words and he begins by quoting the late Bob Marley, paraphrasing the Bible.
"Don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold."
“You can achieve whatever you put your mind to, but remember that material riches are only a tiny fraction of true wealth. Peace of mind, being kind hearted and helping others are infinitely more valuable.”
For more information on Smokin' Joe Mekhael, check out his website.